Saturday, August 2, 2014

Noah, & Bibically themed films; the new "go-to" for Hollywood?

Now granted it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but don’t think I’ve given up my movie and specialty TV watching. That will never change. 

I just had to take a break while back in post-secondary classes. Now that I’m off I can get back to some articles and stuff on my mind. 

Yep, a lot of good movies so far this summer. Yes I have seen some, (How to Train Your Dragon 2, being the most recent one), so I will try to get into those as soon as I can. But first I wanted to talk about a noticeable pattern I’ve been observing - there’s been an increase of Biblically-themed films, and even a few TV shows of the same genre. 

Some were very direct, like “Son of God”, based on the Bible series that aired on the History network. Although that was a pretty decent series, it did focus more towards one denomination of Christianity than others. Also there were several stories of the Bible that either skimmed through vaguely or skipped altogether. In their defence, the budgeting for all those added stories would have been too costly and time consuming to make in one take. Still it would be good if they made a second volume to add more biblical stories to the existing ones they made, now that would be good to see. There was one other film however that did catch my interest: the recent remake of the story of Noah, starring Russell Crowe. 

I did hear a bit of controversy of its make, varying from the director being a potential atheist, to not adding Christian/biblically themed events within the film. Ok that last one really doesn’t make sense. How exactly do you eliminate that of a story that came from the Bible?? That’s almost the equivalent of becoming a lifeguard, and not knowing how to swim. It makes NO sense. At any rate, when the film came out in late winter/early spring, I didn’t have time to see it (was busy with assignments then) so I did not get the chance to see this film until 5 months later. 

One of the first things that did strike me about the film was in fact they did reference a lot of the Bible within it. They even pointed out a few theories I have heard in regards to what it was like on Earth prior to the flood. For example; how it seemed to be more common to talk directly to God compared to later on in biblical history or especially in our time. Another interesting part was how both wildlife and the Earth overall was prior to the flood, even down to they types of minerals and ore found in earth. In the film, a special ore that was apparently found and used at that time was capable of producing fires easier than using a flint. It was also a major contributor of resource overhaul with the most of the current tribes then as well, particularly Cain’s descendants. A friend of mine mentioned that it’s possible that the oxygen levels back then were much different compared to how they are now. Much richer hence the larger growth of plants, and possibly the reason why many animals (and possibly humans) were much larger and lived longer back then compared to now. 

For me it was interesting to see the minor details of pre-flood existence being used in this film. Considering how short the chapter’s involving Noah and the flood, I’ll give credit to the director for these added areas. Er, most of them, that is. There were some parts however I did find a little too hard to agree with. First off was the concept of evolutionary creationism. I get the fact they wanted to show how different the world was at that time, and from certain standpoints, the idea of it, would make some sense. For others, this would be a hard sell. At the same time, we don’t have an exact history of what life was back then (aside from what’s mentioned in the book of Genesis), we can’t dismiss this completely. I do agree that if mankind was different back then, why can’t the same be said about the wildlife, the environment, and the spiritual connection to God? They even mention Enoch’s walk to heaven through a conversation Methuselah had with Noah, along with the prediction of what would happen to mankind if they kept their wicked ways. Ironically this was in reference to the Revelation end times, rather than the flood, which Methuselah found puzzling since one involved fire, and what Noah saw in his dream was water. Heh, I had to laugh at that point, since both end time decrees are true…just one comes much later. 

One other part I also found a bit hard to understand, were the fallen angel watchers. First of all, when many hear of fallen angels, they immediately think of Lucifer (now Satan) and the angels that were cast out of heaven. These angels however are not the same ones, at least according to the film. These were angels that wanted to help mankind after the fall of Eden and descended to Earth to do so, without God permission. In doing so, when reaching Earth they became encrusted with the earth becoming the stone giant watchers you see in the film. I think the encrustation is to symbolize the recent sin that was not there until the fall, encasing them to show how sin is in this new world, and their penance for disobeying God. Like I said before it’s a bit farfetched. 

I was however told by a mutual friend of D.A. and I, that there are mentions of watchers in the Old Testament. I wasn’t aware of that at the time, and still need to research it more, but in that case it would prove to be an interesting area to study. I might need to do a separate article about it. As previously mentioned, life prior to the flood would have been different, since the world at the time was different. A catastrophic event like a worldwide flood would have a fundamental and permanent affect on our world in every aspect. This film does show this, and really gives that feel on how different things were. Remember this was only a few centuries at best since the fall of man from the Garden of Eden. Factoring in the life span of mankind at the time, it would be considered even less of a time gap since then as well. Overall, it was very interesting to see this film. I’ve always been fascinated with how life was prior to the flood, and how many previous films, TV shows, or specialty series fail to point out how different things were at that time. It was much closer to the beginning of the world. Despite it being after mankind’s fall from Eden and sin’s introduction, spiritually speaking, mankind was closer to God in this time period than they were afterwards. I mean God spoke and revealed directly to them, so there was no question (no should there be) with who was communicating with you. Even the descendants of Cain acknowledged this, although it never happened to them. 

