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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

Noah: A Review

Just so people know I do follow back - so if you're following me and I'm not following you there's a flaw in me not recognising this... Please let me know so I can fix that!

But onto the real topic of discussion. The blockbuster of the end of March (which for Aussies is not The Lego Movie - not yet :/ anyway) which is Noah. Which, to watch, was a very bizarre experience for me. I wasn't naive enough to go into the movie expecting it to be like the Bible story but the way they broke from the story was a weird half mix of sticking to the story and trying to be artistic. Which worked in places but failed for me in others. It did make for a nice environmental comedy however. I haven't seen one of those since 2012

There will be spoilers below.

So, the story begins with Noah hiding away and believing in the almighty, treasuring 'pure' animal life (there being a distinct environmental twist to this story right here). There is a bunch of added mythology to the story, but to this point there's an understandable link between the original and the new vision of director Daron Aranofsky. It's the point where God (the Almighty in this version) speaks to Noah through visions and dreams, leading him to go off to find his grandfather Methusalah, that the story starts to change.

Of course, these changes are at first, artistic licenses. They give us a Noah unsure of the task God has in mind for him (which we have no idea about from scripture and so serves to flesh out his character). Then you have the Watchers, or Nephilim, which are based on a mythological understanding of the scriptures and are seen as fallen angels encased in rock. Yeah, made a lot of sense to me too... But that aside these 'rock angels' weren't too bad - they were an interesting fantasy addition to the story if you want to look at it like that.

Further on and you come to see Methusalah for proper. Let's ignore the fact that in the film he dies because of the flood (another non-Biblical idea) and let's talk about his special powers of blessing to heal people. He almost seems angelic in his abilities and I can sort of understand why he was made out to be like this, based on belonging to a 'more pure lineage' and because of the mystical age he lived to.

No everything was actually more or less (aside from a mystical seed from the Garden of Eden providing the forest for Noah to use for an ark - which defies the whole concept of the film talking about protecting the environment and so on) okay up to this point. The weird part was yet to come. The really weird part.

This was the sequence on the ark when Noah somehow determines that the flood is God's way of judging humanity entirely and that he and his family (the only wife of his sons' is supposedly barren until mystically healed) have to be the last remnant of humanity and that God cares more for the purity of the animals - get the environmentally friendly message coming across? So, when Shem's wife becomes pregnant, Noah decides he has to be a psychopath and kill her child/children when they are born. Which makes no sense: surely if he was going to murder then he'd just go around killing everyone on the ark before killing himself.

This whole sequence with Noah being a psychopath leads into him having the mental collapse and getting drunk after the ark lands. It's just one of many things, amongst a visually beautiful film, which are bizarre and completely misinterpret the idea of the original story. Firstly, the original story specifically mentions that Ham and Japheth had their wives with them on the ark and this version doesn't really show that. But most importantly, Aranofsky and his crew have misinterpreted the idea of the story being about Noah saving the animals. The idea of the story is that God saves the animals and humanity. But that he saves only those few (Noah's family) who still trust in and honour him. 

So, all things considered it was weird to see such a misinterpretation of that story. But it's one that I understand given the director is approaching it from the concept of it being a non-sacrosanct myth (like any myth). But having such an understanding of what the real themes of the original were about, it felt like a violation of what the story was meant to be about. Again, though, as I mentioned it is a beautiful film and there is one incredible sequence which Noah shares the story of Creation in and there are other wonderful sequences which show the animals coming to Noah. In the end there is a kind of attempt to temper the 'crazy Noah' arc (sic) but it feels like the point of the film was 'humans bad: environment good' when clearly God in the Bible sets up humanity to be the custodians and caretakers of the Earth - not to be absent from it.