In a world that has turned from God and lives in depravity, Noah has been set apart to be the one responsible for starting the world over again. Mankind has disregarded the laws of God, turning the world into a wasteland, worshiping themselves, and living in continuous war. They eat the flesh of Animals, even though forbidden, and deserve utter destruction.
And that is exactly what The Creator provides.
We all know the bible story we grew up with, so join me in this dissecting of this fantasy Epic, inspired by the tale of Noah, interpreted by Director Darren Aronofsky. I leave my usual setup in this film, because of how difficult it was for me to categorize all the different elements. Spoilers are present, just so you know.
There are two ways to approach this film I think. One, from a desire to see an accurate biblical recounting. Two, from a perspective of understanding the world sees this as just another piece of literature- just like Narnia or Lord of the Rings. Approaching from a biblical recounting perspective, the movie is quite simply, butchered. The main elements remain- that is, the world is bad, God destroys the world, Noah is chosen to do so… And that’s about it. There are so many extra elements added, and parts stripped away that while recognizable, not accurate. This includes one of Noah’s son’s are married, the Nephilim are redeemed at the end, the vision of Noah is unclear, Methuselah has a whole role and plays a part in miracles of God, there are no dinosaurs to be found in the film, and the list goes on. This is due to the fact much was added from the book of Enoch, which if you read the parts about Noah, are recognized there as well. Simply put, this isn’t a purely biblical adaptation. Rather, one based on numerous texts, most of which are not of the Cannon of Scripture.
The second perspective, a work of literature, goes in with several ideas concerning motives and reasons of scripture. From this perspective, again and honestly, it is a lacking adaptation. Very similar to the past film adaptations of the Narnia series. Motives and Characters are different. Core plot pieces are changed, and beings which get only one verse in scripture, get a whole deluge of backstory and explanation (the Nephilim). The don’t even quote the original work accurately in the book of genesis, but rather change it just a bit, to suit their story.
What irked me most though, was the fact they altered the Genesis tale. “In the Beginning, there was nothing.” we are told, yet the first scripture found says “In the beginning, God…” They alter many other passages, saying Adam and Eve only had three sons, and because of this, they had children with angels, who then became fallen. I was not so much bothered by additions to the story in terms of character events and processes, but was disturbed at the direct changing of scripture.
All that being said, the movie is not without benefit. In fact, the core reason of the flood- man’s depravity, remains in such a pungent way, we can’t but help imagine why in the world was God so patient? Noah understands this more than anyone, and because of that, it gives him the idea that man is not meant to repopulate the world. He lives under the mindset of Justice alone, and forgets for a time, that God is a God of Love as well. Because of this, we watch him mercilessly let a girl be trampled to death. In another terrifying moment when he is about to commit murder of two girls, he is overwhelmed by love, and realizes the error of his thinking. It shows Noah as flawed. As human. But also righteous, willing to do whatever God asks of him.
After this film, I doubt anyone will picture Noah’s ark as a cute boat bobbing up and down in the sea. This movie dispels that myth with savage and terrific destruction, or that it was undeserved. Men in the cities of Cain trade young girls for food. They murder anyone who they feel like, and law is nonexistent. When the flood starts, not only does it rain on mankind, the earth tears apart as water from the deep consume armies of men in an instant. In the ark, we hear wailings and screamings of people drowning and clinging to the last mountain peaks, then all are silenced. A terrible, truly deathly, silence.
God is never shown to be unjust in his destruction of the world. He is however, shown to be silent, almost of a Deist perspective. He communicates only through visions (that is directly from the book of Enoch BTW), and aside from that, does not speak to anyone. In the end, we are shown a beautiful interpretation of the first rainbow, and while the reason for it is not explained, the meaning is clear.
All in all, walking away from the film, I wan’t impressed. Both from a biblical perspective, but also from one seeing it as “just another film”. Were it not for the incredible acting of Russel Crow, I truly believe this film would be an incredible flop. The story isn’t completely captivating, whereby alienating the worldly viewers. The adaption is quite apart from Scripture, whereby eliminating most christians, who want to see a pure adaptation.
In the end, I hardly think your faith as a Christian will be shaken if you go and see the film. What I do know, is that this movie has spaced conversations nationwide about the True story of Noah, and gotten several people into scripture, reading the original work. This is definitely a good thing. So, I honestly don’t see this movie as a terror or abomination to the original story, nor do I see it as something we should emulate or recommend. Rather, it is what it is- A worldly adaptation of a biblical story, remaining true to the original reasons, but departing from the cannon account.