A Reviewer’s Second Thoughts
on Noah

If you’ve read my review of Noah, you are aware that I broke a rule. I told people to go see this film. I never do that. I prefer to merely give my readers the synopsis and my opinion along with the reasons for the rating. Hopefully, this info will aid moviegoers in making informed decisions as to the suitability of each new release. Perhaps I was attempting to be provocative by breaking my rule. I’m not sure why I did it. Am sure of one thing, though: I won’t do it again!

Due to the fact that there are so few films coming from Hollywood with a biblical premise, it makes sense to support one that does. If we support a biblical film, won’t that open doors to more biblical films? Makes sense, right? Alas, there are problems with that theory.

First, though there are Christians in Hollywood and many good and well-intentioned people who work there, it’s an industry dominated by those concerned more with the weekend box office take than with the uplifting of men’s souls. With exception, the film industry is not one intent on building up our spiritual muscles. Seeking biblical instruction from Tinseltown dwellers is seldom satisfactory.

Second, it’s rather difficult to please the entirety of the Christian community at any one time over any one subject. We self-righteously debate whether to attend church on Saturday or Sunday, to speak in tongues or not to, to serve communion each week or once a year, to drink wine or not to, and so forth. So, you can imagine the danger in telling people they should go to a Hollywood movie.

Understand this isn’t an apology for telling people they should see Noah. After all, it did do what I said it would do:

On the way to the car, people discuss it. That’s when you know you’ve experienced true art. It’s not just a time-filler before going to some other time-filler. It’s a film that demands debate.

But the failings of this film do raise this question: Should we Christians support a Hollywood Bible epic? Or any film, for that matter?

My grandfather believed we shouldn’t go to movies. In the cinema’s beginning years, a great many churchgoers thought it was sinful to attend the movies. Well, today, more than at any other time in motion picture history, that argument can be defended. Ever since the Garden of Eden, the soul of man has been under attack, but at no other time has God’s written direction been so disavowed by such powerful mediums as television and the motion picture. Indeed, Satan governs much of the airways – and most of what appears on little pieces of celluloid.

Noah isn’t anti-God and it isn’t anti-scripture (in my opinion). Choices were made to flesh out the story, and though the writer/director may have recreated Noah as an allegorical figure more from a humanistic perspective than a biblical one, I can’t see any intent to show irreverence to the Old Testament story.

Darren Aronofsky dramatizes and humanizes the main protagonist, suggesting reasons for moments that have baffled theologians for years. Example: why did Noah get drunk after surviving the watery maelstrom? The film offers a feasible and meaningful proposition.

The worst that can be said of this motion picture is that it’s downright silly in places. Oh, that’s right, I also said that.

The rock people must be discussed because for this reviewer they were the one ingredient that made the $130-million production seem a little like a Sci-Fi Channel refugee… the sudden visual of giant moving/speaking rock formations may cause many to associate Genesis with a Marvel graphic novel.

Hollywood is at its best when movies suggest the need for spiritual awareness (The Life of Pi, The Tree of Life, Places in the Heart, Babette’s Feast), rather than attempting to sermonize. Whatever Noah’s failings as a movie guidepost, we ultimately experience God not just as a just God, but as a Creator whose mercy and love overrides His omniscient right to justice. But those waiting for a verse of Just As I Am over the closing credits will be disappointed.

So, should we go to movies? While some preach abstinence, I maintain moderation is the way to go when it comes to movie-going. After all, in Ecclesiastes 3 we are told that there is a time to laugh and a time to dance. Doesn’t that means entertainment is an elemental part of life? We need to be discerning, for sure, but occasionally secular filmmakers stumble upon insights that can give us Christians a fresh perspective concerning biblical teachings, those that deepen our understanding of God’s Word. Movies are modern man’s medium for relating parables to the masses.

Bottom line when dealing with the direction the media would lead, know His Word. Maybe that’s what we can take away from this film – an awareness that we need to study the Scriptures to further our spiritual walk, and to learn more about God’s character. After all, we can learn truisms from parables built around Superman, or the exploits of Frodo Baggins and other Hollywood allegorical figures, but it’s the Bible where you always find the truth.

So, go to Noah or don’t. But read the Book!