Thursday, November 6, 2014

Live Tweeting Noah

I lamented to myself the other day about the lack of a theology minded MST3K that would comment on religiously themed movies.  So, I decided to do something about that.  This ended up being watching Noah starring Russell Crowe and tweeting my reactions to the film.  I wasn't very funny, or even entertaining.  But, if you care, here are my thoughts on Noah, rock monsters and all.

Mild spoilers follow, I suppose.

Yeah, so I mentioned this idea to my (admittedly small) group of followers on Twitter.  Before I even got around to watching the movie a couple had decided to unfollow me. Off to a good start!

Pretty self-explanatory.

As it turns out, I was not disappointed.  From now on I will judge biblically based movies if they lack rock monsters.

As we see, Noah goes off the rails pretty early.  I can see this going two ways.  You either reject this movie right now because you want a "literal" depiction of the Bible story and this is too much of a liberty for you, or you say, "You know what, I've heard the story of the flood dozens of times, but I've never heard a version where Noah interacts with rock monsters.  I'm willing to experience a new version and see where this goes."

Obviously, I chose the latter path.

Noah is named.  His three sons are named.  But their wives are just called their wives.  For being the only women to survive to restart civilization in the post-flood world, that's not a lot of respect.  Even Eve had a recorded name!

Granted, there are several less wives in this version than in the Bible.

I felt this movie began to give off a Lord of the Rings fantasy quest type of vibe.  I think the key to enjoying Noah is to accept the kind of movie it is, rather than the movie you wanted it to be.

Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah and his love of berries and hallucinogenic tea is quite enjoyable.  Trust me.

Rock monsters aside (even though they are awesome), this movie has a lot of themes that I would think many Christians would like.  Noah repeatedly states his faith that the Creator will provide all that they need to survive the flood.

Like rock monsters to build the ark.

Serious question.  Russell Crowe's beard is pretty awesome in this.

Again, pretty good themes that you wouldn't really expect from a big budget Hollywood movie.

As you can see, I was having a rather good time.

He is Jor-El, after all!

Not to toot my own horn, but I think this is a brilliant idea and I would watch such a movie.

This is a very religious world.  The Creator is accepted by pretty much everyone as an established fact.  While Noah thinks this means humans should care for Creation, the rest of the world feel the Creator placed them at the peak of Creation, giving them the right to do with it what they please.  This means lots of violence, murder, and other not good things.

This might be another aspect contributing to someone's dislike of the movie.  Noah gets it in his mind that there is evil in all humans, including his family.  The Creator didn't pick Noah to save all the animals and humans from the flood.  Noah was picked to save the animals.  Humanity had exploited Creation and turned it into a terrible place.  Creation would be better off without people.  So, while the animals will be fruitful and multiply, Noah's sons will not.  They will be the last humans and they will quietly die out.  And if they do reproduce, then Noah will kill their babies.

This actually impressed me.  I never thought about the story of the flood in this way before.  But, God did regret making humankind, so he brought about the deluge.  What if Noah hadn't been a righteous man?  Would God have wiped out all people, sparing no one to repopulate the earth?

Also, this raises the issue of are we all inherently evil?  Is there no good in us?  Can their be?  Are we redeemable?  Are we worth saving?

And then I kind of fizzled out there at the end.  But yes, it was a bit of a weird movie, especially if you expected a straight, flat, visual interpretation of the text.  But the more I look at this as a fantasy film, the more I think I like it.

Besides, this isn't the first time we've retold the story of a great flood in differing manners.  It won't be the last.  Nearly all cultures have some version of this story.  Check out Some New Kind of Slaughter by A. David Lewis and mpMann which is this insightful little anthology/amalgamation of several diluvian myths and stories.  Also, my reaction to this movie shouldn't be unexpected.  This isn't the first time I've advocated creative and non-canonical biblical stories that we can use to explore theological themes and ideas.

Besides, this movie has a scene where an evil army attacks the ark and Noah teams up with a group of rock monsters to defend the vessel.

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