Noah Surges Into Theaters

Mike McCarthy

A review of the most recent blockbuster Biblical fiction

noah-posterEmma Watson. Yeah, thats right, I said Emma Watson. I bet that caught your attention. Now you’re probably wondering why I just stated the name of the beautiful and delightfully British former Harry Potter star. Well this is because she is co-starring in the new big screen adaptation of Noah, the age-old biblical tale of the Great Flood.

The film opens with director Darren Aronofsky’s portrait of a depressingly stark antediluvian (yes, Mr. Roper, I DID just use that word) world. This is where most bible thumpers will take issue with this film as Aronofsky definitely takes some liberties with scripture in order to fill in the gaps of the biblical story. Here is the Sparknotes version of the opening: After Adam and Eve’s son Cain kills Abel, Cain flees to the protection of a group of fallen angels called the Watchers. The Watchers help Cain’s line grow and flourish by providing technological innovations such as metal that allow them to make sprawling cities. Cain’s cities grow to the point where they are destroying the environment and they are forced to encroach on the land of Seth’s (the third son of Adam and Eve) descendents.

In a dream, God shows Noah (Russell Crowe), a descendant of Seth, some brutal images of cities flooding and scores of people drowning with no hope of survival. Unsure of what he should do, Noah packs up his family and treks to the mountain home of his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). There he discovers the practical solution to the flood, build a big ol’ boat! The majority of the film centers around Noah’s struggle to build the ark while keeping his family together and making sure the descendents of Cain don’t destroy his plan.

The central message of this film is the parallel between our world and the world of Noah in terms of the environment. Cain’s descendants treat creation as merely an object for their pleasure. This is without a doubt a criticism of our society and one that has been a hot topic over the last few years. But really, this isn’t one of the more interesting themes. What I found myself enjoying most about this film was the decision of Noah as to who deserves to live and die. Throughout most of the film Noah struggles with this notion. Is man intrinsically the root of all the world’s problems, and if so should man die out completely? As Noah struggles to answer this question, his second son Ham struggles to find out what makes a man. Is it having a wife, or is it sacrificing for the common good, or is it having power over life and death? These are questions that are really impossible to answer, but it is nevertheless fascinating to see the characters struggle with them.

Noah is an biblical fiction that will thrill neither the fundamentalist Christian nor the militant atheist. Nevertheless the film’s fantastic cast brings you into the adapted world of Noah masterfully and will keep most very entertained. It also brings up many relevant points to today’s society, from global warming to intelligent design of the universe.

And did I mention Emma Watson is in it?