What did he like? What did he find to be of value? What did he not like? And what was the biggest problem he had with Darren Aronofsky’s Noah?
Noah-counting for Taste — SA120
One response to “Noah-counting for Taste — SA120”
I’ve just recently discovered the Strangers and Aliens podcast and I’m a huge fan. I Love the work all three of you put into it and I appreciate the Christian perspective very much. Hearing things like what Steve mentioned in a separate podcast about how foul language impacts him is refreshing for me. I find myself constantly explaining to my kids and my friends why I feel certain things in movies, games, books, etc. are appropriate for myself and my family. So thank you!
I recently watched Noah and then listened to this podcast, I found myself agreeing a lot with Ben’s comments. Here are my own thoughts, I’m presenting them in rapid fire since that’s how my mind works. Please share any feedback! **SPOILER WARNING**
Going into the movie, I assumed it was likely going to liberally wander from the biblical storyline. I knew the director has put forward thought provoking themes in the past but that he also sometimes works with content that I don’t agree with or necessarily like to watch. Therefore, this movie was starting out with two strikes for me and I had to make an intentional effort to approach this movie with an open mind for it to have a chance with me. So that’s what I did and I’m glad.
The cinematic style of the movie was very cool, especially the landscapes. I loved the deep greens of the mountainsides and the forest. Methuselah’s cave, the Ark, and the Watchers all were positive design elements for me. One of the elements I didn’t think made sense was the clothing. It looked too much like modern clothing and didn’t fit the time, like the hoodie Noah wore when hiking to see his grandfather. All things considered, I thought this was one of the most successful things about the movie, though.
The characters were hit and miss for me. I thought Noah was an interesting character and was beautifully acted by Russell Crowe. Noah was a man of deep faith but also a strong man. He tries to do the right thing without seeking his own interests. I thought Ila was a good character, well-acted by Emma Watson. She showed loyalty and selflessness throughout and I felt for her when the movie went there. These two characters were the ones I found myself caring about the most. Noah’s wife was a bit off, in my opinion. I will always remember Jennifer Connelly’s face, eye’s watering, nose running or whatever. That scene was the breaking point for me believing in her character, it seemed too over the top and didn’t fit with the character’s structure. I would have liked to have seen something shorter and more direct there. Ray Winstone always does a wonderful job on his characters and I thought he played an effective and believable antagonist in this movie. I also liked the Watcher characters, while certainly straying from the Biblical story, I could stretch things in my mind to think of these creatures as adaptations of the Nephalim or Seraphim. It gave the movie an interesting fantasy element that helped me to think of it as something outside the Bible story. None of the three sons had me caring about them, however. They were all one-dimensional and could have been removed from the movie entirely for all I cared. They could have done so much more to play up their characters, Shem could have been portrayed as the eldest son trying to match the strength of his father, for example. I think a big issue of this movie for me was these important characters falling flat.
The plot set up some cool things but, ultimately, that is where the movie failed in my eyes. I liked the fantasy elements that took this in a different direction but what was the deal with the magic snake skin? We kept seeing the scene of the serpent shedding its skin in Eden, was this some kind of reference to that? Was it simply there to be another magical element? Also, the idea that this army of men would march across the world to find the source of what God was doing only to turn back into the woods and wait to make weapons or build its strength didn’t make any sense to me. Why not have the army provoked by Noah or the rain or by some other means at the time of the actual attack?
The plot point I had the most problem with was with Noah’s decision on the Ark to kill the child. Again, the movie had established Noah as a man of faith. He obeyed God’s will to the point of building an Ark even though he had never seen rain before. He convinced these strange rock creatures that he was doing God’s will. He knew God would protect him leading up to the flood. Again, he was a man of faith. So, taking my Biblical understanding of Noah out of the picture, why would Noah spend months agonizing over his apparent interpretation that God expected him to kill the baby only to stop obeying God in that moment? I didn’t believe it fit the character they had created. To me this movie attempted to showcase human righteousness and western culture’s supreme ethic of “love”. Noah was chosen by God because God knew Noah’s ethical makeup would keep him from harming the babies? Is that what Ila was trying to tell us at the end of the movie? That the “love” in Noah’s heart would overcome his devotion and obedience to God at the right time? Why don’t we see evidence of that earlier on? Why don’t we see him “struggling” with the decision to torch the raft or torment his son and daughter in law during the pregnancy? Why don’t we see him showing more compassion when he first meets Ila and those slaughtered in the valley or those drowning outside the Ark? This deviation in Noah’s character is where the movie failed for me, Biblical issues aside.
Anyway, these are my rambling thoughts. Not much coherence but I wanted to put it out there.
Thank you for reading and thank your for the podcast!