Rock People

I figured since everyone was writing on Noah I might as well give my 2 cents.

Well thusly it has begun. See here is the problem with making a bliblical movie and as anyone would know from making them all you need to look at is the classics from the greatest era of Biblical movies under Cecil B. Demille’s influence and crafting. Everything from 10 Commandments and Quo Vadis to Ben Hur have the fantastic touch and freedom wherein the story that is deemed appropriate but yet still fundamentally doesn’t change the message of the story or the weightiness of the epic. The characters of course take liberties just as much as any film would but no one would would dare to say those movies aren’t worth seeing. Take for example all three of those movies while having deeply intrenching Christian messages are all over 87% or higher and one of them (Ben Hur) is largely considered one of the greatest movies of all time with the performance of Charlton Heston as Judah Ben Hur and a chariot scene that took over 3 months to film but only was 13 minutes long (yes all of it is real people and real chariots no CGI which is impressive just go watch that).

or this

The reason I bring up both these clips is because even though one is technically inherently impressive the other is as well due to its impressiveness of implication. One thing someone will understand who reads the Bible often and looks at it carefully is that they will realize that unlike Homer’s “The Odyssey”, which gives full exposition of nearly everything that happens in the story, the Bible tends to take a less is more approach. It doesn’t tell the person everything because there is much it deems unimportant and other things that are of paramount importance that it relies upon and focus upon. For example, in the case of the aforementioned clip regarding Jesus helping Charlton Heston there are no words exchanged between the two but you know exactly what is happening in the scene. That is something that is very difficult to do.

However, back to Noah. The main reason I won’t be watching this film is because as a whole is the main central message is one that is not directly poignant to Christ or even the main message of Noah. Noah’s story is supposed to be one about trust and being unswayed by ridicule and doubt and believing that God’s will is omniscient, that is something clearly not displayed in the film. Heck even the movies Evan Almighty and Bruce Almighty with all of their fanfare and other strange inclusion of things were FAR better Christian movies and ultimately better movies than Noah. Take for example Evan Almighty which modernises the idea of trust and belief that this Noah film doesn’t embark upon at all rather enjoying a curteous flippancy and enjoyment in taking ideas of environmentalism and anti-humanism to the max. Whereas Bruce Almighty has the titular hero declaring that he can’t do it and surrendering to God’s will. Impressive isn’t it that a comedy can speak more to a person than a 150 million dollar budget movie peddling ideas that are very much utter trash.

And believe me when I say I could use worse words to discribe this movie. I know some people might say, “but the art!”, yes the art is important. But anyone with a good background in drawing and understanding of Art History and understanding of movies will know that there is a fine line between art as telling a story that is worthwhile and art that is simply the divulgence of the fantasies of the person making it. In essence they are either creating or allegorizing. Noah is allegorizing which is one of the worst ways to tell a story due to the fact that a straight allegory can be detrimental in many ways because as soon as it is figured out it can demolish the meaning of the story emotionally. Telling a good story is an art form too and unless it is fully understood all the technical prowess and belief in the world will still fall short of making a GOOD movie. Case in point on this Avatar and then even further more the Avengers. Now while most people might say that both these are GOOD movies they are in fact correct. But they are talking in the sense of entertainment and a movie that doesn’t hold ground for generations to come similar to how we remember Beethoven but probably don’t know who Def Leppard is (unless you were born in 70’s. Good art Transcends time and earns its place amongst a pantheon of meaning and understanding and depth. But is Noah good art? No. Just like no one says 300 is good art so also is this movie a betrayal of its source material and in many ways an irreverance to what it is derived from. Should EVERY action classical story now be done like 300 … no.

But I digress. Every movie has a message and there is a point to which you must ask yourself is this a message I endorse with my money/wallet? Even movies that people might think would be something I wouldn’t endorse I find glimpses of incredibly meaning and power within them. Take in point my appreciation of the movie Chronicle more so than Avengers. Was avengers fun to watch? Yes. But didn’t I walk away with this incredibly profound statement on having super powers and even more so a reflection that in reality people with powers WOULDn’t be superheroes but something else entirely like I did with Chronicle? Epic only works in the context of a movie if it has something profound to say as well that is actually worth while listening to. That is why Lord of the Rings has 11 Academy Awards and is considered on of the greatest movies of all time and Avengers … well you know.
P.S. in case you were thinking I was basing my Judgement purely off of not seeing the movie know this. I’ve had several friends who saw the movie and thought it was terrible. These are also people I trust and know have a very good sense of good storytelling and depth in a piece of work. Not to mention I’ve basically read through a rough retelling of the script and know that yes there are some sections that are incredibly appalling. If you don’t trust me you can always read what this guy had to say about it after seeing it and his reaction.

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  1. Invisible Mikey · March 29, 2014

    The problem with movie adaptations from material in the Bible is no different than adaptations from any other book. Movies aren’t books, and the adaptations can’t be “like the book”. There’s no such thing as a “faithful” film adaptation. They can come no closer than to have characters with the same names, some similar plot events and themes, and maybe some characteristics of tone.

    Take a couple of the movies you mentioned favoring. Ben Hur (the book) is a Victorian adventure novel, full of flowery speeches and extended descriptions. Is the movie like that? Does that make it a “betrayal of its source material”? Lord of the Rings (the books) feature dozens of characters that do different things for different reasons than in the movies. All the female roles are hugely expanded in screen time and importance, and a number of major male characters are entirely absent from the movies. Both versions are great, but they aren’t much alike.

    So why in heaven’s name should Noah have to be anything other than a good movie? If it is to be “like the book”, then Noah doesn’t have any dialogue until long after the flood! Sounds pretty dull.

  2. armcurl7 · March 29, 2014

    But that is my point I’m trying to make. Not that you can’t take artistic liberty but rather not to betray the main meaning and message of the text. Yes, Ben Hur is full of flowery speeches and extended descriptions but they tend to come at the right time and moment. In fact in the list of greatest adaptations from book to movie Ben Hur is high on the list and with good reason. There is nothing wrong adapting something to modernism. Like I mentioned the Evan and Bruce Almighty movies. They play upon common tropes but with a new look and extended twist. Meanwhile Noah takes this I think too far. It takes God’s destruction of humanity as something that means anti-humanism whereas it was much more based in man’s depravity and sin.

    In that regard though I do believe you are right when speaking of book to movie adaptations. That being because many people have a vision for how they want to see a movie unfold or how the book is viewed in their mind. Books can take a great deal of verily condensed information and dispense it into a tidal wave of description of words not necessarily as easily unpacked and disparaged within a movie. A scene in a book that could be a couple pages could sometimes be only a minute or a few seconds in a movie.

    That was another problem I heard as well when the movie was first announced. Many people exclaimed that the movie would have great visuals … however lack in all else. That is because the story in of itself can only be truly understood in context and also in its implicit meaning versus what was explicitly expressed. Whereas in the gospels you would have plenty to which to form the basis of a movie off of direct dialogue or even the life of King David.

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