Noah, you so crazy…

Noah, you so crazy… April 19, 2014

… So I saw the movie Noah.

Good Lord, what a ghastly mess.

I’m no theologian but somehow I don’t recall reading about Noah’s bloodthirsty, psychopathic, stab all the babies tendencies.

But it wasn’t all bad. Noah was entertaining enough with decent special effects. My absolute favorite part of the movie was when the stone giants protected the Hobbits.

Wait. What movie is this again?

OK, so it wasn’t the worst movie I ever saw. That honor belongs to Apocalypto, the only movie I’ve ever walked out of.

Noah had many fine moments, enough so that I couldn’t say it was a complete waste of time and money. The story of creation was absolutely stunning and just won’t be as awe inspiring if you wait to see the movie on DVD.

Also, as Fr. Barron noted,

What is most important is that this contemporary midrash successfully articulates the characteristically Biblical logic of the story of Noah. First, it speaks unambiguously of God: every major character refers to “the Creator.” Secondly, this Creator God is not presented as a distant force, nor is he blandly identified with Nature. Rather, he is personal, active, provident, and intimately involved in the affairs of the world that he has made. Thirdly, human beings are portrayed as fallen with their sin producing much of the suffering in the world. Some of the religious critics of “Noah” have sniffed out a secularist and environmentalist ideology behind this supposed demonization of humanity, but Genesis itself remains pretty down on the way human beings operate—read the stories of Cain and Abel and the Tower of Babel for the details. And “Noah’s” portrayal of the rape of nature caused by industrialization is nowhere near as vivid as Tolkien’s portrayal of the same theme in “The Lord of the Rings.” Fourthly, the hero of the film consistently eschews his own comfort and personal inclination and seeks to know and follow the will of God.

With which I agree. However, Fr. Barron loses me at “fourthly”.

At the emotional climax of the movie (spoiler alert), Noah moves to kill his own granddaughters, convinced that it is God’s will that the human race be obliterated, but he relents when it becomes clear to him that God in fact wills for humanity to be renewed. What is significant is that Noah remains utterly focused throughout, not on his own freedom, but on the desire and purpose of God. God, creation, providence, sin, obedience, salvation: not bad for a major Hollywood movie!

No, he relents because all he has is love in his heart when looks at those beautiful babies (his own words in the film)… and because Noah is not a psychopathic baby stabbing bastard! Duh.

God’s will does not become clear to Noah till much later in the film — as evident by all the Javert-ish moping Noah does because he feels like he failed God by not sacrificing his entire family in a Gladiator-esque rage.

That whole stab all the family, mad man on a boat script looked and felt too much like Hollywood’s typical habit of portraying followers of God as fanatical lunatics.

We get it, this was no easy task for Noah — build a ginormous boat, fill it full of animals that eat each other, repopulate earth and save all humanity. But God wouldn’t have picked Noah if he wasn’t up to task. People follow the will of God everyday, without the adverse side effects of wanting to slaughter their entire family. It’s called faith, people. And Noah had it in abundance.

My conclusion: Yes, Noah wasn’t bad for a Hollywood movie. In fact it was completely typical for a Hollywood movie.

But hey… it got me interested in re-reading Genesis again. So that’s something, I suppose.

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