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Noah was directed by the enigmatic Darren Aronofsky who had directed other films such as Pi, The Tree of Life, and Requiem for a Dream.  Oh and that controversial one, The Black Swan.  He is no stranger to edgy.  After seeing the first two movies, I was dwelling on the ideas and themes for days afterwards.  Even now, at the mention of them, I still have questions and insights.

So when I heard he was doing Noah, I was excited.  What was he going to do?  How would he portray a character that had been so misconstrued by culture already?

Misconstrued?

Yes.  Misconstrued.  Who here has never had Noah and the animals on the ark as a wallpaper or a nursery picture?  It’s cute right?  Noah on a boat with some giraffes sticking their heads up and a bird or two circling around.  If you were lucky, there would also be some really happy looking waves with fish and such.

That same weekend, another “Christian” movie was playing.  God’s not Dead played next door to the Noah movie.  The choice was there but the decision was easy to make.  Watch a movie where stereotypes and caricatures had it out with a Duck Dynasty member thrown into the mix or see a movie with a Hollywood budget and rock monsters (more on that in a moment)?

Leading up to this post, I have read countless reviews from both multiple viewpoints.

The movie was offensive.

The movie really destroyed the actual story.

Rock Monsters?

It was a good witnessing tool.

The movie pushed people to read the Bible.

Rock Monsters?

I will not critique the different movie points.  Many good reviews do that already.  I even loved the article arguing the movie was a gnostic retelling of the story.

Why was Noah a good movie?

Did you hear the cries of the people as God punished creation?  Did you see the desperation in Noah’s eyes as he heard their screams?  Did you get how Noah saw himself as wicked as well?  Did you see how Noah tried to grapple with what he felt God was telling him?

In Noah I saw more reality than I had in other “Christian” movies.  I felt the art pull me into the story, into Noah’s desperation. I cringed as the whole world was reduced to seven, then nine, then eight people.  I felt the anguish of the mother as Noah held the knife over the heads of the babies.  And then I felt the relief as Noah relinquished and let them live.

There were real problems and they weren’t all nice and solved at the end of the movie.  We were left to deal with the consequences of Noah’s actions.  Do you know why he was drunk at the end?  Because he had failed his version of God.

“His version of God?  God told him to kill the babies.”

Did God really tell Noah to kill the babies?  Think back to Noah’s logic.  Remember when he went into Tubal Cain’s camp to find his sons women?  Remember that bedraggled man he saw that ate the flesh of animals or humans or whatever?  He was seeing himself as God saw man.  Evil.  Wicked.  Rebellious.

This was either Aronofsky’s big flaw or his brilliance at play.  As he is reportedly an atheist, I would say flaw but I could be wrong.

What does scripture say about how God saw Noah?  God saw Noah as righteous (Genesis 6:9).  Here is an excellent article on why this is.  If Aronofsky knew this to be true, then this is brilliance.  Noah is really a commentary on some Christian’s today.  We forget that God sees Jesus instead of our sin when He looks at us.  In the movie, Noah had some bad theology.  When he arrives back to the ark and locks everyone in, he reveals his plan.  As sin wasn’t the result of people’s actions but something inherent in them from the beginning, Noah figures God wanted them to die out and extinguish the human race.

Did God say this?  I found myself asking “If God wanted to kill off all of humanity, why save Noah and his family then?  Wouldn’t the fate of being the last man on earth be worse than a death by the catastrophic flood?

Noah is misreading God.  This is Aronofsky’s second brilliant point, one which I think he probably meant to flesh out.  Christians, me included, have the tendency to take the Word of God and twist it to fit their message, their ideologies, and their “convictions”.  Now, this doesn’t excuse Aronofsky for making God a mute deity who speaks through visions and signs but isn’t that how many in the American Church see God today?  But I digress.

I see the proof of Noah misreading God fleshed out in the end when Noah gets back with his family and passes on the birthright to his oldest son, essentially telling him to carry on filling the earth.  It is then that we see rainbows filling the sky.  Noah goes from ending all of life and doing as God had intended- encouraging life to flourish.  This is when we see full closure, a real ending to the narrative.

 

Yes, there is a lot in the movie that really trounces the Biblical text.  But it did get me to think about the nature and character of God way more than any other “Christian” movie ever has.

 

Appendix A

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(ROCK MONSTERS!!!!)

Ok.  Let’s talk Rock Monsters.

Due to the alliterate state of the American Church, I doubt most Christians have heard or dealt with the Books of Enoch.

“No, I totally have.  He’s that guy that walked with God and then he was not because God took him.”

The books of Enoch introduced us to some of the more interesting Angel lore.  This is the book Jude might have been talking about when he wrote about Michael and Satan arguing over Moses’ body.  The Watchers also show up in the book of Daniel.

So, in angel lore, the Watchers, or Grigori, are “Servants of the most high” who form the inner council of God and relay His messages to Earth.  Some also think that they are involved with human governments, helping man pass decrees and laws and such.  Also, as the root for their name indicates, it is thought that these beings never sleep and thus are always “watchful.”

