It correctly began where most Biblically-literate individuals would want a Bible-based story to begin. The seven day creation. The beginning scenes quickly bought the audience up-to-date on the events that unfolded in the first days, and carried those first events on throughout the movie.
As the time setting for the movie is so archaic, individuals would have relayed stories to their kin of their forefathers. The theme on a whole unfolds in a dark manner, just as Scripture says the world is in such a state of (Genesis 6:5). The horrific depiction of cannibalism, consumption of raw flesh, and warfare is accurate, if not optimistic.
Some Controversial Points
The Film identified God largely from the viewpoint of Noah himself, meaning what Noah interpreted God to say was what God actually said. Yet, Noah finds that the Creator is the Creator of mercy as well as justice, which he leans so heavily on. He belittles his own will, and considers the flood a punishment for not only those in rebellion against God, but everyone alive, including him and his family.
The Story expands in areas where the Bible leaves indiscriptive. Noah’s son’s desire wives, and much of the early part of the story includes their adventure in pursuing wives. The Bible specifically mentions 3 wives. The film takes some liberties with the characters of “the Watchers”. The Bible does name the Nephilim (son’s of God who intermingled with the daughters of men), but these are different. It is an trival rabbit trail what or how angels were present on the Earth, and again, the movie is a fiction.There is a final scene where the character “Cain” penetrates the Ark, and attempts to seduce Ham into siding with “the glory of men”.
Theatrically Fictional Inclusions
Noah’s interpretation of the Creator’s voice is that he is to let the race of men die out. His son son Shem and his wife become pregnant, and Noah informs of his intention to kill the female offspring. It makes for a very traumatic plot twist in the movie, for which forty day’s on a boat might otherwise be boring.
A second inclusion that the script writer and production team thought riveting was to include a view of “the watchers” falling from heaven. Thier story is basically fictional, from my vantage point. The movie portray’s them as encased in a hard, rocky exterior, and their fiery spirit is smoldered by it. At Least the fiction is consistent with itself. Finally, we come to the case of Methuselah Berries. The movie makes an interesting comic relief with Methuselah, and a spontaneous desire for berries. It is slightly disrespectful to lay the burden of a berry addiction on a leary old man.
A point of serious, and perhaps subtle confusion is the serpent skin. It shows up surprisingly often in the film, and legitimately so, considering the chronology. But this skin is looked at as a power source of sorts, and Lamech is shown at the beginning as weiding it, and blessing his son with it. It glows with a deceptively luminescent glimmer, giving the appearance of the might of men. But anyone familiar with Genesis, and to a larger extent, the whole Bible knows that the serpent means the deceiver, or the devil
While he is given a depreciated role in the film, Methuselah is referred to enough to align with Scripture’s placed significance of him. His name in Hebrew actually mean’s “his death shall bring”. Whether it was intentional or not, this is a significant factor is the prophecy of God to end the world after history’s oldest living man.
There is another instance worth mentioning in regards to the backstory. Noah received several dreams that included a brief account of the first days in the garden of Eden. One image that kept returning was the stone that killed Able. It was as if it represented the rebellion in the world. At one point, Noah saw this in himself, and further fed his perception of the merciless justice of God.
Finally, the is repeated mentioning of “the image of God”. This is very significant due to the fact that free will is one of the core elements the God gave to man. The Character Cain deceptively rehashes this point, though in the end, he takes away the glory from the Creator, and claims to create the new world “in his image.”
The reality is, the Bible is vague on the story. A realistic attempt to visually capture an event so archaic is quite frankly to be congratulated. It would have to have been made sooner or later. Two and a half hours is simply going to imply some fictional Hollywood freedom. The character of God, whether He be considered to be a God of supreme, merciless justice, or a God of Love, is really left up to the individual in his personal pursuit of God. This film actually makes a significant unexpected transformation at the end where Noah’s daughter-in-law encourages him to see God in a new light. As
As with the case in any literary composition, a movie rendition will never be without criticism. And since this is from a book that has more controversy over it then any other book in history, it would be dreadful not to have criticism coming to it. But I choose to see the optimistic perspective that a high budget Hollywood film project looked to the pages of Scripture to find an adventure story.