Having been in one of those Billy Graham evangelistic movies nearly 50 years ago, I consider myself qualified to provide a legitimate review of a Christian movie. In addition, it seems like everyone else is writing a review so why not get in on the fun.
The movie is “Noah.” Sharon and I watched it this weekend. Since there was so much buzz about the film I anticipated big crowds. We went to the Saturday matinee and purchased tickets online to avoid waiting in a long line. It appeared to be a good choice when we drove into the parking lot and all the handicapped spaces were taken. That only happens at Christmas or if it’s raining. However, it was not crowded. In fact, when we entered the theater there were probably fewer people than the number of folks actually on Noah’s ark.
Before I talk about the film I do need to make one thing clear. This is not a Christian movie. I don’t think the movie producers intended to make a biblical epic. If that was their goal then they failed. I did not anticipate seeing a biblically accurate movie. I had seen enough previews and read enough reviews to be aware that this was a Hollywood story and that is what I expected.
The most spiritual part of the experience was the commercial that played in the pre-movie videos about my friend Doug’s church in our neighborhood. I am glad to see churches advertising in theaters now. In the past they only did commercials on Christian radio stations. What’s the point of that?
Anyway, if you plan to see the movie “Noah” to confirm your faith or to be a spiritual blessing, don’t bother. That is not the purpose. You would be better served to see “The Book of Eli” with Denzel Washington. It also means you shouldn’t get all hot and bothered if it doesn’t conform to your biblical theory.
The movie opened with a cheesy slideshow recounting the account of creation. With the technological ability seen later in the movie this could have been much better. It was not even the quality of the “National Geographic” channel on television.
During the trailers shown prior to the main feature, we were introduced to the upcoming attractions of “Hercules” and a new “Transformers” movie. Obviously, these movies were chosen on purpose because the “Noah” movie is like a marriage of “Hercules” and “Transformers.” Perhaps the subtitle should read – “ancient warrior joins forces with futuristic robots to save the world.”
Starring in the role of “Yoda” was Anthony Hopkins. The character of Jim Jones (of Jonestown fame) was played by Russell Crowe. Nick Nolte had the role of a fallen angel, which might be evidence of type casting, I don’t know for sure.
There were numerous features of the movie that seemed out of place. Remember, the setting was somewhere in the ancient world of the near east. The movie villain, “Tubal-Cain,” utilized some type of firearm to shoot Nick Nolte. There were also some highly developed uses of metal and apparent concrete at various times during the film. There was also some type of spring-loaded animal trap that probably did not originate for thousands of years.
Near the end of the movie, Noah’s son was shown constructing a house out of lumber, essentially a log cabin. It was more reminiscent of early day American structures and Abe Lincoln than anything from the near east. And what was with the fire balls that acted like supercharged matches?
There is at least one redeeming feature of the movie and I’m not sure the movie creators did it on purpose. In the film, Noah tries very hard to please God (or, as He is referred to in the movie, “The Creator”). Several weird dream sequences reveal how Noah knew The Creator’s wishes.
By the time the flood came to destroy the earth, Noah had obeyed completely and everything was ready. Sure enough, all mankind was destroyed, except for Noah’s family and one stowaway on the boat, who Noah’s son would kill eventually. Yet, Noah’s complete obedience led to a problem.
Like many of us when we have obeyed God, we are tempted to believe that we are qualified to act on behalf of God. It seems that obedience easily leads to arrogance. Noah knew that God asked him to construct an ark to save the animals while God destroyed mankind. But then Noah, in the movie, was faced with what to do with his unexpected twin granddaughters (did I mention the word “weird”).
His conclusion was that he needed to do the work of God and kill the babies. Noah had never been asked to kill anyone. However, based on his understanding of what God wanted, he took it upon himself to do God’s work for Him.
If we are honest, we must admit a tendency to do the same thing ourselves. For example, we are convinced that God is going to punish sinners so we take it upon ourselves to punish them. We’re not content to allow God to do His own work.
Noah was instructed to build an ark to save the animals and his family. However, it was not enough to do just that. Instead he took on the work of God and set out on the task of eliminating his own family, not something that God told him to do.
This is a great lesson. Our responsibility is to do what God instructs, but make sure we don’t creep over into the territory He has reserved for Himself.
“Noah” is a movie you might enjoy, but not if you expect a spiritual experience. Personally, I was not expecting to have my theology confirmed so that did not bother me. I just didn’t like the movie. I’m not a big fan of robots and apocalyptic movies anyway so it is not surprising.
The highlight for me was the pizza with slices of potato at the Pizza Inn buffet afterwards. I do love potatoes.