There is also within angle lore the idea that these angelic hosts were the ones who fell from the heavens and, after lusting after women, produced nephilim.  Interestingly enough, the books of Enoch implied it was this transgression that brought about the flood.

If nothing else, scholars believe this gave the exiled Israelites hope.  They had been taken from their promised land and the temple was in ruins.  The presence of God was no longer with them.  Despite this, there was a hope for exiled Israel as “it is possible these angels may be mere reflectors of Yahweh Himself.  He is the keeper of Israel who never slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4), and the One whose eyes range throughout the whole earth (Zec 1:10; 3:9; 4:10).”

I would figure, therefore, that Aronofsky combined the two major characterizations, the fall of the Watchers and their tendency to help mankind, and formed a whole new “monster.”  So calm down, these are not really inconceivable and are more biblical than you probably knew (with some poetic licensing added).


For the details regarding the Watchers, I referred to the Wikipedia page and my International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol 4 Q-Z.  The pictures are not mine.

 

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So much to write.  I have been meaning to get here sooner but have not yet had the chance until now.

     One, Thank you to all the veterans who have fought to keep our country safe and free, no matter the cost – overseas and at home.

     I recently took a small jaunt to Pittsburgh to visit my friend who goes to Pittsburgh U (and by small, I mean 6 hours from Jersey to the city).  It was quite an experience.  One, where I hail from, there are bars on every corner and not much else.  In the city, as it is around several college campuses, the class is a bit higher.  An example:  I saw a girl in a red dress at a burger joint just for the heck of it.  Very different from here where the common attire for girls is sweat pants with some word across the butt, fake died blond hair the same color as everyone else, and some too small shirt.  Then there was a comic book store AND a gaming store, both not located in the same building.  Who does that?  So, I had a good time there.

     On my way back, I took a detour to Lancaster to visit some friends I had met at Lancaster Bible College during my freshman year (and only year) there.  It was nice to catch up, even though I only had an hour or two to spend there.  I always loved the country side, the smell of manure in the fields almost pleasant.  Very distinct.

     So, review time.  This is not one of the millions of review blogs out there.  so many others are doing it and can do it much better than I.  Just a small contribution from a different point of view perhaps.  I will do my best to alert you of spoilers.

     I saw Robin Hood and thought it was well done.  It is not the well-known (or oft-told) story of how Robin Hood and his band of merry men outsmart the sheriff and Prince.  It is the story of how he became Robin Hood.  There is a sex scene that could have been either played down or left out entirely.  Many could argue that it was for historical accuracy.  This can be done in other ways.  The character of Robin was nicely portrayed from some of the earlier stories where he is less than noble in actions.  All in all it was a good movie.

     Last night, I saw the new movie Prince of Persia.  I have been a fan of the Sands of time instalment for the PS2 for a long time and this was everything I wanted in the movie and more.  In fact, at the end, I was about to say “Good Game” then realized I was in a movie theater.  Then my friend next to me nodded and said “Good Game” and I laughed.  The action sequences were a big part of the movie, coming from Jerry Bruckhiemer I wasn’t surprised.  But as a fan of the game, I didn’t mind too much.  I’m not afraid to say I’m impressed with explosions and action at times.

     As a side note, I rented the new game Prince of Persia: the forgotten sands from blockbuster.  I expected it to be lame and awful, due to the fact that it was released around the same time as the movie and because the other titles since the “Sands of time” have not been satisfactory.  An hour into the game, I found myself getting board.  the story line was mediocre and the action was repetitive.  Then, around three or four hours into the game, I received my second power, to freeze water, the first being to rewind time.  After this it got a little more interesting but peaked shortly after again.  Then another power was introduced and it became a little more interesting.  I had been close to putting the game down and returning it but I plowed through.  I am glad I did.  The game went uphill for me from there.  The puzzles detracted from it but the free running mixed with the powers became epic.  and the last fight scene was amazingly crafted.  I have to say, it went from a two star rating to a five-star as I kept playing the game.  unusual as games usually start good and end poorly.  Disclaimer, not the best in the series but it was way better than the previous one.

     Now, for LOST.  Spoiler.  if you don’t want to know the ending, don’t read on.

     The ending sequence for the Island was amazing.  It was everything more than I wanted.  I knew going in it was not going to answer everything.  but what it did do was pretty nice.  The alternate universe ending though was everything they said they wouldn’t do.  cheap.  It made everything from the past season a filler.  I do have to say that I found it hilarious how Christian Shepherd became, and here I am quoting from a msnbc.com writer, Exposition Man after everything in the whole show would never give ANY exposition or as clear explanation.   I do have to say how I never got the name Christian Shepherd until Kate laughed at it.  Funny.  So, as I’m sure many others felt, I hated it and loved it.  There ya go.

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