Sunday, January 4, 2015

Noah: High budget movie made to piss off fundamentalists

This movie is stupid and boring.  --Jeanie

Spoiler alert!  I'm going to give some details, so if you really want to see this film without knowing what's going to happen, don't read any further.

This movie served as a comedy until Jeanie lost interest.  We both agreed that it would have been far better to watch in a theater, where we could catch the reactions of folks who thought they were going to see the equivalent to "The Ten Commandments", starring Charlton Heston.  That would have been so much fun.  People watching often is.

It's clear this was a high-budget film.  Russell Crowe is Noah, Jennifer Connelly is his wife, Emma Watson is Shem's wife (I'm bad with names, people, and can only remember the ones mentioned in the Bible, which I've read 27 times, so please don't read into the fact that I don't remember the names of the women--blame the Bible's author for never mentioning them), Anthony Hopkins plays Methusaleh...they really shelled out the big bucks for the cast.

Okay, I'm looking it up on IMDB now.

[minutes go by]

 Jennifer Connely is Neemah, and Emma Watson is Ila.  Anyway, they dragged some big names into this film.  I had to go look because these actresses are accomplished, and it's wrong of me not to care which characters they played.

Anyway, first off all, the movie is nothing like the book.  If you're going into this film thinking it's going to be anything like the Genesis account, you'll be disappointed.  There's a loose framework and a few elements in common, but that's about it.  I had already heard plenty of Internet buzz about how it wasn't like the biblical account, and I didn't care--I have no love for the Bible. However, it seems like they did things just to piss off fundamentalists.  They explain "fallen angels" as beings of light who tried to help mankind after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, who then became rock monsters.  They helped mankind, but mankind turned on them.  Anyway, they end up helping to build the ark and defending it from the men who turned on them, which had to piss off fundamentalists.  These "angels" disobeyed their creator (never called "God" in the movie); they belonged in hell, right?

Things that the movie had in common with the Bible: a few of the names of the characters, the crow failing to find land, the dove succeeding to find land, two of every creature ending up on the ark, the ark itself, the genocide the flood represented, Ham spurning his drunken father at the end of the story, and that's about it.

Here are the differences, off the top of my head, without doing a detailed analysis:

  • Only Shem had a wife when the flood began.  Ham and Japheth both had wives when they entered the ark in the Bible. 
  • Conflict is created when Methusaleh makes the barren Ila fertile with his blessing, and Noah, who has it in his mind that his creator intended for mankind to be destroyed (he thought his mission was simply to save the animals and die), believes he has to kill Ila's and Shem's offspring if they have a girl.  It's clear in the Bible that God intended to save Noah's family because they were the only righteous ones left on the corrupted Earth (except at the end of the story, he decided that wickedness in men will never be cured, and the flood was basically a wasted endeavor--seriously, read the book.  I'm not making that up.). 
  • More conflict is created when Ham decides to try and find a wife, finds a girl who wants to be his mate, then loses her in a stampede of humans who are trying to get to the ark when the rains come, all because she gets her foot stuck in a trap.
  • Tubal-Cain (descendant of Cain and the king of the wicked people) leads and army to try to take the ark, because of course there needs to be suspense right when the flood begins.  
  • The fallen angels get back into heaven when their bodies are ripped apart.  
  • The "creator" never talks to Noah.  He communicates in visions and dreams, which Methusaleh needs to help along because Noah's never shown what to do to avoid the flood in his dream.  He does it through the use of a potion of some sort.
  • Noah has to decide whether or not to kill babies.
  • Tubal-Cain ends up on the ark, the only survivor of the wicked people, all to create more conflict and suspense by tempting Ham to kill his father, and giving Tubal-Cain a chance to kill Noah. 
I'm sure I can come up with more differences and similarities with a full analysis, but I'm sure people will get the idea: this film is a re-imagining of the Genesis story.  So...what's the point?  Why make a film about Noah that not only isn't like the Genesis account, but also contains downright blasphemous elements (like fallen angels helping Noah build the ark and getting back into heaven)?  I'm pretty sure the whole point was that human beings corrupted the planet, made conditions horrible, and would be judged for it; that message is pretty heavy-handed and blatantly stated by Noah when he recounted the story of the fall of man when they got onto the ark.  He also revealed at that point that his family were to be the last humans (until he found out Ila was pregnant), so an extension of the message is that the world would be better off without humans.  I think.

This is nothing like the book, and they're all white!   --Jeanie
Yeah...that's another thing.  This all-white cast looks nothing like the first humans, who most certainly had a high melanin content in their skin.

As far as movies go, religious connections notwithstanding, I didn't find it unwatchable.  I found a lot of comedy in it, which I'm sure wasn't the intention of the filmmakers.  If you want to waste two hours of your time on a fantasy that doesn't really have a message of any importance, this film is for you.  If you are expecting to have your religion validated or receive a more palatable version of the Genesis flood on film, you're not going to get it.  I really do think that the intention was to piss off believers.