I finally got a chance to see the Hollywood version of “Noah” (2014) starring Russell Crowe on DVD. I had seen many reviews, so my expectations were quite low, but I’m glad I finally got the chance to check it out for myself. Biblical accuracy is always going to be an issue with Hollywood renderings, but the problems with “Noah” go way beyond this.
The Real Problem
If the purpose of this movie was to get people to dislike Noah and his Creator, then it was a smashing success. I was struggling with who to root for when Noah and Tubal-cain were locked in mortal combat on the Ark (both being despicable at that point). Tubal-cain was a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:22) who managed to sneak on the Ark (1Illusions 3).
In essence, the author flipped the biblical characters, making the good guys bad, and bad good. In Genesis, Noah was righteous and blameless in his generation (Gen. 6:9, 7:1). But in the movie, he is heartless and psychotic, even refusing to try to save a young girl who wanted to come aboard the Ark with Ham. In fairness, it would have been a difficult rescue, but we later learn Noah passed her by because he did not want any fertile women onboard the Ark that could further the human race. Ham, on the other hand—rebellious and disrespectful in reality—was made sympathetic and lovable in the movie—the innocent victim of an unstable, irrational father. In Genesis, Ham deliberately attempted to bring shame to his father after Noah had fallen into sin and become drunk one day. No man is perfect and this was definitely a low point in Noah’s life. But in the movie, Ham was merely caught off guard, stumbling upon his passed out father, with no bad intentions at all.
The sons of god, in Genesis, were fallen angels who left their proper domain and came down from heaven and took human wives for themselves (Gen. 6:1-4). But in the movie, they were benevolent creatures, simply intending to help mankind. But they fell out of favor with God (for no apparent reason) and were cursed and turned into rock creatures. Men then piled on and victimized them, bringing them to the brink of extinction. But the few that were left stayed true to their good nature, helping Noah build the Ark and selflessly sacrificing themselves as Tubal-cain’s army attempted to take possession of the Ark before the flood waters came. Conversely, their Creator is shown to be petty, austere and arbitrary—the precise opposite of who He is.
Even the reason for the Flood was perverted. Instead of being brought on by human wickedness, the primary sin on man’s part was environmental abuse. As Breitbart reviewer John Nolte put it:
In “Noah” the only sin for which God is destroying all of humanity has nothing to do with wickedness or evil as defined by what we know will be God’s laws — the Ten Commandments. The sins of idolatry, blasphemy, dishonesty, adultery, and treating your parents with disrespect have absolutely nothing to do with why God wants to flood the earth and start over. “Noah” isn’t even interested in Jesus’ commandment to love one another as you love yourself.
Aronofsky’s “God” is only disappointed, disgusted and ready to be rid of man for the single sin of hurting the environment. And hurting the environment is defined in the film as strip-mining, eating animal flesh, hunting, and even plucking a flower no bigger than a dime because “it’s pretty.”
Noah’s character came around a bit toward the end, as he was reunited with his wife, after separating with her shortly after the Flood. [Sigh!]
There are several other deviations in the film, but the character assassinations were the most disturbing—particularly God’s. I don’t mind artistic license, so long as the basic essence of the original story is respected. In this case, it was outright attacked. The Breitbart review title said it best: ‘NOAH’ REVIEW: BRILLIANTLY SINISTER ANTI-CHRISTIAN FILMMAKING.
No stars for Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel’s, Noah.