*I typed the following before I read your responses above. I didn't want what you had written to influence my own initial reactions. That said, I wrote it up in a crappy version of notepad on my old laptop I had with me and the format doesn't seemed to have copied well. I'll apologize in advance for the weird paragraph layout. I can't be bothered to fix it.
Seeing what you wrote now, though, I can tell we picked up on some of the same things. You also pointed out some really insightful concepts portrayed in the film that I hadn't noticed.
Where shall I begin with this movie?
I think I'll start by saying that this is not a lift-you-up, action packed,
good-guys-win sort of movie. It is not a Gladiator, nor a Braveheart,
nor a Troy. In fact, before I went to see Noah, the thought crossed my
mind that some believers in the Abrahamic God might scoff at the Idea
of an Atheist enjoying the epic tale of Noah, to which I thought I might
respond that it would be no more strange than a Christian enjoying the
epic tale of Marvel's Thor as rooted as it may be in paganism.
But this movie is something else entirely. Noah is not some noble hero.
We can not rally behind him against the forces of evil as we rallied
behind Thor. Because while we naturally feel an affinity with Thor as
he sought to protect Asgard from Dark Elves and defended the
inhabitants of Earth from their terrors, Noah reminds us that in this
biblical tale, all of mankind - our own species - is meant to be the
enemy. It is unsettling at first to get in to, but perhaps that is the point.
We are subtly reminded that this is a tale of arbitrary favoritism, global
destruction, and indiscriminate annihilation.
Still, though, the story remains true to the overall theme of the biblical
narrative in a way that does not make these points overtly. For that, I
commend the director.
In fact, the several times when the story does deviate from the Biblical
narrative, we are reminded of just how much more absurd the movie
would have been had it stayed true to the text. I can not help but think
that this was deliberate.
For example, the movie has the very bizarre addition of giant "fallen
angels" made of stone that assist Noah in the building of the Ark.
While this is a remarkable license to take, it necessarily leads you to
ask how else Noah and his tiny family would have undertaken such a
Also, the forest that magically appears in order to provide the wood for
the vessel leaves the believer to explain where else in the Middle East
those resources might have come from.
These liberties go on and on. In each instance, it is actually an
improvement upon the Biblical narrative. I loved the fact that anyone
arguing that the movie should have stayed truer to the text would
indeed be arguing for an even more absurd explanation. Noah's
daughters don't seduce him into having sex in the movie and there is
no incest implied until the very end. Instead, the "sister" is not a real
sister, but a girl who was found wounded and taken in by the family.
The fact that believers would be left insisting that Noah banged his
own daughter instead is pure genius.**
Also, Ham is not cursed by Noah at the end as the Bible asserts.
Instead, he wanders off on his own because Noah would not allow a
girl with whom he had bonded to board the Ark. Again, I'd love to see
the Bible Thumpers insisting that Noah go on a drunken rant cursing
Ham and his offspring.
Finally, I'll say that the movie did a fantastic job at showing the
humanity of the victims who would have been mercilessly annihilated if
the Biblical narrative were true. The question of Man's "wickedness" is
addressed in such an elegant manner. We are also reminded that all of
Noah's family, Noah himself, and even God seem to all share these
alleged vices. They are what make us human. And if we are made in
God's image, then what does that say about him? Surely, his plan of
collectively wiping out our entire species for having the nature he gave
us (in his image) speaks volumes about his morality as well.
One last thing, as it comes to me. I love the fact that it was mentioned
that "even snakes" were allowed to board the Ark. I can't help feel that
this was done deliberately to show the absurdity of the idea that the
species that God supposedly cursed (by eternally ripping of their legs) for the
crime of turning mankind wicked in the first place was saved on the
ark, while human beings them selves were not. I clapped at the quote
"He saves these beasts but lets children drown!?"
This movie was not entertaining. It was more than that. It was thought provoking.
**Edit: I remembered this morning that it was Lot who was said to have slept with his daughters after an incident of drunken seduction, not Noah. I mixed up the two morally bankrupt stories in my synopsis. Still, though, the bible would have the descendants of Noah repopulating the Earth together.