Saving Noah

Poor Noah.

 Nobody seems to be able to get his story right

For decades he’s been imprisoned by Churches in preschool rooms, caricatured and confined to children’s ministry murals. I’m sure this great man of faith would be shocked to learn that his life’s work had been reduced to a cartoon theme about smiling animals.

We’re talking about a man who announced a message of repentance, judgment and salvation for the entire earth. God’s champion of earth’s “last days”.

And now, finally, a big movie about Noah has been released. The biggest yet, as in 130 million dollars big.


Confession time: I am a HUGE Russell Crowe fan, and I love Anthony Hopkin’s acting. I’m also a movie guy. I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time.

The story of Noah is one of the most epic tales in all of human history, demanding that any movie made about him also be equally epic.

So would somebody please explain to me how then can you make a movie this flat, given the amazing source material available?

It seems you would have to intentionally try hard to mess this one up.

In a related story, I am also not a huge art connoisseur, though I have enjoyed repeated trips to London’s National Gallery. Recently I returned from the Louvre in Paris. There, I gazed at ancient artistic portrayals and interpretations of scenes like the crucifixion of Jesus. And though there was a certain level of creativity and artistic license taken, I could still appreciate the effort of the painter to portray the spirit of the event he was painting. After all, art does stimulate the imagination.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if Daren Aronofsky (NOAH’s director) even tried to be artistic. And that makes me sad. Instead, he just made stuff up, as in unbelievable stuff that gutted this movie of its inherent credibility. While watching, I really tried to connect with the Noah character and the story line, but instead found myself rooting for everyone else! Noah wasn’t the faith hero the Bible portrays him to be in Hebrews 11. Nothing like you have imagined him. This Noah is pictured as a troubled soul who never really figures out the real reason for the Ark (other than saving innocent animals, obviously not affected by the fall of man and entrance of sin into the world). Again, the credibility factor was virtually nil. Because of this, I don’t expect any person, Christian or otherwise, to walk away mislead about the biblical story. It’s so unbiblical as to make it unbelievable, even in it’s errors.  

Now I definitely think non-Christians can make biblically based movies and do a great job.  That’s not an issue with me. Nor does it bother me that they have to fill in the blanks where the Bible is silent. Literally every “Bible Movie” does this, but the average viewer doesn’t mind or notice because of the allegiance and similarity to the main story. That’s necessary in adapting a book or story into movie. I get it. I have a high tolerance for adaptations of book-to-film projects, even biblical movies.

But giant rock demons? (Imagine the Ents from LOTR meet the Fantastic Four’s the Thing) Middle Earth, yes. But no matter how you slice it, fallen angels becoming big brothers to Noah to help him build the Ark? I don’t think so.

This movie’s portrayal of man’s sin seemed to be directed at what humanity had done to the planet, not so much to one another. While on the Ark, Aronofsky’s Noah turns into a psycho wannabe killer of babies. He’s a man unsure of who he is and confused as to God’s basic mission for him. Where they conjured up this portrayal I’ll never know. It’s almost as bad as what Churches have done to him over in the kid’s ministry. The writer and scholars Aronofsky consulted may have been inhaling that magic herb potion Noah used to put the animals to sleep for a year.

 I’m not a movie critic, just an average moviegoer with an opinion, but I don’t see this as one of Russell Crowe’s better roles (insert unsmiley face here). It may be that Aronofsky truly is a brilliant director but that action/history epics are not his forte. I’ll let others ultimately make that judgment.

I’m not upset, angry or going into “boycott mode”.

I’m just really, really disappointed. I wanted to cheer NOAH on. To be an advocate. I wanted it to be EPIC. To be a home run. Instead, it struck out.

There are literally too many places to mention where the movie missed the mark – biblically, historically, chronologically and theologically. It wasn’t even a good movie.


So what can we redeem from this movie? Here are a few things I appreciated about it:

It did get Noah’s name right.

The movie trailer is really awesome.

People were bad on the earth as the Bible states.

Noah thought himself a sinner (so much so that it clouded all perception of mercy).

There was a global flood.

Noah built an Ark.

People were destroyed.

A dove brought an olive branch.

There was a rainbow at the end.

Cinematically-speaking, I thought the actual flood part was pretty spot on, with tsunami-like violence (as it must have been with subterranean explosions of water everywhere). I thought the crudeness of the Ark’s construction was visually stimulating as well.

So what are we to make of all this? Does this give us more ammo to demonize Hollywood? More reasons to be skeptical, negative and critical of those who attempt to bring faith-based stories to the big screen. I hope not. Even in the midst of overall failure, I still believe in a God who allows no accidents.

While being interviewed on a radio show this week, this thought popped into my head and I remarked, “Noah’s story is one Jesus related to the last days of planet earth. Curiously, at no time in human history since Noah’s day has it been possible for his message of coming global judgment to be broadcast to the whole world . . . until now.”

Though not epic, the timing of this movie may not be a coincidence after all. Despite being a pretty lame movie, I still don’t believe its lack of biblical accuracy is a threat to our faith. Instead, it’s more of a gift, really.

 Should believers go see this movie? Probably, if for no other reason than to draw your own conclusions.

Some Christian reviewers and bloggers have said that it’s pointless to even use NOAH as a conversation piece to start discussions about God, the Bible or the real story of Noah. I disagree. I believe that a part of engaging our culture (as Jesus and Paul did) is discerning the times with an understanding of what to do (I Chron. 12:32). It’s always easier to be negative. Anyone can do that.

On a positive note, the movie NOAH does portray the Creator as a God who judges an evil world, while rescuing his chosen ones from the wrath to come. And that’s real truth we can take and run with.

So back to our original dilemma. Who will free Noah from nursery walls and sub-par movie portrayals? Who will tell the world the truth?

Will the rocks cry out? Or will it be you?


For more about the real Noah and how his generation relates to ours, pick up a copy of As It Was in the Days of Noah – Warnings from Prophecy about the Coming Global Storm.

Or better yet, blow the dust off your Bible and read it for yourself.

That story really is EPIC.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.