The main reason why I have such a interest in this time period is, despite how things were different back then, there were similarities. Despite there being a closer spiritual connection to God, there was still a lot of wickedness on Earth, so much  so it had to be destroyed. Considering how it’s mentioned during the times of Noah are the same how times are now, one has to ask themselves how wicked have we become now, to start the end times with fire? Perhaps that day may be closer than any of us realize. 

Two final thoughts, one, considering how this film addressed many areas that many had questions on life back then (and a few that I didn’t think about until after seeing it) I’m a bit surprised they did not address where the dinosaurs fit in with all of this. Secondly, not to stir up a old argument, I can’t help but notice that pretty much the entire cast of characters were all white, particularly the survivors of the flood. You mean to tell me they couldn’t have at least one visible minority in this cast? I mean if they were going with the strict Caucasian-ized depiction of biblical characters, (Jesus included), then I suppose it’s just tradition, whether it comes from that or Hollywood casting. Honestly, it’s really getting tiresome. 

Opinions on this film or review?


  1. Any comment on how it portrayed sin, vs the virtue of Noah? I've avoided this movie because it seems like the gritty version of a Bible story, something that Hollywood seems inexorably drawn to do. The result is they always make the "hero" into an anti-hero, and I suspect that Noah in the end comes off not as the person God rescued because of his virtue, but just the guy who's willing to do whatever it takes to get something done.

  2. Lancer, that's a fair prediction of how Noah was treated in this depiction. There was indeed poetic licence in how Noah was portrayed.

    I found the conflicts a tad modernistic/anachronistic; the melodrama injected into the story seems very unlikely to have been the case in the society of the time; however, as a modern interpretation of what it may actually have been like, it was a refreshing revisit of a period in history so far back that speculation between the lines of the Biblical narrative seems almost warranted, and brings to life characters that are otherwise sanitized by antiquity.

  3. "sanitized by antiquity" - I like that. While I don't think you can remove the juxtaposition of Noah to the rest of the world without losing the core meaning of the Flood story, some of the liberties that MW describes above sound very interesting. Maybe I'll check it out if it's on Netflix, but I may be more the type to pull out his hair due to Biblical stories that have been polluted by post-modernism.

  4. Wear a hat...! :-) Can't wait for your thoughts on it. There are a few things I really didn't understand, while a few I found pretty neat.

  5. I watched it this weekend. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, and I still have all my hair. Netflix gave it 1.x stars, but I would probably have given it a 2. I still kinda shrug at it, but I'm nevertheless glad you guys challenged me.

    Here's what I see as its major philosophical difference with the Biblical account. Reviewing it in my head, it seems that it portrays mankind's greatest sin as what it did to the environment. Ie: the Earth was "very good", and humanity wrecked it (by industry, no less). Now there is also the sin of murder show-cased frequently, but that doesn't ever seem to be treated as a major justification for the flood. There is also the sin of eating animals, which I suppose is an extension of the first (but I forgive it for this, because it matches with the Bible's only giving the permission to eat animals after the Flood). In fact, there is only ever one kind of sin on display in the movie, and it's that of people in power abusing what's under their control. The "bad guy" ironically references man's divinely given right of dominion as his justification.

    It is a very post-modern/secular view of ethics, where sin only exists if it causes harm. If you limit ethics to this view, the powerful will have the lions-share of guilt, because the powerless are less able to inflict arm. Yet Genesis 6:5 says "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." I believe this judgment was upon both the small and the great alike. A harm-based view of sin tends to overlook sins like lying, covetousness, and sexual immorality. Basically, it has no concept of a sin that feels good. Yet it only makes sense for God to send a flood if all were similarly/equally guilty, and in this respect Noah was the only one to stand apart. In other words, the punishment wasn't just the damage we'd done to the world (or to others), but what we did to ourselves.

    I already said that the movie treats the Earth as "very good" until humanity wrecked it. Genesis 1 only uses the term "very good" after the specific creation of humankind. Where the movie sees humanity as disposable, the Bible sees humanity as indispensable. This difference sets up a very different kind of conflict. Instead of people not listening to God, they actually believed Noah about the upcoming flood and so they fought him to get on the Ark! Noah even declined to bring wives for his two younger sons, because what's the point if the intent was to extinguish humanity? We don't read about anyone being denied entrance to the Ark in the Bible, so it's a very different kind of conflict.

    So in summary, it differs in its view of sin, and God's relationship with humankind. At least mercy is accommodated in its world view.


What do you think?!