Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: The Noah Movie

Spoiler alert: Some of my family and I went to see the movie Noah last night. To be honest, I was hoping I would like it. There is a fundamentalist machine that goes crazy at all sorts of things, and it drives me crazy. Social media just seems to amplify the emotions of anyone who gets emotional--on all sides, conservative and liberal alike. America is this vast mob of irrationality.

I watched some Fox the other night and I said to myself, "Their job is to find something to mock or poke fun at about Obama or anything vaguely liberal." The night I watched, there wasn't much substantial to make fun of, so I thought they were in a kind of dry heave. Mocking but without a lot today to mock. It just came off as silly, I thought.

Well, I'm disappointed to say that I didn't enjoy the Noah movie at all. I know 1 Enoch. I know the Watchers (check out chapters 10 and 14, for example). If they were going to go apocalyptic, they could have done a much better job of it. Rock Watchers, really? (not to be confused with rock lobster) It's a nice touch that the fallen angels get to go back to heaven, although that's not at all what happens to them even in the Pseudepigrapha (it was like a sprinkle of Prometheus with a Gnostic twist). I kept thinking, come on, if we're going to go apocalyptic with this story, I could do a lot better.

Basically, I thought it wasn't done well even from the opening scene. I felt like I was watching some cave drawing or silent movie with sound. I thought Methuselah came off as something between goofy and creepy, despite Anthony Hopkins, like some character out of a Monty Python skit (Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here). (BTW, no one will be surprised to know that as a nerdy child sitting in church I added up the ages in Genesis 5 and, indeed, Methuselah does end up dying the year of the Flood ;-).

Ham made me uncomfortable although I suppose the point was well taken that the line of Seth was subject to sin just as the line of Cain. Believe it or not, there was just a touch of orthodox theology hidden in there. There were a couple points where I thought it was about to go a little deep but then seemed to end up coming off a little cheezy. I didn't like Tubal-Cain eliminating a species on the ark for a snack, but that probably was, reluctantly, quite a striking scene, a replay of the Garden of Eden.

It's hard to detach myself from the Noah story I know and watch the movie objectively, admittedly. There were some interesting ideas floated in the movie, for example, that animals can be on the ark because they're innocent (but did the movie end up endorsing that point of view?). There was a quasi-evolutionary, day-age interpretation of Genesis 1 that was interesting, even if strangely set out with time lapse photography :-)

I'm trying not to fall into "Three Wise Men Syndrome," though, when I say I just didn't enjoy it. Three Wise Men Syndrome is when someone gets upset because someone messes with the way they have interpreted a famous Bible story. I have no doubt that the Israelites read the Flood story quite differently than my Sunday School Pix cartoons pictured it. I suspect Jude and Peter read the story differently than my Picture Bible, given that they actually engage the Enochic literature I mentioned above. 1 Peter 3:19-20 may very well refer to the Watchers (cf. Gen. 6:1-4).

But I just didn't like it.

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