EDITOR’S NOTE: Plot twists are revealed in this article.
Some are calling 2014 Hollywood’s “Year of the Bible.” Last weekend, “God’s Not Dead” debuted on only 782 screens and took in $8.6 million, good for fourth place in the box office top 10. “Son of God,” a feature film crafted from the popular cable TV mini-series, “The Bible,” has taken in more than $60 million since its release at the end of February. Both films have garnered enthusiastic support from Bible-believing Christians. And now, Russell Crowe is starring in a big-budget version of the story of Noah. Can we expect the same Bible-friendly treatment in this latest film?
In a word, no. Paramount Pictures did a 5,000-person survey of Christian consumers, 98 percent of whom said they would not be interested in a movie about Noah unless it were Biblically based. Darren Aronofsky, who wrote and directed the film, told the New Yorker “I don’t give a (f-bomb) about the test scores.” The director went on to say that “'Noah' is the least Biblical film ever made.”
“Noah” is based on a graphic novel, also co-authored by Aronofsky. Articles written about the movie indicate the screenplay follows its source material very closely. In Aronofsky’s version of the Noah story:
- God is the ultimate villain; despite the fact that He is recognized as “Creator” (the film does not contain the word, “God”). The Creator is portrayed as cruel, harsh and unreasonable in His treatment of Adam and Eve, as well as Satan and his fallen angels.
- Mankind is portrayed as a pestilence upon the earth, a cancer to the environment. Noah believes it is his mission to prevent the earth from repopulating with human beings. The story indicates that The Creator agrees and aids him in this mission.
- Salvation is based on man’s treatment of the earth, not his relationship with The Creator. At one point, Noah says, “We must change. We must treat the world with mercy so that the Creator will show us mercy … We must respect the ground, respect the rivers and seas. Respect the other beasts of the earth.”
- Noah prevents his son from marrying and threatens to kill his own grandchild the moment it is born if it turns out to be a girl. That’s because another female surviving the Flood would increase the likelihood that mankind would repopulate the earth, and once again threaten to destroy the environment.
- Angels fall from heaven and become rock giants with six arms. They leave heaven because they want to help mankind. They help Noah build the Ark, then die heroically defending the Ark from the evil people who try to take it from Noah. The Creator takes the fallen angels back into heaven because they died defending the Ark, and thus, the earth’s animals and environment.
- The film portrays these fallen angels as being victims of the actions of both The Creator and men. In fact, they are just about the only admirable characters in the film. The Bible, on the other hand, portrays fallen angels quite differently: Satan and his demons are completely dedicated to the destruction of mankind. They certainly did not descend to earth in order to help mankind with their struggles.
In summary, “Noah” depicts a despicable and arbitrary “Creator,” worthless and evil human beings the earth would be better off without and heroic demons who are the only admirable characters in the film. Paramount Pictures recently released a statement about the film: “While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.”
It’s much easier to believe a Biblical story about a worldwide Flood than it is to believe what Paramount Pictures has said about Noah. The film’s director, however, may well be speaking accurately when he proclaims that Noah is “the least Biblical film ever made.”
Ron Wenzel is an author and the pastor at Rosewood Heights Community Church. He is also a faculty member at Brookes Bible College in St. Louis. Email him questions about angels at firstname.lastname@example.org.