Noah, Litflix Delayed

David and I went and saw Noah at the end of March, but then we got in to the A to Z Challenge and just did not find the time to get my ltflix written. So now that the challenge is over I am trying to play a little bit of catch up. In doing the litflix I want to focus on the story of Noah as a story and not get in to a religious discussion. In the end even if without any actual belief there is a story that is told with Noah. Even without the religious elements there is a lot of difference between what they showed in the movie and what story is told in the Bible. A lot of the changes seemed to be added for dramatic effect and some definitely seems to be influenced by someone’s interpretation of the story.

There are only a couple of points that I really want to discuss. One thing is that in the Noah story in the Bible when they talk about Noah and his family getting on the ark, the kids are already grown and married. The other part is how dark they decided to take the movie when there is not even an implication of some of those pieces. (Spoilers for the Noah movie after the jump).

Grown Family

It was an interesting decision to take Noah’s kids from being grown by the time the ark is being built and having them be much younger. I think some of it is because children are seen as so innocent and so we can appreciate more why they would go along with such a crazy plan. The Bible story is based in a very different time and family dynamics is something that has drastically changed over time. By having the kids be grown and already married the story was not about the family dynamic, but about them working together and following the God’s vision as told to Noah. In the movie making the kids younger creates a lot more tension and drama. Finding wives for the children is one of the ways in which you can create tension. The story in the movie lends itself to a question of whether the human race is meant to survive because if there are no wives for the sons and no one to have children then human existence will all end.

While an interesting interpretation of the story it definitely feels like looking at someone’s thought process around the story versus looking at what the story is actually telling. There was definitely some added drama in the movie that felt unnecessary.

Down in the Mud

I really appreciate the look at how other people reacted to Noah building the ark and showing the society. There is a dark place you can go and they went there with some of it. People not believing Noah at first and then the desperation as the realization of the truth begins to present itself. There is a level of tragedy because everyone is going to die except for Noah and his family. That would be a difficult thing alone to contend with, which is not dealt with in the story in the Bible. At the same time the movie takes it even further.

For some reason, that I never fully understand Noah decides that God does not want any humans to survive. With the kids not finding wives, and the one daughter-in-law supposedly barren he does not have to worry about humans surviving. Then a miracle happens and she ends up getting pregnant with twins. Now for some reason Noah decides that her getting pregnant is an affront to the plan of the Creator and decides he needs to kill the children. This whole storyline just pushes it too far. Why would they have any of the kids on the boat if they are not meant to survive. The story in the Bible is more about the fact that Noah and his family have remained righteous and faithful to the Creator and he is trusting them to save the animals and restart. Noah even mentions that this is not the end, but a beginning and in the Bible story that is true. In the movie it is about a beginning for the animals not the humans. It just feels a little off with the themes that the original story is working with.

Historical Research

Even with all the differences, which I do not feel like I have time to go in to detail about because you could probably write a thesis paper on the implications and differences between the two stories. In doing just a little bit of research in to the Noah story it looks like the creators actually did utilize some research into the story. The story in the bible is ancient and therefore to get a better picture of the story it is good to understand the time period that it first appeared. There were some interesting things that they saw. One of which is that the Nephilim are mentioned in the story and the watchers were mentioned in documents associated with that time period and history. The part that I found really interesting is the fact that apparently in the early bible the word for God was a more generic term such as Creator, which follows along with calling him the Creator in the movie.

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5 responses to “Noah, Litflix Delayed

  1. Speaking of religious text and dark retellings, have you seen the i09 article about the film? http://io9.com/noah-is-the-best-and-worst-bible-movie-youll-ever-see-1553829598

  2. To be perfectly honest, I had literally zero interest in seeing this film. I enjoy Russel Crowe’s work at times (more often than not recently actually. Loved him as Jor-El in Man of Steel). But the idea of a movie about Noah just didn’t grab me. While my family aren’t religious (my parents were both raised Christian, but neither are now, and didn’t raise my brother and I to be), part of my primary school curriculum included being sent to scripture classes, which mostly involved getting a lot of bible stories crammed down our throats, and not being allowed to ask any questions. Ever since then I’ve really had an aversion to movies based on religious tales,.

    That aside, having read what you’ve said about it, I’m seriously considering grabbing it and giving it a watch one night when I don’t have anything else to do, just to see what they’ve done with it. I had assumed that it was going to be a pretty standard retelling of the story, I’m much more interested in something that deviates from the norm in it’s storytelling. Not top of my list to watch, but something to keep in mind.

    Cheers :)

  3. Holly, I was thinking about writing an article on NOAH as well, and now I don’t have to, yo!

    I had actually planned on seeing it solo during spring break when my wife and daughter were out of town (I go see guilty pleasure movies, like World War Z – which surprised me for being a much more interesting movie than I had expected) but when my daughter heard I planned on seeing Noah, she gave me the word that I’d be seeing it with her, and her best friend.

    A man knows when I man has to do a thing.

    I think you hit upon the most interesting part of the movie (and the part that was perhaps the most invented and for a movie that featured mud-crusted fallen angels, glowing magic rocks, and a massive pre-historical environment wrecking civilization, that’s saying something) where Noah rather coldly plans on killing some baby girls.

    I don’t know if it was supposed to be a a study in fanaticism or what. Like you, I had grown up with the biblical story of Noah constructing that Ark with the notion that his family had been chosen to repopulate the Earth in the post-diluvian age. I think the changes made for an interesting wrinkle to the story, but I’m not surprised if it felt like coming out of left field.

    Errr… spoiler alert for anyone reading this comment but not seen the movie yet…

    Spoiler Space

    The nine months on the Ark for Emma Watson’s character to carry the babies to term was a bit much, largely with the idea that Tubal-Cain (I’m remember his name correctly, right) was chilling out in the hold of the Ark. For nine months. Apparently eating Unicorn all that time.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading the article. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy Noah abstractly as a mythic movie, production values were sound, it looked relatively good. But I admit to watching it almost like I was watching a Conan the Barbarian movie or something.

  4. Yeah, I wasn’t really interested in seeing the movie either, but I find these differences fascinating. Especially the part about Noah deciding humanity wasn’t intended to survive.

    I remember seeing an early version of Noah’s ark in the late 70s/early 80s that attempted to be faithful to the Biblical account and was basically Protestant propaganda. The scene where the flood actually came really freaked me out – I can vividly remember to this day the drowing people pounding on the sides of the arc. I was maybe 8 or 9 when I saw it.

    I’d also compare the Biblical account to the flood story in Gilgamesh, if I were doing a sort of comprehensive research on the flood and differences in relationships between divine powers and humans implied in various accounts.

  5. Pingback: Science Fiction and Religion – Noah | Comparative Geeks

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