#Noah terribly biblical movie, it turns out.
Just in from seeing Noah at the movies, with my son. He declared it “Amazing”, but conceded that it wasn’t terribly biblical – especially the rock monsters, the crazy people trying to get on the boat, the bad guy getting on the boat and the lack of wives, generally.
It’s yet another of those movies that, if I had directed it, it would have been different. But I didn’t. I’d have had a lot more carry on on board with the animals, whereas this Noah managed to put them into drug-induced-hibernation-comas for the duration of the flood, which meant that a whole lot of questions were skipped over – the feeding, the breeding, the inevitable clashes between the herbivores and the carnivores. I’d have had a lot more animal action. Might have affected the certificate, right enough.
And Shem, Ham and Japheth would all have had wives from the outset, to save that – “eh, Noah, won’t we be needing more wives?” – question recurring – flying in the face of my extensive bible trivia that there were eight people on the ark – not the seven people in this version – one of whom being an injured stowaway who manages to keep shtum and survive on what would now be extinct species…
But the good bits? The flood – although it was way too short. We didn’t get the 40 days and 40 nights feeling that I think we should have had. The preamble with the rock monsters and the general angst took away what I figure should have been a study in cabin fever.
Anthony Hopkins was an absolute joy as Methuselah. It was worth seeing for his input alone.
There was a great creation section in the middle, also, that I imagine people will be using in other contexts from now on.
However – and here is the spoiler if you haven’t seen it and want to, so look away now – the whole thing rested on an interesting idea.
In the movie – not the bible – Noah believes that his job is to save the animals to populate the world after the flood – not the human race. He sees his youngest, Japheth, as “the last man”. Hence the lack of wives, and lack of perceived necessity of wives, hence the lack of the eight people on the ark. He thinks it is God’s plan to wipe out sinful mankind and leave only the animals – the innocents – to enjoy the world. His love for his own people overcomes him and he allows humanity to continue. And he feels bad about it.
Then it ended as I would have it: the naked drunkenness scene, which they perhaps surprisingly did bother to include – and an acknowledgement that Noah’s family and descendents were and would be living because of the Creator’s mercy, not because of their own righteousness.
And a rainbow.
I really like the story of Noah. It is so environmentally conscious. The preciousness of each animal all the more clear because of the limited nature of Noah’s microcosm. I love the rainbow at the end which symbolizes the grace that humans live under – we don’t deserve any of this creation, this life – these creatures, landscapes, relationships – but yet here we are – living our lives in a time of grace.
As a presentation of a biblical epic – it was epic, but not terribly biblical.