Thursday past, I saw Noah starring Russel Crowe with two Christian friends, one Hindu friend and myself – the Muslim. There wasn’t much expectation from any of us that this Hollywood blockbuster would tie itself down to using the Biblical narrative, but it was definitely a possibility. Please note that anything after this sentence may contain spoilers. This movie could either be a hit or a miss and that’s mostly dependent on the angle the movie took and how well held together the plot was, but I think public perception plays a major factor when using book based narratives – especially when it’s a book read by one of the world’s largest faiths.
So let me cut straight to what we all want to know. Was the movie good and was it Biblically based? No and definitely no. About 3 – 4 minutes into the film, Noah and his family have met stone beasts who are fallen angels (mentioned in the DSS, but what they are and what role they have played is up for anyone’s interpretation), the beasts definitely do mythicise the flood event as they are used as a tool to explain how the Ark of Noah was built, an ark that gigantic at the historical time it is believed to have been constructed according to this movie, is explained by angels trapped in stones with a hate-love relationship with mankind. For the first minute or two, after seeing these stone beasts, we definitely knew that it would not be smooth sailing from here. Prophets in the Biblical based stories are sinfully human, in the Islamic narrative, they are morally ideal leaders of their communities anointed by God. Given that dichotomy, the representation of Noah in this movie will still upset both sets of Christian and Muslim believers as Noah is vilified throughout this film as arrogant, unloving, cold-hearted.
Noah, a Prophet of God – atleast in this movie doesn’t seem to have the one thing he should – a connection with God. He never understands God’s intentions for him, God’s intention for the world, God’s intention for him and his family, God’s intention for a post-world flood and the movie ends with Noah’s defiance of what he perceived to be God’s message. Then, within the last few minutes, Noah realises that after being drunk (don’t worry I’ll get to the Curse of Ham soon) and segregating himself from his family as self punishment for disobeying his understanding of God’s message, that Shem’s children will now repopulate the world, instead of him killing them as he had intended. Personally speaking, I don’t think vilifying Noah as some sort of ignorant who is too arrogant and self loathing to understand anything, and then throwing in a rainbow at the end of the movie, fixes their interpretation of the Noah character. It certainly does not excuse them and both Muslims and Christians will walk out of this film disliking it.
Now, the question on my mind was, how would they represent Noah being drunk and naked post-flood and would Ham’s curse be enacted in this movie? Well Ham’s curse wasn’t in the movie, but Noah was drunk and somewhat naked. So this completely disconnected me from the rest of the movie, well besides the stone angel beasts and Noah having virtually no relationship with God throughout the entire movie. In conclusion, they could’ve named the movie anything with the same storyline and it would’ve been received as a mediocre film. Instead they named it after Noah, thus tying some expectations with it from large sections of the international religious and irreligious communities. Almost everyone knows some portion of the flood narrative, so it was not in their best interest to divert from the Biblical story much and they did divert from it so much so, that the only thing tying Noah to this movie’s story is the name of the male lead character.
Waste of time. Waste of money and undoubtedly offensive to any Christian who may have picked up their Bible or bothered to read the Old Testament, or to any Muslim who certainly knows the story. Even for a secular movie goer, the movie isn’t worth your time or money. It seems as if the ship has sailed on this movie.