April 2, 2014

I saw Noah and I liked it

When I walked out of the movie theater yesterday I wasn't sure what I thought about Noah.

Warning: there are a few spoilers below, perhaps the biggest one is in the following paragraph.

I liked the beginning, I liked the end, but the middle bit - once the rain came and all the time on the ark -well, it seemed long to me. If one describes a movie as "long" that's not a good thing. The more I think on it the more I've realized that the subplot of Tubal-Cain being a stowaway on the ark is what felt long and boring in this part of the movie. It just didn't work for me.

Yet the longer I think of the entire film, and I have been thinking on it ever since the credits began to roll, the more I like it. 

For me these are some of the highlights:

- The way that the fatherly blessing had great significance and is something Very Good, something that comes from Eden.

- The nod to the Tower of Babel. 

- How beautifully the story of Creation is told. How it was illustrated as Noah narrates it is visually stunning but I also love that Noah is telling it to his family in words similar to the ones in Scripture but not exact. It felt organic, like the way I tell a Bible story to my kids. Since watching the film I have often thought of how that story was finally written down, using precise words that were inspired by God.  

- That Methuselah finally got a berry, right before he died. Maybe some will see this as cheesy but I saw it as a nod to the fact that God indeed wants to give us good things. I like that before his death, God gave Methuselah a special treat so he could die a satisfied man. 

- The acting was wonderful, especially by Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly. There are a couple of scenes on the ark where Connelly, who plays Noah's wife, confronts Noah and her incredibly emotional performances were perfect. After one of the interactions I thought, "Oscar." Watson, too, has several emotional scenes that were excellently done. And together, their portrayal of home birth (or ark birth?) was the best I've ever seen on film. 

- Repeatedly the descendants of Cain will talk about how they are made in the "image and likeness of God" and how, for them, that means that they have the power and privilege to make, use, and take life as they see fit. I found that twisting of the good to be very thought-provoking. How often I have taken that very blessing of being made in His image and likeness and twisted it to make myself my own god! To be made in the image and likeness of God is certainly a beautiful gift and a great blessing and over and over again we are shown in Noah that humans and their sins have ruined the Beautiful that God created and gave to us.


I also want to address some of the complaints I've heard about Noah.

- Rock people. I liked the rock people. Do they jive with Catholic teaching on angels and fallen angels? No. Are you going to find them in the Bible? Sorta, kinda, but Fr. Barron and deacon-in-training Steve Greydanus both say that they are based on biblical beings. I believe the rock people are just one of the many elements of the movie that will have people reaching for their Bibles and having conversations. Plus, they reminded me of the Ents from Lord of the Rings and that's a good thing.

- God is not called "God" but "the Creator." This one makes me want to bang my head against the wall. This is Old Testament, before God has told Abraham just Who He Is! Noah's got nothing else to call God but "the Creator" because that's the only way He's revealed Himself. It's not some heavy-handed anti-God, pro-environment thing, it's a thoughtful decision and one that, I believe, points out how truly blessed we are to know God as much more than Creator but as Father, Lord, and Redeemer. 

- Noah's plan for his unborn grandchilden. I've heard some say there's no way the righteous Noah would think of such a thing but it seems to me that they are overlooking Abraham and Isaac. Please do not misunderstand me, I was troubled with this part of the plot, too, but I also empathized with Noah at this point. I have also had surprise pregnancies that have left me confused and worried about the will of God. I have also misunderstood God and made the wrong decision. In the very act of sincerely trying to do God's will I have hurt people and overlooked mercy for justice.

 

I acknowledge that Noah will not be for everyone: it doesn't get the biblical story right, it takes some liberties, it has a touch of a sci-fi feel that some will just not like.

But if you enjoy blockbusters and sci-fi; if you're a big fan of Russel Crowe, Emma Watson, or Jennifer Connelly; if you're looking for a movie that can start some interesting conversations amongst your family and friends then I definitely recommend it for you.


Finally, who knew that the rainbow Noah saw after the flood was actually one of Rainbow Dash's sonic rainbooms? Who knew?!

18 comments:

  1. I read a review that said Noah was satan's work. The over critical response by some Catholics has REALLY bummed me out. I told someone yesterday, I think reactions like that are so anti-evangelism. :( Anyway, glad to see some balance in your blog. I plan on seeing it this weekend.

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    1. No way is it satan's work. That's ridiculous. Or if it is, satan must be pretty upset about how much "his work" has made me think about God, salvation history, and Sacred Scripture recently.

      And ditto about the over critical response from some Catholics. I read one review and it literally ruined my good mood.

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    2. And I am sure you know that I meant 'balance in your blog' referring to terrible reviews NOT implying your blog is unbalanced. It's funny though, because it could be read either way, and that would be so insulting ;)

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  2. I won't see it (my anxiety can't handle apocalypse type movies and I end up with nightmares for months), but I've been reading all the reviews I come across and I'm glad someone finally realized the Ent connection in a good way. I've seen too many people say "Ugh, the Rock People were a rip off of the Ent's" and all I've thought is.... well do you think the highly devout Tolkien might have gotten an idea or two from the Bible?

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    1. I feel the same way about the apocalypse movie thing, Molly. I already have enough stress and anxiety in my life, so adding to it in the name of "entertainment" doesn't make sense to me.

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    2. Yes, you both should not see the movie!

