We got round to watching Noah on DVD last weekend. In the 1980’s the alternative comedians in the UK combined to make a series of short films called “The Comic Strip Presents”. One of these was a 1 hour special “Strike” based around the one year long miners strike in the UK. In it Hollywood decide to make a film about it but completely alter the story. The left wing leader of the strike Arthur Scargill (in reality a Yorkshireman) is played as a Welshman by Al Pacino and Mrs Scargill by Meryl Streep. Its set simultaneously in the 1930’s and the present. Al Pacino rides a Harley, saves his daughter from a mining disaster and Meryl Streep is obsessed by oranges. None of which happened in reality.
I was reminded of this when watching “Noah”. Again Hollywood have taken an interesting story and souped it up until its only semi recognisable. The basic plot is the same as in Genesis 5-9. But Noah the film introduces stone monsters based around fallen angels (Gen 6v4). These take Noah’s side and protect him in the final battle against the bad men trying to get on the ark. Their leader manages to get on and Noah has to deal with him later. Unlike in Genesis Noah’s sons don’t all have wives and this introduces tensions. He also threatens to kill his granddaughters born on the ark since he believes God has only wanted him to save the animals, but not humanity. Apart from these additions to the story another aspect of the film I found difficult was the minimal supernatural element in the film. Also God is only referred to equivocally as the “creator” and at the end the rainbows message is almost lost.
Nevertheless much of the film is very good. There is a underlying green message which is there but not as strongly as I was led to believe. Noah is even vegetarian and there is strong reverence and care for creation throughout the film. The bit at the end of Genesis 9 where Noah gets drunk fitted into place. Noah is undergoing post traumatic stress disorder at what he had had to do.
I cannot wholeheartedly recommend Noah but certainly did not find it offensive. Its well done with an all star cast who act convincingly. People have criticised the special effects but I found them convincing. I also see why they were tempted to add to the story, the original raises as many questions as it answers.