We went to see Noah last night. It was surprising that it turned up in our local movie theater so soon after it’s release, but there it was. After hearing the CBC review yesterday morning, it seemed like a good idea.
There were a number of folks at the show who I knew; church folks. On the way out, one of them stopped me and said, “Well that sure was a disappointment”. He looked like he’d been held up at gun point and lost his watch and wallet.
I’m not sure what he expected, or what I expected, for that matter. Noah is not a retelling of the Sunday School story, although all of the well known elements of the story are there. The Creator speaks, Noah builds, the animals come as does the water, the dove flies, and something of a rainbow appears. Oh, and wine is invented too. So, you can’t say the creators of the movie aren’t faithful to the few verses of scripture they had to work with. From there, though, they let their imaginations fly and in so doing answer a lot of my childhood questions about the story. How did all those animals fit in the ark? How did that little band of people keep them all fed and watered? How could they have enough feed along? And what about all the manure? How did Noah and his family manage to build such a big project? Where did all the wood come from? Why didn’t everyone else in the world force their way on to the ark as well?
The answers to my questions are surprising and imaginative. As a drama, a story, of a family working against the odds toward a vision it was a wonderful two and a half hours, money well spent.
So, what was my friend’s problem? He may have been looking for the Gospel to come through somehow. There was one, but it was more of an environmental message than a Christian gospel. In fact, I don’t think God was ever named God; it was always “The Creator”. Noah’s understanding of the Creator’s plan for the second chance is actually very Calvinist (and he never smiles), a totally depraved humanity is responsible for all the trouble in the world. Creation comes first.
Anyway, go and see the show. The scenery from Iceland is breath taking, the special effects are amazing, the story has enough action, and art, to satisfy both sides of the couch; there is romance, new life, and cute cuddly creatures. But, don’t go thinking that this is any sort of proof of the literal truth of a man named Noah, or that your Sunday School version of the story will be supported.
This is Hollywood, and Hollywood knows the name Noah would put more bums in more seats than Gilgamesh would.