The pre-release advertising promoting the movie Noah made a point of stating that while the director took artistic license in the production it was still faithful to the biblical story. Early theater previews were carefully edited to appeal to people of faith, but this is the least biblical “biblical film” of all time! However, to be charitable, the bare outline of the Flood story is present, but after that artistic license has taken the film so far afield of anything resembling the Bible that it is offensive to people of faith.
To say that the biblical story was watered down (pardon the pun) is much too mild. Those who know the Bible were aware of how little the script followed Scripture. Those who didn’t know the Bible still didn’t know it when the final credits appeared. It is to the movie studio’s credit that they chose to even make a film with a biblical theme, but the torturous fiction that was the final cut partly written and directed by an atheist is a discredit to both the studio and the actors and is, in result, worse than having not made it at all.
Remember the old adage of making a bottle of poison look nicer by removing the ugly skull and crossbones label and replacing it with one that read “essence of peppermint?” The bottle now looks pretty, but is even more deadly because of its deceptive label. To a generation that already rejects the Genesis account as pure fiction, mixing a little Bible with a film of impure fiction is even worse – and certainly more dangerous to faith. For those who have not seen the movie and may think my judgments too harsh, please consider the following.
The film presents the sole purpose of Noah and the Ark as the preservation of the innocent animals. The pre-Flood world is portrayed as barren and denuded as the result of human corruption. What could be more evil and deserving of judgment in ecologically-minded Hollywood? Therefore, as Noah interprets God’s purpose, mankind – all of mankind, including Noah and his family – are supposed to die so the new world can continue with only an innocent animal population.
The Ark has nothing to do with the salvation of mankind, but with its punishment. Noah was only chosen to save the animals, and he is so intent on fulfilling his task to see humanity destroyed that he announces to his family on the Ark that they must all die, for “the Creation is only safe when mankind is dead.” For this reason, when Noah learns that Shem’s wife is pregnant, he declares that he will murder her baby, if it is a girl, as soon as it is born!
The ensuing drama aboard the Ark has Mrs. Noah trying to help her expectant kids escape, a crazed Noah stalking his newly born twin granddaughters, and Shem and Ham trying to kill their father (especially after he sets fire to the couple’s escape raft). Add to the drama the evil meat-eating king of the old world, Tubal-Cain, who sneaked on board and remained hidden throughout the voyage, only to finally die in a knife fight with Noah when the Ark lands and breaks in two.
In the end, Noah spares his family because of “love.” Mankind is not so bad after all, for as Mrs. Noah explains, “all the heart needs is love to be good.” God, who has remained silent through the drama on the Ark, despite Noah’s pleas for divine guidance, is shown to have stayed away because, as Noah’s adopted Cainite daughter (the wife of Shem who had been miraculously cured of bareness by a healing touch from Methuselah) states, God wanted to let Noah chose whether mankind should live or not. So, in spite of the ecological hype, it is about humanism in the end. The film closes with newly sober Noah brandishing his snake-skin phylactery (a relic from the serpent in the Garden of Eden) and telling his kids to be “fruitful and multiply” as a rainbow appears (sans the Noahic covenant).
Yet this summary reflects the best part of the film. To get the real flavor of the added fiction one must consider the four-armed giant rock men, who are actually imprisoned fallen angels (“Watchers”) created on the second day to help mankind and aid Noah by building the Ark. For their good works they get redeemed and taken to heaven (and their wings restored) in explosive shafts of light as the rain starts to fall, but only after slaughtering the masses of mankind who were trying to kill Noah and take over the Ark.
At the same time Methuselah eats a berry and is killed in the first wave of water from the Flood (he did die in the same year that the Flood occurred, but not as a result of the Flood). On board the Ark Noah’s family pleads with him to let in the screaming people scratching on the door of the Ark because “there is room,” but Noah as judge and jury says there is no room for such people, and then follows this with the aforementioned announcement to those on the Ark that God wants all of them dead as well.
If you ever wondered where the wood for the Ark came from, the film depicts a whole forest magically growing up around Noah’s family camped at Methuselah’s mountain from a seed from the Garden of Eden that Methuselah had been keeping all this time. And as for the innocent animals, they mostly come by the thousands (same species), mostly snakes, birds, and insects (more dramatic for the special effects guys), following a magic waterway that sprang from the Edenic seed and had spread over the world.
Sadly, some species were made extinct on the Ark since Tubal-Cain kept himself alive by eating the animals on board the Ark. They were easy prey because Noah had drugged them all to sleep with sedative-laced incense. Other fictional elements include a Zohar stone that instantly bursts into flame when struck, no wives for Ham and Japeth so only six people in Noah’s family go on the Ark (though eight get off), big windows staying open during the Flood (compare Genesis 8:6) and the family running around on top of the Ark while it rides out the Deluge, and the inclusion of evolutionary development on the fifth day of Creation (which is implied in the succession of creatures and landscapes as lasting for millions of years).
The producers tried to keep these details secret from the faith-basedpublic in order to not have a backlash from negative reviews that would affect the all important opening weekend box office. I learned about some of these details last year from a French graphic novel (which I was shown in Germany) upon which the film’s script was based. As far as I know this was not translated or released to the English-speaking market, presumably to prevent these fictional elements from getting out to the faith-based American audience. Now, the secret is out and it is hoped that informed audiences will, like Noah in the film, judge this parody of the biblical account, unworthy of cinematic salvation.