“I thought the movie really filled in some details for me that the Bible didn’t cover.” That was one of the first comments I received after attending the movie Noah with a group of about 100 public-school students. These were high-school students who had elected to take a course in Bible, and now were watching the movie Noah as a part of their class. Several weeks earlier I had been approached and asked if I would watch the movie with them and then spend an hour or two discussing the scientific truths regarding the Flood. Not being one to turn down an invitation to speak in public schools (they don’t come often for guys like me who like to defend the accuracy of the Bible) I quickly agreed to join them.
For those atheists reading this who are getting your pens ready to file a lawsuit regarding the separation of church and state, you can put those pens back in your desk drawer. The school did not pay me (although a kind teacher did pay my admission into the movie—which I’m thankful for, as the thought of paying money for this movie makes my stomach churn) as I volunteered my time and travel expenses.
The very first line of the movie sets the tone—and is a stark reminder that an atheist (Darren Aronofsky) directed this film. “In the beginning there was nothing.” Aside from the water and the ark, there was little resemblance to the Biblical account of the flood. For those who had held out hope that this movie would be like “The Passion of the Christ” and put the Bible back in the public limelight or at least give Christians a good entertainment alternative—your hope was in vain. This movie does a lot more damage than it does good.
The movie begins with a bit of background about fallen angels who have become “watchers.” These watchers look very much like rock-transformers. The action begins with the killing of Lamech by the lineage of Cain, as Lamech is trying to give his young son Noah a blessing. The script then fast-forwards to a much older Noah (played by Russell Crowe) scolding his young son Ham for picking a flower. Ham was rebuked because man is to “only take what we can use.” (There is a strong environmental element throughout the film.)
Again massive armies of Cain’s descendants show up on the scene and try to kill Noah’s family forcing Noah to kill several men and begin a long journey to find his grandfather Methuselah, who he believes can help him interpret his dream about water. Cain’s descendants are meat eaters—and in one scene it is hinted at that they are taking newly delivered babies from woman by force in order to satisfy their desire for meat.
Throughout the movie the word “God” is not used. Instead He is called the creator. The director worked overtime to make sure God appeared silent and unresponsive. In fact, at one point in the movie the comment is made: “Nobody has heard from the creator since He put a mark on Cain.” As Noah prepares to build the ark he tells his wife that man is being “punished for what we’ve done to this world.” (Again, with the environmental agenda.) No real mention of sin and the wrath of God on sin.
So what were some of the deviations I noticed sitting in the theater with those high school students? Honestly, it would be easier to write down how many things they got right. The director obviously felt no need to consult the Biblical text, but rather he relied on eye-candy and the magic of Hollywood to see his movie. Below are a few observations:
•Rather than receiving instructions from God, Noah received his premonition to build a boat through a dream and through drinking of medicinal tea with his grandfather Methuselah.
•In order to have enough wood to build the ark Noah is given a seed from Methuselah that supposedly came from the Garden of Eden. A miraculous new garden appears that will provide the wood.
•Noah asks the “Walkers” to help build the ark.
•Shem falls in love with Illa (played by Emma Watson) who Noah and his wife had rescued from Cain’s descendants.
•Noah and his wife make a sleeping potion for all the animals coming onboard the ark, so that they instantly fall asleep.
•Noah closes the door of the ark.
•Tubal Cain sneaks aboard the ark.
•Shem’s wife delivers twins while on the ark.
•Japheth releases the birds from the ark.
•Noah recounts the history of man onboard the ark and it begins with a Big Bang explosion and creation of the universe, followed by an evolutionary progression of amoeba to ape.
The biggest discrepancy in the movie is that Noah believes the Creator wants a world without man. He believes that is a part of his mission. So when the door is closed to the ark the only individuals Noah allows onboard are his wife, his three boys, and Illa—who is Shem’s love interest. (They are never married in the movie so I hesitate calling her his wife.) [Note: “Evil” Tubal Cain is also onboard, but snuck onboard without Noah’s knowledge.]
Notice, Ham and Japheth do not have wives on the boat. This becomes a major premise throughout the movie that sets up most of the drama. They have no one to reproduce with! Illa is supposedly barren, and thus the human race is going to die out. In one scene Noah describes the order of their deaths and instructs his sons on who will bury whom. Ham is irate at his father throughout the movie for not getting him a wife on the boat.
In one of the most telling scenes, Noah’s wife is yelling at him about getting wives for the boys. She says she wants them “to be happy and not be alone”. Noah tries to explain he is only doing what he believes the Creator wants. The director does an effective job making Noah the bad guy—all because he won’t go against God. I couldn’t help but think about how many Christian parents act in a similar fashion. They just want their children happy and married—no matter what the spiritual cost.
Unbeknownst to Noah, right before the family got onto the boat Illa received a blessing from Methuselah, which opened her womb, and she quickly becomes pregnant with Shem’s child. However, Noah is determined that the Creator wants mankind to die out—so he tells his family if it is a male he will allow it to live and die out like the rest of them. But if it is a girl he will kill it at birth. The saddest part was the students were drinking it up like Kool-Aid.
At the climax of the movie Tubal Cain confronts Noah in the bottom of the ark and tries to kill him. (Ham ends up forgiving his father and killing Tubal Cain to save his father.) At the same time Illa is experiencing child-birth on an upper deck and delivers twin girls. So Shem and Illa quickly construct a raft/boat that they intend to launch out on by themselves. However, Noah burns their boat down and proceeds to then find the baby girls and grabs a knife to kill them. [Spoiler alert: He ends up kissing them instead of killing them.]
Ironically, having obeyed God throughout this entire ordeal we get to the end of the movie and Noah says: “I just cannot do this.” So apparently there are limits as to how much Noah is willing to follow the commands of God.
The ending of the movie is about what one would expect by this point. Noah gets off the boat and immediately we see him in a vineyard and then very drunk. In one of the last scenes he is passed out and naked on the beach as his two boys cover him up.
The visual effects of the movie were impressive, especially to the high school students. Several of them made comments about how “Cool” they thought the movie was and how they loved the visual effects.
I strongly do not recommend anyone watching this movie. Simply put, it was sacrilegious. It earned most of its PG-13 rating through violence. It is not the type of movie youth groups need to go watch. It is not the kind of movie Jr. High or middle school students need to watch. It is not the kind of movie Christians need to be wasting the Lord’s money to support.
I was scheduled to only talk to the high school students for about one hour following the movie. My PowerPoint slides were not nearly as impressive—but I had something that held their attention even better than a Hollywood movie. I had the Truth. The kids begged me to stay for an additional hour as they pummeled me with question after question. They were hungry for real answers.
I was thankful for the opportunity to undo some of the damage done by the visual scenes from Noah. But I’m left wondering how many young people will watch the movie and leave feeling like they have successfully “filled in missing details…”