Friday, March 28, 2014

Noah Movie Review

The trailers looked thrilling. My middle (13yo) son really wanted to see it. There was a premier showing the night before it's official release at 9:55pm. Thank goodness because I was this close ---><--- to agreeing to brave a midnight showing! I called it a mother-son night and made a go of it.

I read the controversial reviews and was fully aware. Yes, I knew there would be Biblical inaccuracies. That doesn't scare me. I wasn't going to the movies and expecting to watch the Bible. I was going to a movie, that happened to be entitled with the same name as a Biblical character. I was hoping it would be good and I was curious.

Let's get this out of the way right now; Yes, it did contain some Biblical truths combined with imagination. The writer of the film does not claim it to be an accurate representation of the Biblical account of Noah. So there is no misrepresentation there. The studio, Paramount Pictures issued a statement, also clarifying that it was not a Biblical representation of the story of Noah and urged people to seek out the Biblical account in the book of Genesis. Kudos to them for basically telling everyone to go read the Bible!

I was disappointed. Again, not in the Biblical references or lack thereof. I was disappointed in the movie over all. The majority of the movie is grey. Grey water, grey sky, grey clothing, dirty, grey animals {oh there is one large brown bear}, grey ark, dark, grey land....grey, grey, grey. There is also one green hill, where Noah's grandpa lives in a grey cave. That is a lot of colorlessness to be subjected to while sitting in a dark theater.

There is one beautiful shot that stood out. Noah steps out of his tent at dawn. His wife soon follows after him. They are cast against a stunning, sky at sunrise. Their silhouettes are back lit by bright orange and pink heavens. It is one moment of contrast against the stark greyness of the film, overall.

The 'fallen angels' of light look really cool too until they are encrusted in the dirt and rock of the earth. It also looks pretty cool the way the forest supernaturally grows suddenly. Though that reminded me more of how it would look at the moment of creation, not before the flood.

In the Biblical account of Noah, God wants to cleanse the earth with a flood because of men's wickedness and evil. In the film, the 'great sin' seems to be eating meat/animals for sustenance. There is a scene where Noah goes, at night, to the 'other peoples' camp or town. This scene was a bit confusing for me, to be honest. There is female screaming, someone screams about a baby, there are large crowds and near rioting going on. Women are being pulled and dragged against their will. The press from the crowd breaks down a flimsy fence and an animal is thrown into the crowd. At that point, I thought the people had become cannibals, because of the confusion with the women screaming. However, I don't think that was the case. It felt though, as if Noah was more disgusted by their 'sin' of eating animals, than the way they were mistreating other human beings. I am not saying that is what the film intended to come across, but that is how it looked to me. I think, the scene was actually trying to convey a gluttonous, blood-thirsty lust--and it accomplished that goal.

The earth is pretty barren from mankind's industrial progress, which is why everything is so bleak and grey. Noah's family is vegan or at least don't eat animals...It wasn't clear how they lived since there wasn't much plant life for them to survive being herbivores. They didn't appear to be starving...

One aspect I found very strange, while watching this film, was how it felt very gross and graphic at times, though it wasn't necessarily graphic, in the visual sense. Moments when I wanted to look away, but there wasn't really much to look away from. My son had the same feeling. I've never experienced that from a film before.

I was also fascinated by the theme of people wanting to hear from God. No one ever 'hears' from God in the film. Noah does have a dream and interprets it as a message about the impending flood. I liked that aspect. There is never any voice of God though. Even the 'bad guy', Tubal-Cain, prays, asking God to speak to him and questioning why He doesn't. In the end, TC gives a speech to his men, stating that they alone control their lives and death and that no savior is coming--no one else is going to save them but themselves. Aaaahhhh...the old familiar theme of pride and not needing a savior. I loved it! Well, we know what happens--they can not save themselves. SPOILER ALERT: They all die in the end!

Isn't that the basis of the Bible? Our need for a Savior? The entire point of Jesus Christ coming to earth as a human and not only the son of God but God Himself, in flesh, is to save us. But this movie is not about Christ. It is about destruction of the earth, except for some animals and one family, by a great flood.

Besides wanting to hear from God, the movie also contained themes of love, mercy and justice. They felt half-hearted and not fully embraced or explored. The writer could have done more with that. I wasn't convinced that any of those were strong enough to give this movie any redeeming quality.

If you are curious, I say wait until you can get a free RedBox code to rent it. Or at best, watch the matinee and get a discount. It was not worth full price.

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