You can scarcely open up your internet browser without seeing innumerable opinions about Paramount Pictures’ Noah. Every major news outlet from Fox to CNN to The Huffington Post has published at least one review, and both Facebook and Twitter seem to be having one long snowball fight about the merits and shortcomings of the film. So should you see it, or not?
Here is one thing both the movie’s fans and critics agree on: the movie is very different from the Ark story we have all grown up with. The story of Noah is quite short, only four chapters in the book of Genesis. (Compare that to the entire book of Psalms written by David, or the four Gospels about the life of Jesus.) With only four chapters to work with, that left director Darren Aronofsky with a lot of time to fill and quite a bit of creative liberty. Whether or not that creative liberty is used in a good way is debatable.
For example, one Yahoo! Movies user said, “The movie portrays Noah as a prophet. He and God in this movie are man-haters. No one has read the Bible. According to this movie, God hated man and the ark was to save the animals.” That seems to fly in the face of John 3:16, which is understandably upsetting to some Christians. Other complaints about the movie include “bad acting,” “talking rocks,” “failed costuming,” people eating the animals on the ark and Noah trying to kill his own grandchildren, among other things. It seems that, even if the director had time and space for creative liberties, he could have done a much better job staying true to Noah’s character.
Others have given the movie rave reviews. For example, one reviewer wrote, “I think the film preserves some of the major themes in the Old Testament – the Creator’s concerns over the state of mankind, the depravity of the human heart, the judgment of sin, and the grace of the Creator to provide an opportunity for humans to start over, a second chance. I also like how the film portrays the Creator as the Provider and Preserver of life. I appreciate how the film ties the story of the disobedience of the first humans to the corrupt human condition in Noah’s world.”
Another reviewer appreciated the contemplative nature of the film and wrote, “In this representation we are faced with a “conflicted” Noah who realizes that he and his family are no more worthy to survive than those who are outside the ark. They too are tainted by the fall of man.” There are myriad other praises for the film, including amazing special effects, epic action sequences and pro-environment themes.
The average star rating on Yahoo! Movies after the opening weekend was 2.5 out of 5 stars, 6.8 out of 10 stars on IMDB.com and a score of 68 out of 100 on Metacritic.com. If you do go see Noah, remember that it will deviate quite a bit from the Biblical account we all know so well. (The book is usually better than the movie anyway, right?) Please also note that this movie is rated PG-13 and includes violent scenes that may not be appropriate for young children.