Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah, a review

NOTE: possible spoilers. I'll try not to have them, but I can't guarantee that this will be spoiler-free!

I saw the movie "Noah" yesterday and have been thinking about it a lot today. I'm not really a fan, mostly because I didn't think it was very well-written. It's like they took a hodge-podge of flood myths and tried to make it "popular" by adding in some battles and supernatural stuff. The acting was fine and the special effects were spectacular, but.. meh.

The main reason I went to see it was all of the hype about it. Everyone had an opinion on it, and most of them hadn't even seen it yet! A lot of the uber-Christians were complaining that it took liberties with the Bible story and it was anti-religious, etc. So I did some research on where they got some of the story elements and tried to figure out what they had done. I looked at the Jewish, Christian and Muslim versions of the story, Plato, and the Gilgamesh story

(In no particular order)

1. Noah was vegetarian: There is some background for that. Genesis 9:3 indicates that God told Noah he could start eating meat after the flood.
>>Genesis 9:3 (NIV) Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.<<

Soooo before the flood, they had been allowed to eat only herbs and plants. Now they were allowed to use meat for food, but only after the animal had been killed.

So to all of the people complaining about Noah being a hippy vegetarian... go read your Bible!

2. Rock monsters: "Niphilim" are mentioned in the Bible, and there is a LOT of speculation as to what they really are. They're fallen angels, they are the offspring of angels and women, etc. The movie's version is just as "out there" as some of the other speculation, so uh, OK. But they really seemed jarring, like some animated Transformer-like thing that was just weird.

3. Calling the guy in charge "Creator" vs. "God" - Why is this a controversy? Isn't God the "Creator"? Also, in the Quran, God is called "The Devine Creator". Seriously, what is the noise about?

4. Sons & wives: In the Bible God specifically tells Noah that his family, includes Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, will be spared. Also, Ham is the youngest (vs. middle), the father of Canaan. He is the one who Noah curses at the end because Ham sees him naked and tells his brothers, instead of covering him up.

In the Quran, Noah's wife and oldest son are not spared because they are "not righteous".

The movie didn't follow the Bible script exactly on this, but it does have some of the elements, along with elements from other myths. I'm wondering if they changed it to make it more dramatic. (I thought the changes weren't all that great actually. Makes Noah seem like a bit of a dick!)

5. Bad guys: "Everyone thought only of his own welfare and recognized only the laws that were in his own favor. Mutual respect and cooperation had given way to violence and sin." This, from the Jewish version, pretty much describes the bad guy, even though he was really good at quoting scripture.

So overall, other than the thing with the wives, the story contains elements that are found in at least one of the versions of the story. The thing with the wives though, is completely different and I think it was changed just to add drama. Not successfully, mind you, but I think they wanted Noah to have some conflict that he had to overcome. Heck, the guy was 600 years old! Give him a break!

I really think the worst thing I can say about this movie is that it's just not that good a movie. Disappointing, but... I wasn't all that excited about it before the hype and controversy because I just didn't think it was a good story. And I was right!

So, save your money. I don't think you shouldn't see it because it's sacrilege (or not), but because it's just not a very good movie! If it didn't have all of the hype, it probably would have gone quietly away.