Noah (2014 Movie)
Obviously this is not yet released on DVD (April 2014) so this is mainly an overview from watching Noah on the big screen.
For a positive perspective and some very interesting thoughts, check out the review from Christianity Today...
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/noah.html (accessed 10.04.14, 11.50pm)
This movie page will look at a mini review, a timeline of the Bible which we've put together, a look at where the movie is Biblical and a look at where the movie falls down Biblically. Finally, we've put some questions which are there to help you think about Noah, about God and the Bible. Maybe go through Noah the week before, then take a group to watch it and then go back through the Bible narrative of Noah using some of the questions (bottom of the page).
The Mini Movie Review
If you want to watch a vaguely epic movie (although not on the level of Lord of the Rings) then you may enjoy Noah. There are plenty of 'big scenes' so watching on a big screen with great sound will help!
Is it Biblical? Don't watch with any great expectation of Biblical accuracy in every area. It just isn't that, as stated by the (atheist) director as being, "the least Biblical film ever made". Influences have come from Jewish mysticism, gnostics and the non-Canonised (not accepted as word of God) Book of Enoch.
Is it a good piece of movie making? The movie holds together fairly well. I would describe it as slightly overly long and found myself getting restless. It could have been edited under its stated 2hr18min length. It does have a forward motion and a clear plot although of course not dynamic in the way of an action movie.
It is thought-provoking perhaps mainly at the end where Shem's wife speaks to Noah who has gone a bit off the rails. Her kind words bring him back to sanity. Sadly there is a hint of 'man in control of his own destiny' rather than God but it was by far the most powerful emotional scene.
The graphics are excellent and there's no hint of the 'green screen' you get in one of the scenes in Lord of the Rings (closeup of where Treebeard is carrying Merry and Pippin). The scene of creation is especially outstanding and for me the standout moment of the movie.
The acting is mainly very good, although I have to say that there were many moments where I felt the acting didn't draw me in, with the best acting from Jennifer Connelly as Naameh, Noah's wife.
Suitability for young'uns... There are some scenes not suitable for young children (movie is rated 12A). This includes scenes of grabbing women, near cannibalism and dead bodies.
If you go expecting a Biblical epic then this movie is definitely not for you. If you have strong feelings about this then don't go. However, if you want to watch a 'Lord of the Rings' type movie then it may be your thing.
What this movie does do is confront you with questions about Noah, about the nature of God and about our own Bible knowledge!!
The (Mainly) Biblical Accuracies
There are thirteen good Biblical accuracies worth mentioning:
1. 'The creator' making creation. This is animated and has a vaguely evolutionary twist to it although we see it happen very rapidly. Genesis 1-2.
2. There is an ark which is built by Noah and his family. Genesis 6.14-22 etc.
3. There is a world flood and this does consume all of humanity and the ark floats only on water with nothing above the surface of the water other than the ark. Genesis 7.19-20.
4. We see the total depravity of mankind with murder and cannibalism hinted at. Genesis 6.5-6 and 6.11-12.
5. We see mankind being destroyed. Noah is a tortured soul as he hears the screams and cries of people drowning. The reality is that with a thick ark, thousands of noisy species of animals and a far less densely populated area outside than shown in the movie, Noah wouldn't have heard such endless heart-wrenching screams - but it does make you think. Genesis 7.21-22.
7. Noah and his whole family do enter the ark (minus the two missing wives which the Bible tells us that Japheth and Ham had but don't appear in the movie). Genesis 7.6.
8. There were all kinds of species and types of animals etc. Genesis 7.14.
9. The ark landing on the Ararat range. In the movie, the ark crashes into a mountain that is more of a coastal hill but the principle is there! (Mt Ararat in modern day Turkey isn't right next to the sea although this the peak is not necessarily precisely where the ark landed). Genesis 8.4.
10. Noah and family do indeed send out birds (first a raven then a dove) to find if there is dry land and the dove does return with a leaf in its beak. It doesn't fully reflect the Biblical account through. Genesis 8.6-11.
