If only they cast Morgan Freeman as Noah, Christians would have loved it.
You see, Christians are in an uproar over the movie Noah for not being “biblical” enough. There are complaints of it employing gnostic/Kabbalah imagery (which sounds to me a confused and presumptuous criticism) and of it lauding the environment above mankind.
While it seems to me the movie does not focus solely on environmentalism or gnosticism, I don’t even think these critiques are important. I really don’t think the Christians really are genuine in these complaints, anyhow. You see, if you look at a movie Christians generally love, such as Evan Almighty, you see a graceless, pro-environmental, pro-works, and anti-grace movie that is lauded as a “modern-day parable.”
In fact, it has been almost a decade since Evan Almighty has been out and if you Google “Evan Almighty movie blasphemous” you get 83,000 results. If you do the same search for Noah, it is at 461,000 results as of April 8th, 2014.
This proves to me, casting is everything. If Cinderella Man cast Mark Wahlberg instead of Russel Crowe, it would be a cult classic. Now, that great “Cinderella story” is mostly forgotten.
So, Morgan Freeman speaks blasphemies in light-hearted, Godless films and no one bats an eyelash when he is used as the omniscient narrator voice in every Hollywood movie to date. Russel Crowe, who by everyone’s account comes across very believable, in Noah gets panned.
Let’s compare Noah and Evan Almighty to see how they compare on Christian issues that are actually important:
In Noah, the inclination of the hearts of all men (including Noah’s family) was continually towards evil. In the end Noah’s family is saved. Why? It is said that God “gave us another chance.” This means to me, man’s condemnation is deserved, but God still shows mercy. Hmm, I think I read that in the Bible a few times.
In Evan Almighty, there are good guys and bad guys. The good guys love the environment and are honest. The bad guys are corrupt and don’t care about the environment, wanting to build a hydro-electric dam which is, you know, really evil because it produces too much CO2 or something. Believe it or not, Evan Almighty was carbon-neutral somehow, even though they chopped down a forest full of trees to build a fake ark. I guess they bought carbon credits from Al Gore or something to atone for their sins. Further, while most Christians believe the ark itself is a metaphor of sorts of our salvation through baptism in Christ, the ark in this movie is a “random act of kindness.” After all, Jesus doesn’t really matter, as long as we do enough randomly good stuff along the way.
Noah takes a pretty literal view of the Bible. Adam and Eve are historical fact. The Fall is historical fact. The Earth and universe are portrayed as young. Even the plot twists hold to the story. Some complain that Ham and Japeth didn’t have their wives with them on the ark…problem is, that in the movie they did, they were just in the womb of another woman at the time. Okay, so they bent it a little, but it works. Now, the movie has fallen sons of God that don’t sleep with women, unlike most people’s interpretation of Genesis 6. Okay, I’ll give them a pass because I really didn’t want to see that. The ark was also built in only ten years or so. Okay, they got that wrong, but it’s a movie after all…
Evan Almighty, well, quotes the Bible once in order to pass itself off as a Christian movie and it kind of ends there…Oh, and the anthropomorphic animals help build the ark and stuff, so unlike the “rock people” of Noah they are totally made up, instead of mostly made up.
This is a tough one. Noah has violence and one scene where there is some pretty heavy petting going on. In Evan Almighty, Evan’s wife leaves him because he was embarrassing her. I’m not sure if that’s such a great lesson in a children’s movie, but you know, in 21st century America that’s “normal.” Further, Evan is portrayed as a bumbling fool, hardly a respectable head of his household. Noah is the unquestioned head of his household, to the point where no one physically resists him in his quest to kill his daughter-in-law’s children. Then, in the end, the movie actually teaches something about morals. Meanwhile, in Evan Almighty, all I know is that “thou shalt do the dance.”
Oh yeah, casting isn’t a Christian issue and we’re supposed to look at the message of something instead of the actor in determining whether something is good. But, Russel Crowe did a very good job. The acting in Evan Almighty was wooden and lame.
My final point. Are we Christians being overly critical of a movie like Noah? Not necessarily. My wife and I don’t even have cable at home because we find the material on it indecent. Most of my own entertainment is watching James White debates and listening to sermons. My wife and I have watched three movies the last four years and maybe watch television six times a year…maybe even less. I even find Fox News smutty and disgusting.
So, I empathize with a lot of people panning the movie. I hate a lot of what is passed off as entertainment these days.
However, because I am even more conservative with what I watch than most Christians, my positive reviews of Noah should carry some weight. I think many Christians are being hypocritical in their hatred of the movie. Others are saying that they refuse to watch it, because the movie must be terrible. Yet, Christians love classics such as The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur, but the problem is that both movies have tons of made up stuff. I’m not sure how theologically sound they are either. Yet, we have Christians who haven’t even watched a movie hate on it, because they simply don’t like the movie’s image…the content, they can’t judge. They didn’t watch it.
I think Darren Aronofsky and Russel Crowe are their own worse enemies. Have a director not running his mouth saying things that are stupid and cast a Noah that did not throw a telephone in someone’s face, and then you have rave reviews. Funny thing is that if God judges the heart, shouldn’t that be the way we should approach everything, including movies?