Noah: Movie Review

I finally got to see the much acclaimed and somewhat controversial movie Noah. It has drawn a bit of criticism from the Christian community.  I am not naive enough to think that Hollywood would try to “share a message” through this film.  However, I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on the movie.  (Remember folks…this is a movie!!)

What I liked…

  • It was entertaining.  C’mon let’s face it. This is why movies are created.  Although this movie was nearly 2 hrs and 20 minutes, I didn’t lose interest or fall asleep!  With all the advancements in cinematography, I was also looking forward to a visual treat to portray this epic story from the Bible.  I will say I enjoyed the movie.
  • It gives you a new visual for a literary story.  If you grew up learning the story of Noah in church, you probably formed your own mental picture of how it went down.  You may have even had the help of children’s pictorial Bibles or flannel boards.  This movie gave me a new mental playground for imagining this great event.  I loved how difficult they made the living conditions in the beginning of the film.  It really contrasted the picture of Eden and the cursed ground spoken of in Genesis 3.  I also enjoyed the visual depiction of the days of creation as recorded in Genesis 1.  This movie also gave me a new appreciation of the sheer magnitude of this life-preserving vessel. Seeing the scores of birds and mammals migrate to the ark gave me a greater appreciation for what God did to preserve this part of His creation.
  • It’s creating interest in the Bible.  Although this was probably not the intent of the filmmakers, it is what’s happening.  The creators of YouVersion (Bible App) has reported an increase of people opening the story of Noah in Genesis 6 by nearly 300% in the US and 245% globally.  I love the Bible, and it is one of my great passions to get people to fall in love with it, too.  To me, stories told like this drive interest in the Bible.

What I disliked…

  • The sci-fi rock creatures.  Seriously?  I felt that the so called “Watchers” brought a surrealistic element to something that really happened.  I’m not saying that just because I believe the Bible, but because there is evidence in our world of this cataclysmic event.  The idea that they were fallen angels from heaven who got stuck in the mud was a bit too fantastical for me.  To make matters worse, they practically give the credit for building the ark to these fictitious characters.  I felt it took away from the reality of this magnanimous task and made the story of Noah seem more like a fairy tale than a real part of our history.
  • The flood scene.  I thought the flood scene was a bit pedestrian for what I expected from Hollywood.  They rarely showed any vantage point other than from the “window” in the ark.  While I give the film creators credit for attempting to accurately depict how the earth was flooded (springs from the great deep,) I would have enjoyed a more global perspective of this portion.  I was a little disappointed here.
  • The Biblical discrepancies.  I expected the filmmaker to take liberties with this religious story where we are given little or no information.  However, as one who has a bit of experience with the biblical narrative, it kept me conflicted about what I knew the Bible said and what the filmmakers purported.  Probably the biggest discrepancies had to do with absence of the wives of Noah’s sons and presence of the ark “stowaway” (forgetting the aforementioned rock creature angels.)

My final thoughts:

It was worth watching.  Other than some violence, it was a pretty “clean” movie, and one I would allow age appropriate family members to watch. I would, of course, discuss with them the creative license that was taken and make sure they know the story given from the Bible.

What I appreciated about the film was the internal tension Noah experienced as he felt that God had called him to save the “innocent” animals and yet be responsible for ending all of sinful humanity – including his own family. This demonstrated the real challenge all of us have trying to know and follow the voice of God. Sometimes, it’s just not that clear.  Although, I will admit, at times, it seemed a bit ridiculous that Noah was sure that it was his “job” to choose who lived and who died, as if God couldn’t have done it without him.

My greatest fear is that uneducated Christians and non-Christians who rarely read the Bible would end up with an unbiblical view of this portion of Scripture or even worse – God.  While I appreciate Hollywood’s take on this Biblical tale, I don’t want people to lose sight of the real story of God’s wrath and His mercy on us.

My greatest hope is that this movie will create an interest in people to know the truth about our Creator.  If that happens, it will be a greater success than Church community would ever have realized.

What did you think about it?

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