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    3. I saw Titantic once when I was 18.... I still have nightmares, seriously I'm that pathetic ;)

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    4. I haven't seen Noah, but I want to. The more I read about it, especially your post, the more I am reminded of Madeleine L'Engle's Noah novel: Many Waters. Good angels, bad angels, mammoths, unicorns, she went super sci-fi in that book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many_Waters

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    5. These conversations are so interesting, I do plan to see it. I have been thinking about Many Waters, too!

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  3. Thanks for the review! I want to see this movie but we will probably have to wait until it's on TV or when it comes out on DVD. We don't get a chance to see many movies in the theatre so we try to choose them carefully. Captain America is number one on our list for this weekend so we probably won't be seeing Noah anytime soon. I appreciate your review. But
    I can't read reviews from movies anymore because most bum me out. Especially reviews from a lot of Catholic/Christian bloggers. I usually disagree with a lot of their reviews so I don't know what that says about me but I just can't read reviews before I see movies anymore. When I watch a movie I am looking to be entertained. If I am entertained then I will recommend it. That's just how my mind works. Just because a movie might not be historically, biblically accurate or "comicly" accurate doesn't mean I'm going to bash the movie. If it's entertaining then sign me up. Obviously if it's vulgar and offensive I'm not going to be into it. I just don't take things so seriously I guess. I love me a good epic movie, historically accurate or not.

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  4. Ok just read some other comments on here and it is good to know that I am not the only one bummed out uh movie reviews from some Catholic/Christian bloggers.

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    1. Yeah, you're not alone. Not at all.

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  5. My youth group kids have been talking about seeing Noah since it first hit previews, and have asked and asked to go as a group...so we are this weekend. My requirements were that their parents read a review I sent out before they signed the permission slip (especially since it is PG-13) and that the kids must read Genesis 6-9 before we go. I am looking forward to the lively discussion that we will have over icecream after seeing the movie. I think it is important to teach kids how to think about something like this movie, and to not take one look, review, or opinion and declare it all good or all bad. We miss out on a lot as Christians when we do that. Also, a thought provoking review that I read about Noah was written by Sr. Helena Burns. Didn't know if you saw this one, but it is worth a read: http://hellburns.blogspot.com/2014/03/movies-noah.html#.UzxGQleh1xA

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    1. I was just going to say, Sister Helena reviewed that movie and loved it. True confession: I don't know if it's something about my brain cells these days. It's certainly not the movie itself, but... I have WAY more interest in seeing the new Muppet Movie than Noah. There, I said it.

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  6. I'm looking forward to seeing this and appreciate your balanced review, Bonnie!

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  7. Just another reason why they call Satan "The Great Deceiver."
    When I saw this on Friday, I was for sure this couldn't be right. After spending the longest 2 hours of my life watching the movie Noah, followed by a few hours researching the stomach turning teachings of the Kabbalah, I found it's 100% right. Would you sit through a movie of Lucifer's (Satan) life? Well if you watched the movie Noah 2014, then you did. Kabbalahist believe the bible story happened, the only difference is they believe Satan is God and the real God is the bad one. It's basically the Bible flipped upside down. They consider themselves the enlightened ones AKA Illuminati and believe that Satan will make them Immortal in the New World that they are forming. The snakeskin that Abraham passed down to Moses in the beginning of this movie should have had the religious leaders asking questions. The snakeskin represents the Serpents skin that contains the secretes the heavenly God is hiding. Arnofosky is maker of this Blasphemy as well as the movie PI his first ever realeased movie, which is about a guying decoding numbers of the bible, in search of the Kabbalah. I also discovered that when the owner of the Kabbalah Center died, Hollywood stars like Modonna, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kutcher attended the funeral and Brittany Spears was pictured carrying the book of Zohar as she was exiting the funeral. The Zohar is their version of the Bible and will make them immortal God's. Do you remember when Shen asked his father, "is this a zohar mind" when he and his family traveled across the wasteland? The saddest part is that these so called Enlightened believe they are above everyone in the world and we are pure fools among sheep. This movie definitely proved that point but I hope this gets exposed and wakes people up to the evil around us. Here is great article exposing this wicked movie, for what it truly was... http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/04/01/theologian-blasts-christian-leaders-fooled-into-endorsing-kabbalah-gnostic-version-of-noah

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    1. JR, You can dislike the movie Noah and believe it's from satan.

      I believe that any art can be viewed through multiple lenses, or literary theory if you will. You can view it through a gnostic lens (as many have), or a Kabbalah lens, and I can view it through a Judeo-Christian lens.

      Here's another link you may be interested in: http://hellburns.blogspot.ca/2014/03/movies-noah.html#.U0KOatgnKM9

      Finally, if this movie is a work of satan's then he's probably NOT happy with me because it has made me think of God, salvation history, and Sacred Scripture. It has made me pray and read Scripture. You may have spent time on the internet reading about Britney Spears but I spent time discussing discerning God's will with my husband. I'm sorry you didn't have a similar beneficial post-movie experience.

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  8. I jumped over here from Kendra Tierney's blog.

    Your thoughts were pretty akin to mine--with the exception that I knew exactly how I felt once I walked out of the theater.

    I'm Protestant, but just like you, my facebook news feed was brimming with condemnation for this movie. It made me ache--as a person, as a student of theory, as a Christian. I walked out of Noah with a heart full of awe and gratitude towards God, and a better, clearer understanding of His grace and love.

    I think that's a good investment of two hours.

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