11. Noah does not eat animals and cautions his sons about doing so. Before the flood, mankind was 'vegetarian'. It is only after the flood that God gives all the animals for mankind to eat. Genesis 9.3.
12. There is a rainbow at the end of the movie and this is the ending shot with a close-up into the rainbow. Genesis 9.12-16.
13. Everyone on the earth believes in 'the creator', even those who are evil.
The (Main) Biblical Inaccuracies
Seven are listed here - http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/20140-seven-of-the-worst-mistakes-in-the-movie-noah (accessed 10.04.14 at 11.45pm). We found eleven main Biblical inaccuracies:
1. Noah wasn't distant from God and God is not a distant God who doesn't speak. In the movie, Noah really doesn't hear from God very directly, yet God clearly spoke to Noah in the Bible. (Genesis 7.1-4)
2. In the movie, Noah 'hears' from God by going to visit his grandfather Methuselah and by drinking some black tea that sends him into a trance. Even in the trance, God's voice isn't exactly clear. While Methuselah would have been alive for part of Noah's life, God spoke to Noah directly and clearly and not through hallucinogenic tea! (Genesis 6.13-15, God spoke directly).
3. In the movie, only Shem has a wife. But in the Bible we're clearly told (Genesis 6.18) that each of Noah's sons and their individual wives would be in the ark.
4. Additionally, the movie seems to suggest that Shem was the oldest. However, further reading of the Bible shows that it was in fact Japheth was the oldest (Genesis 10.21).
5. There was no-one else on the ark but the eight people listed in the Bible. Noah and his wife; Japheth and his wife; Shem and his wife; Ham and his wife. In the movie, Ray Winstone sneaks on board. He also kills animals on the ark and conspires with Ham to kill Noah - again not in the Bible.
6. The 'Watchers' (sort of 'Treebeard-like' rock creatures, cursed by God for trying to help mankind). Aside from this abuse of the nature of God, the Bible lists only Noah and his family as the builders of the ark. It was Jewish mysticism that invented rock creatures.
7. In the movie, Noah becomes increasingly disturbed and vows to kill Shem's wife (Ila's) children if they are girls. This is ridiculous and Noah knew full-well that because God considered him righteous (Genesis 7.1), it would be his family who would replenish the earth (Genesis 6.18 and 7.1, then Genesis 9.1 where God re-affirms this).
8. Noah (and his father before him) seem to have kept the skin of the snake (presumably Satan's skin?) from the Garden of Eden (Methuselah also has in his possession a seed from the Garden). Obviously there is no such mention of this which again comes from the writings of Jewish gnostics apparently.
9. The clever CGI rendering of the snake in the garden shows a creature crawling on its belly. It's important to remember that before Genesis 3.14 and God's curse, this snake would have had some kind of legs as God's curse was that the snake would now crawl on its belly.
10. There is also a door through which Noah is able to view the world. But the Bible makes it clear that the only 'window' on the ark was at the top (Genesis 6.16) and that it wasn't Noah or 'watchers' who closed the door of the ark (Genesis 7.16). The only other door was the main door on the side and there wasn't a spare 'life boat' as in the movie!
11. We don't know where the materials all came from for the ark but they certainly didn't grow up from a magic seed Methuselah had somehow acquired from the Garden of Eden!
What I would recommend above anything is reading Genesis 1-3 and then Genesis 6-9.
How much do you know the story and what can we learn from it?
Here are some questions:
1. What happened at creation?
2. What is God really like?
3. Who were the Nephilim?
4. Did Noah's sons wives have names?
5. How long was the ark on the water?
6. When the Bible says everyone was wicked, what did that mean?
7. What lessons do we learn from 'the ark' when we think about Jesus?
8. Here's a good question to end - at times Noah doesn't seem to hear from God. Are there times when you don't hear from God (when God seems silent)? Did people in the Bible find this too? How did they respond and how can this help us?
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you revelation (speak to you).