Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hollywood's Vision of Biblical Storytelling

After the amazing success of The Passion of the Christ, Hollywood couldn't help itself. It wanted a cut of the money Gibson revealed was mostly untouched in the family-oriented, faith and values crowd. But, Hollywood (for the most part) just can't get it right, if Pixar isn't involved.

They pander. They misjudge. Therefore, we (mostly) get either the overly sappy movies without any creativity / story-telling or something which perverts the story all together.

We should expect a bit of creative license, which happened even in the Passion of The Christ. But, when they write the nature of God and/or the basis of a Biblical story right out of the script, the movie better be targeting non-church goers or it is doomed to failure.

This might be the case, sadly enough, with the new Noah film scheduled to be released in 2014. Apparently Noah is a radical environmentalist who is called to rid the world of the scourge of humans, who have messed up the environment. Ug.

Here is a snip from a screenwriter who questions the film's script:
Having gotten a chance to read an undated version of the film's script (the final film may be based on a revised script with scenes added or deleted) I want to warn you. If you were expecting a Biblically-faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history, and a tale of redemption and obedience to God, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

(Spoilers Ahead)
"Noah" paints the primeval world of Genesis 6 as scorched arid desert, dry cracked earth and a gray gloomy sky that gives no rain – and all this, caused by man’s “disrespect” for the environment. In short, an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming. How Neolithic man was able to cause such anthropogenic catastrophic climate change without the “evil” carbon emissions of modern industrial revolution is not explained. Nevertheless, humanity wanders the land in nomadic warrior tribes killing animals for food or wasteful trophies.

In this oppressive world, Noah (Russell Crowe) and his family seek to avoid the crowds and live off the land. Noah is a kind of rural shaman and vegan hippie-like gatherer of herbs. Noah explains that his family tries to study and heal the world whenever possible, like a kind of environmentalist scientist. But he also mysteriously has the fighting skills of an ancient Near Eastern Ninja.

Hey, it’s a movie. Give it a break.

Noah maintains an animal hospital to take care of wounded creatures or those who survive the evil “poachers,” of the land. Just whose animal rights laws they are violating, I am not sure, since there are only fiefdoms of warlords and tribes. Be that as it may, Noah is the Mother Teresa of animals.

Though God has not spoken to men or angels for a long time, Noah is haunted by recurring dreams of a rainstorm and flood that he surmises is God’s judgment on man.

All of God's creations are dying because of mankind, Noah says, a point with which his grandfather, Methuselah, concurs.

People are being killed, too, but it’s not really as important. The notion of human evil is more of an after thought or symptom of the bigger environmental concern of the great tree hugger in the sky.

Noah seeks advice from Methuselah, the oldest man alive, who lives in a cave. Unfortunately for fighting pacifist Noah, he has to go through the Watcher’s Land to get there. The Watchers are angels who came down from heaven to help fallen humanity by granting them wonders of knowledge from magic to science to stars, metal and fire. But when mankind turned that knowledge into weapons of war and tools of environmental devastation, God banished the Watchers to earth and turned his back on them.

Now, they reside as 18-feet tall, six-armed grumpy angelic complainers who resent mankind.

Through tricky movie dialogue, Noah convinces the Watchers to help him, and he receives a magic seed from Methuselah that blooms a magical forest in the desert. It’s really a quite imaginative and powerful scene that shows God’s miraculous provision.

Noah uses this timber to build his boat (Wait a second. Wouldn’t that make him an evil clear cutting lumberjack?). So the Watchers help him build the craft. Followed by another beautiful sequence of a magical thread of water that spreads out from the forest into all the world that calls the animals two by two to come to the ark.

Like a magical Mesopotamian Dr. Doolittle, Noah has the ability to “lead” the animals peacefully into the ark as they come from every corner of the earth. And yes, even the insects. Well, they finish building the ark, the rains start, the evil mobs try to get on the ark, but the Watchers fight them off, blah, blah, blah, movie action and we are at the midpoint of the movie, with Noah and his family on the ark, weathering out the flood.

What Noah doesn’t know is that evil warlord Akkad snuck onto the boat and plans to kill all the men and rape all the wives to start civilization as his own brood of evil minions.

Meanwhile, Noah has himself become a bit psychotic, like an environmentalist or animal rights activist who concludes that people do not deserve to survive because of what they’ve done to the environment and to animals. Noah deduces that God’s only reason for his family on the boat is to shepherd the animals to safety.

The world would be better off without humans, he concludes.
Let us hope the story isn't as bad as it sounds.

UPDATE - in an interesting twist of fate, the Hollywood version of the ark might be blown away by a big storm called Sandy...

Pray for the safety of all still affected by the storm.


O faroleiro said...

After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the "nations", in other words, towards men grouped "in their lands, each with its own language, by their families, in their nations".

stceolfrithtx said...

It doesn't look like a very well-sourced article.

Katy Anders said...

This is my favorite part: "he [Noah] also mysteriously has the fighting skills of an ancient Near Eastern Ninja."

I think I might pay $10 to see a buttkicking Noah.