Sherry and I saw the movie “Noah” over the weekend. My quick review is that is entertaining and thought-provoking; it reminded me of how J.R.R. Tolkien would have handled Genesis. Someone described Noah as Lord of the Rings meets Braveheart, I think that’s fairly accurate. The writers do take seemingly unnecessary liberties with the story (i.e. two out of three of Noah’s sons didn’t have wives), and it is oppressively dark, but it was a great discussion starter and sent us scrambling for our Bibles to refresh our understanding of the story. That places Noah ahead of almost every “Christian” movie I’ve seen.
There has been a great deal of hand-wringing and speechifying around Noah, which I think is unfortunate. It is just a movie, it isn’t a new version of the Bible. Here is what I know to be true:
- The biblical story of Noah has remained unchanged for thousands of years. It is readily available to anyone who wants to read the original. The Bible won’t be updated to reflect writer/director Darren Aronofsky’s version.
- Every artist interprets the Bible through their own lens. Da Vinci set the Last Supper in 15th century Italy and moved all the disciples to the same side of the table. Michelangelo decided God should touch Adam’s finger rather than breath into his nostrils when he painted the Sistine Chapel. Mark Burnett thought it would be fun to bring Mary Magdalene along on the boat in his Son of God movie. Art is always about interpretation.
- The story of the flood is one of the most difficult passages of the Bible. Sons of God having sex with the daughters of men, fitting thousands of animals onto a boat and then feeding them for over a year, people living to be hundreds of years old; these are not easy topics. Aronofsky gets a little credit for taking a swing at such a challenging story.
- I get tired of being told I should see some movies because they are “Christian” and I shouldn’t see other movies because they are not. I prefer to see movies that are good rather than movies that are bad. Noah falls in the pretty good category, many “Christian” movies fall in the pretty bad category.
- My main source of spiritual guidance is the Bible. I don’t go to movies for spiritual guidance. I think a movie like Noah is interesting because it gives one man’s interpretation of what a biblical story could be about, but its just that; one man’s interpretation. It doesn’t diminish nor build my faith. At best a movie is entertaining and thought-provoking, at worst it is boring and mind numbing.
So that’s my take on Noah, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven is for Real and Spiderman 2. They are each entertainment and should be judged on their own merits, not on how Christian they are. Those that look worth a couple of hours of my time I’ll see, those that look cheesy I’ll skip. Feel free to do the same.
And one more thing, shouldn’t Spiderman 2 be called Spiderman 2 2?