Noah movie review: bring popcorn not Bible

Noah movie (2014)
Noah movie (2014)

I went to J-Cube and saw it: the Noah movie. The biblical outline was all there: the wickedness, God’s word to Noah, the building of the ark, the supernatural navigation of creatures of land and air to the ark, the floods of God’s judgment, the raven and the dove, the rainbow.

The special effects CGI ranged from amateurish to great.

As you know there is not enough tension in the biblical account to hold a film of over two hours. So here is where artistic liberties fill in the silences in the biblical narrative and adds in extra biblical elements to create more points of tension and resolution.

There was a brave attempt to show different facets of Noah’s personality: intuitive, righteous, rigid, seer, good steward of creation, introspective, anguished, obsessed, guilt ridden, mistaken, defeated, and redeemed.

Then there is the lame appeal to the younger audience with rock bound fallen angels who were punished for trying to help men without God’s approval. They remind me of the talking trees of the Lord of the Rings and the Transformers. There were the special powers of Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah. You need these to get audiences to the movies in summer. Lighten up Christians.

Would I go for a second? No, even though it cost me only $4.

Would I recommend it? Go see it with a cup of popcorn, and not the Bible in hand. Just relax and have fun speculating and let your dormant imagination stir. If you need a utilitarian reason: go see it so at least you can discuss it intelligently with friends and colleagues who saw it and have questions to ask you. You can give a reason for your hope.

And no, I doubt it would become a classic like the Ten Commandments.

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  • If they studied the passages on the flood in the Bible a bit more in depth, they might have gotten a more interesting, thought-provoking and maybe a more faithful adaptation of the story.

    Specifically, I’m referring to one interpretation of the “sons of God” who took the “daughters of men” for wives and begot the “mighty men of renown”, mentioned briefly in Genesis 6:2-4, but also alluded to in multiple passages elsewhere. Basically, the interpretation goes that during the times of Noah, some non-human entities (angels?) came down to earth and begat these Nephilim, and was at least partially responsible for the flood because they dominated the world and had caused it to become exceedingly wicked. Noah was “perfect in his generations”, meaning he was a pure-blooded human, and was the reason that God preserved him during the flood which covered the earth.

    This interpretation might seem far out crazy, but there are strong points for this interpretation, and at least to me it does suggest why God wanted to basically wipe everything out and “start all over” so to speak. It also hints at the common myth archetypes we have nowadays about giants and demigods and tales about global flooding etc in cultures around the world.

    I’m quite disappointed that the movie did not use this story. It would’ve been epic. Instead, they had to use some overly-cliche story about brutal neanderthal tribes and fallen angels helping men therefore getting punished by God for some trite reason etc etc. In other words, boring.

      • A very critical analysis…..

        Whimsically, thought your review of Noah would could be transplanted for Prince’s commercially successful “Grace and Prosperity” lectures – entertaining motivation and even spiritual but leave your Bible at home.

        • Funny you should say that.

          I personally consider Joseph Prince’s ministry to be more bible-focused and deeper than almost any other Christian ministry out there.

          I’ve had more than 25 years of Christian religion being fed to me, and attended more than a fair share of Sunday services throughout the years, from Catholic to Evangelical to Methodist denominations, in Australia as well as Singapore. So I think my opinion holds some weight.

          I only wish you’d be less biased and actually hear or read what the man has to say first, like Blogpastor evidently took the trouble to, and perhaps verify his teachings from the bible personally before you accuse of others neglecting bible teachings. If you don’t agree after doing some study of your own, then okay, we can discuss if you want.

          You also know that I credit Pastor Prince’s ministry for the turnaround in my faith and relationship with Jesus, so please respect that at least before you pass snide remarks.

          • Have no issues with your beliefs and the part you have credited to Prince in their formation – think there is big difference between religion and faith.

            Faith is very idiosyncratic, personal and really beyond rational discussion and really is beyond certainly my competence.

            Prince sermons/lectures does nothing for me but obviously his religious practises has been very beneficial to forming your beliefs and faith.

            Another perspective by a another religious professional like Prince

            Reza Aslan’s, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth …


            Happy that the Prince perspective has worked wonders for you.

            • Thank you for considering my perspective. I’m glad you saw my point.

              Hmm, regarding your statement about the “big difference between religion and faith”, I don’t quite agree. I actually think that religion and faith (or the lack of it) are very much related. Let me explain.

              Genuine faith in God, while personal, doesn’t just manifest from nothing. Again, I’m referring to genuine faith – the kind by which greats like George Muller built and ran orphanages for thousands of children. We’re not interested in the superficial, emotive and wrong kind of “faith” conjured by mental gymnastics.

              According to the bible, it says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.

              If we take that verse and the context at face value, it means that faith (or the lack of it), and what we hear in sermons are actually inextricably tied. We have faith because we hear the Word of God. We do not have faith because we do not hear, for whatever reason. Maybe we do not listen when God’s word is preached. Maybe whatever we are listening to isn’t in fact God’s word.

              Food for thought.

              Again, to use myself as an example… Now I don’t claim to be a especially faithful person by any means (understatement), but if I have a modicum of faith now, then earlier on it was very nearly non-existent. Rationally then, something must have changed, right?

              Perhaps there are other contributing factors, but I distinctly remember something inside me “clicking into place” the very first time I attended a service in NCC on a fateful Sunday. My friend (who now no longer attends NCC) invited me then for whatever reason.

              So, like pieces of a puzzle coming together, or a veil being lifted, “Christianity” became clear, and I actually understood why Jesus died for me. I knew the theological reasons before but it wasn’t real to me. But at that moment it actually sank in. It was a heart-felt revelation which I never had previously up till then, and I left that service forever changed although I didn’t know it then.

              I do not understand why this happens to some people, but not others. Perhaps it was from a prayer long ago. Perhaps someone else prayed for me. All I know is that it happened through the agency of Pastor Prince’s preaching (and not some other church) therefore I have to credit his ministry.

    • Think we should leave “hypergrace” alone as it is really a invented, emotive marketing add-on that is meaningless. Like -“infinity” plus” whatever emotions it conjures. Language is often inadequate to convey nuanced, abstract ideas of the mind – faith is a mindful activity that augmented by chemical cascading to a crescendo or long tail glow.

      Maybe we miss the profound of a God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  • Hi blogpastor,

    If I may ask, what is your view concerning the story of Noah and what happened during those days?

    Personally, I hold the view that the “sons of God” = “fallen angel” interpretation is more correct, and gels better with Jude 1:6 and Peter 2:4 as well as other passages. However, as you may expect, it has very disturbing consequences that I’m not sure I’m 100% prepared to accept.

    (Btw I realize that this subject maybe slightly controversial, so it’s fine if you prefer not to broadcast your views to the public here).

    • Hi Ben,
      The context of Gen 6 gives the background to the judgment of God on the world through the flood. There are three main interpretations. The “sons of God” as (1) fallen angels, (2) as the godly line of Seth, (3) tyrant city kings. Each interpretation has its problems. The text you quoted both show that these fallen angels were actually kept in some prison of darkness and bound in everlasting chains awaiting judgment by the saints. Your assumption is that this handcuffing took place after they had offspring with the “daughters of men”. I lean towards the one that gives more weight to the context of ancient culture, that is “sons of god” are aggressive powerful tyrannical kings of cities of the past who often link their right to rule with being sons of the gods the people worship. We find this even in China’s history, the “sons of heaven”. This interpretation is not foolproof but seems to have the most strengths (fits the cultural and textual contexts best) and the least weaknesses. For further reading on this line of thought, go HERE

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