Noah: entertaining but watered down
Noah - Entertaining film, a watered down Bible story
You cannot find a more recognised story than Noah. A righteous man, the ark, pairs of animals and the flood.
Even if you did not grow up in a church tradition, this story would be known to most children and adults. Then to have this biblical story put into the hands of director, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), conjures mixed potential feelings of artistry and poor biblical misrepresentation. After viewing the film, those feelings were justified, but it is still worth giving this film a consideration.
Russell Crowe (Gladiator) takes on the epic role of Noah. The man chosen by the Creator, God, to save the innocent of the world by building an ark prior to the worldwide flood. Crowe gives a visceral interpretation of the central character that tends to get missed in the children's stories. Add to that Darren Aronofsky’s style of psychological film-making and they build a flawed, but driven Noah. He is supported by a superb cast of Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins.
Some may go to see an interpretation of this pivotal point in the history of Judaism and Christianity. Was it an accurate telling of the original story? My challenge would be to this viewer, read the original account (Genesis 6-8) and then discern the accuracy. Aronofsky does take the story seriously and manages to direct the film with a respectful consideration of the original theme, but misses on some key points. He honours the message of judgement, the ark and the animals. He misses with the fallen angels, the supposed silence of God and confusion of Noah on the point of who the 'innocent' represent.
For pure entertainment value, I would recommend this film. It was paced well, directed well and acted well, for an adult audiences. It is a good film based on a great story. The character development, visual effects and great basic storyline is worth seeing. I appreciated the work of a master craftsman at work in the actors and the director. If you you are going for a lesson in theology, I would suggest you take time to read the Bible story and then determine the value of the film. I guarantee it will open the door to good conversations about life, mankind and God.
Rating: Entertainment: B, Theology: D
Review by Russell Matthews @ Russelling Reviews. Russ Matthews is the In House and Public Programs Manager in the City Bible Forum Sydney branch.
PS: Here are 9 Things You Should Know about the Story of Noah
By Joe Carter, http://shar.es/BtMgV
Darren's Aronofksy's new film Noah, which opens in theaters tomorrow, has been criticized for not being faithful to the biblical narrative. But how much of the story do most people remember? Here are nine things you should know about the story of Noah:
1. The story of Noah is told is chiastic parallelism (or chiasmus), a figure of speech in which the order of the terms in the first of two parallel clauses is reversed in the second. If you assign the letters A and B to the first appearance of the key words or phrases and A' and B' to their subsequent appearance, they follow what is commonly referred to as an A-B-B-A pattern.
A chiasm in the story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 6.10-9.19):
A Noah (10a)
B Shem, Ham, and Japheth (10b)
C Ark to be built (14-16)
D Flood announced (17)
E Covenant with Noah (18-20)
F Food in the Ark (21)
G Command to enter the Ark (7.1-3)
H 7 days waiting for flood (4-5)
I 7 days waiting for flood (7-10)
J Entry to ark (11-15)
K Yahweh shuts Noah in (16)
L 40 days flood (17a)
M Waters increase (17b-18)
N Mountains covered (18-20)
O 150 days waters prevail (21-24)
P GOD REMEMBERS NOAH (8.1)
O' 150 days waters abate (3)
N' Mountain tops become visible (4-5)
M' Waters abate (6)
L' 40 days (end of) (6a)
K' Noah opens window of ark (6b)
J' Raven and dove leave ark (7-9)
I' 7 days waiting for waters to subside (10-11)
H' 7 days waiting for waters to subside (12-13)
G' Command to leave the ark (15-17)
F' Food outside the ark (9.1-4)
E' Covenant with all flesh (8-10)
D' No flood in future (11-17)
C' Ark (18a)
B' Shem, Ham, Japheth (18b)
A' Noah (19)
2. Based on 18 inches to a cubit, the total cubic volume of Noah's ark would have been 1,518,000 cubic feet, the equivalent to 250 single-deck railroad stock cars. Since the average stock car can carry 80 180 lb. sheep or to 160 50 lb. sheep per deck (2.5 - 5 sq ft per animal), it's estimated the ark could carry 20,000-40,000 sheep size animals.
3. From Ancient Near Eastern records to nautical practices as recent as the 19th century, sailors the world over used doves, ravens, and other birds to help them find and navigate toward land. A raven will fly directly toward land, so it's line of flight can be used as a guide. Doves have a limited ability for sustained flight, so they can be used to determine the location of a landing site. As long as the dove returns, no landing site is in close range.
4. Noah and his family were on the ark for a total of 370 days. Noah's first recorded act on leaving the ark is building an altar to the Lord (Gen. 8:20).
5. The Bible says the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (a mountain range in Turkey) but does not specify which mountain.
6. Noah became the first drunk recorded in Scripture, resulting in immoral behavior and family troubles (Genesis 9:20-26).
7. The only time Noah is recorded as speaking is when he curses his grandson Canaan and blesses his sons Shem and Japeth. At all other points in his story, God does the talking and Noah does the listening.
8. At 950 years of age, Noah had the third longest life recorded in the Bible (after Methuselah (969) and Jared (962)).
9. Besides the book of Genesis, Noah is also mentioned in eight other books of the Bible (1st Chronicles 1:4, Isaiah 54:9, Ezekiel 14:14; 20, Matthew 24:37-38, Luke 3:36, 17:26-27, Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20, and 2 Peter 2:5) as well as in the Book of Enoch (10:1-3) and the Qur'an (Sura 71).
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