Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Russell Crowe as Noah


Hollywood is making a new film with a biblical theme. This time, it's an adaptation of the biblical the account of Noah with Russell Crowe being cast in the leading role. After the wildly successful, The Passion of the Christ, I would have thought Hollywood would have caught on that people want to see these kinds of films and studios would start producing more of them. I guess it's not always about money for liberals. They have their standards too. Some just can't bring themselves to make a movie portraying the Bible in a favorable light no matter how successful the movie might be.

Some Christian movies made over the last several years have suffered from small budgets. This new endeavor, on the other hand, will have an estimated budget of $130 million. That sounds like plenty of money for special effects and all the other things that might make an epic adventure successful. I wonder if any critics are going to protest the cost of the movie the same way they have protested the Ark Encounter. $130 million could feed a lot of starving children in third world countries. These same critics who berate AiG for spending millions on the Ark Encounter seldom lament the millions Hollywood spends each year on movies that seem to glorify sex and violence.

One report describes this as an “edgy Biblical re-telling of Noah’s Ark.” It's the word “edgy” that makes me suspicious. If the film's director, Darren Aronofsky, wants this to be a smash hit, I would recommend he stick faithfully to the narrative of Genesis. There's certainly enough in the real account to make the movie thrilling. I'm worried, though, that Aronofsky will fall into the sometimes practice of Hollywood elitists who feel they need to add “depth” to the characters and story. That was the killing blow to Richard Greer's portrayal of David in the movie, King David. What? Was David not an interesting enough character without embellishing him?

I'm also curious how the movie will treat the extent of the Flood and the animals on board. Will they portray a global flood? It would be entirely possible for the movie to not commit to a global or local flood so perhaps they'll go the easy route and not say either way. It would be difficult for them, though, to hide which animals are on-board. Will they make the simple mistake of Noah bringing all “species” of animals onto the Ark? I half expect to see lions and tigers rather than a single “cat-kind.”

Finally, will the movie bring out the real message behind Noah? Will it be about a righteous God Who judges sin? Will people know that God has provided salvation to those who believe in Him? Will they see the Ark as a picture of Jesus? Somehow, I doubt it.

Most of what I know about the movie at this point is speculation. We'll have to wait and see the finished product before giving it a thumbs up or down. I'm somewhat encouraged that movie makers are looking to the Bible as the inspiration for great movies. Still, Hollywood has seldom treated Christians with the same respect they show for AIDS victims or drug users.

2 comments:

Steven J. said...

There are major problems with making a film about Noah's Ark and the Flood using only the Biblical narrative. The main one is that the biblical narrative runs to about five pages (if you go from the first mention of Noah in Genesis to the last; less if you just do the actual flood story). That's about 115 pages short of the script for a two-hour movie.

The flood account is basically the longest annotation in an annotated genealogy that runs from Adam to Abraham. The flood story contains no dialogue (God and Noah get monologues), no named female characters, four named male characters with very little characterization ... it's a story more suitable for a Flannelgraph presentation than a two-hour movie. To get a two-hour movie, a scriptwriter is going to have to invent 90% of the details.

I don't know that the producers will think to ask, say, Answers in Genesis for technical advice on how to depict the Ark and its cargo (I know that most illustrations simply depict extant species, not reconstructed "ancestral kinds;" even young-earth creationists just toss in a few known dinosaur species in the artwork), so the odds of seeing lions and tigers rather than a proto-pantherine are, I think, better than 50%.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

I understand there must be a certain amount of artistic license. This has occurred even in Christians films that I enjoyed. Names are a big thing that must be added. Dialogue is usually “padded” beyond the short exchanges recorded between characters in the biblical text. However, my concern still remains: will the theatrical account convey the same message as the biblical account? I'm hoping that it will. There's no way I can know about this movie until I see it so I'm adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude.

You said, “I don't know that the producers will think to ask, say, Answers in Genesis for technical advice on how to depict the Ark and its cargo (I know that most illustrations simply depict extant species, not reconstructed "ancestral kinds;" even young-earth creationists just toss in a few known dinosaur species in the artwork), so the odds of seeing lions and tigers rather than a proto-pantherine are, I think, better than 50%.”

When I first visited the Creation Museum the week it opened, I noticed that a model of the Ark showed both horses and zebras. I was more than a little surprised that AiG would make such an simple mistake. On subsequent visits, this had been corrected. The animals in the Ark area were very small so it was difficult to make out details. In the Garden of Eden area, there are life-size depictions of animals. In this area, I remember there were some “horse-kind” animals portrayed with a solid brown back and a spotted/striped pattern on their necks and bellies. It had a sort of donkey/zebra shape to its head. It was a reasonable attempt to merge characteristics of horses, zebras, and donkeys but I understand it's the artistic rendering of an animal that must have existed but no living person has ever seen.

I said all that to say this: given that even AiG goofed at its Museum's grand opening, and given that no one really knows what these ancestral kinds might have looked like, I agree that the odds of misrepresentation are better than even. It's unfortunate though. One criticism of the Ark is to question how Noah could have “millions of species” of animals on board. This is a straw man. Excluding the fact that the overwhelming majority of species are comprised of bacteria, plants, incests, and marine animals, even the number of terrestrial animals Noah was concerned with is often overinflated. He he didn't have tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, lynxes, etc. He had 2 cats. If this movie portrays tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, lynxes, etc, it will feed the straw man criticism.

Thanks for your comments.

God bless!!

RKBentley