The movie, Noah, is out and is the big winner of the weekend. Contrary to the title, it is not a Biblical epic. It is more a Bizarro-world version of Star Wars with God in the role of Evil Emperor, Noah as Darth Vader, and the bizarre rock people as a ravenous iteration of Wookies.
I am not a stickler for detail in any historical movie or Biblical epic. Every good story takes some artistic license to fill in details and add interest. All I ask is that it not contradict the basic facts of the real story and stay true to the spirit of the truth that lay behind the original narrative. When done well, a movie can become art. When it fails, it becomes base parody. “Noah” was concerned neither with the Biblical story nor the spirit animating it. Rather, it is a modern-day parable about global warming, with some special effects supenatural critters thrown in, starring a murderously dangerous Noah as anti-hero. It is an intentional assault on Judeo-Christian tradition and piety.
The purpose of art is to look past mere detail to central and transcendant truths. Often, it distorts detail to emphasize those truths. My favorite image of the crucifixion is Salvador Dali’s impressionist effort. Whether in music, literature, or the stage, the best efforts allow us to see deeper to the central reality. The story of Noah and the flood is ultimately about redemption, God’s refusal to give up on us as a bad lot. This movie is all darkness and no light; occult with no faith; despair without hope; and action without love. It is an assault on every value dear to the Judeo-Christian heritage, values that built Western Civilization and gave people the freedom that God had always made us for.
I withheld judgment until the movie was out. I think Christians should be careful not to condemn before they know what they are dealing with. After all, it was people of “faith” who were the quickest to condemn all the prophets and Christ, Himself, without examining anything other than that they were saying something new. Even that which is not obviously pious can bear fruit in renewed attention and discussion on serious matters of faith. But this is no more an invitation to discussion than Russia’s invasion of the Crimea is an invitation to Ukraine for discussion. It is an assault, plain and simple.