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Summer Movies 2014

Updated on July 8, 2014

reboot

If you have been to this hub before, the old reviews are gone. Obviously. It was time to move on. There is a decided shortage of new reviews because no one has requested any. I added Noah because I went to see it and it made me think.

Noah

Date: Being pulled from theaters by July 2014

Synopsis: From the Bible, about the patriarch who was told by God that a Deluge was coming that would destroy all mankind and therefore he was to save two of each species of animal on an ark.

Warning for this review: If you are attention deficit, skip to a shorter review. If you have a brain that you are in control of, then turn off your phone and get comfortable. This review is longer than the movie itself.


Noah




Biblical Epics -- Back in days of yore (about the 1950's), Biblical epics were made with huge budgets, big name directors, all-star casts, on a grand scale with thousands of extras. This is not that. Yes there are some name actors but one is painfully aware that, in large scenes, CGI fakery was used instead of real people and animals trained by Hollywood wranglers. The director said that this was a deliberate choice rather than one forced by budget constraints.




casting and Hollywood assumptions -- Back in the day when biblical epics were the biggest movies that there were, Hollywood had more diversity than in this all white cast. We are expected to believe that people from Asia Minor are all European with no sign of Asians and no Africans (the human race began in Africa). To this day, most skin on this planet is brown. Case in point, in The Ten Commandments there were Nubians both among the Exodus and in a scene with a king and queen. Of course, Hollywood believed then and now that Egypt is in Northern Europe despite the fact that ancient Egyptians referred to their land as Kmet which means black and that the "Egyptians" (a name applied to them not self-applied) wore their hair in cornrows and images of ancient people of Kmet show decidedly black people. To this very day, Egyptians are dark-skinned though not as dark if Arabs had not overrun the land and made average complexion more Arabic. This would be more obvious if Muslims did not salivate over erasing history (the Muslim Brotherhood wants to demolish the pyramids). You don't need me to tell you that Hollywood is racist since you have probably heard that before or already know it if you are liberal or black. If you are conservative, then you are clueless on the matter and nothing I say will penetrate your cast-in-cement opinions. Like cement overshoes, they will take you straight to the bottom. The movie portrays Adam and Eve as literally glowing people of light rather than the naked white couple that Hollywood usually depicts. So it is an improvement over previous Noah movies.


Russell Crowe does a creditable job as Noah and I absolve him of any script problems since he did not write it. So I forgive him for not rescuing that second girl. As a writer myself, it is the writer that I do not forgive. Jennifer Connelly plays Noah's wife and is a refreshing change from women who are either too strong or too weak. That makes her character real.


humor department -- Hermione Granger plays the adopted daughter of Noah. The Bible says suffer no witch to live and so Noah gets the crazy idea to kill her baby be it a witch. Of course, the Bible was oral before Moses wrote it down and so no such anti-Wiccan law was on the books yet. Followers of Kabbalah, heathen, Wiccans and other pagans speak of a Lilith before Eve but there is no Lilith in this movie and the flood would have wiped out the Lilith bloodline anyway. So when Jerry Johnson calls this movie pagan, I have to wonder what coven he belongs to.


special effects -- The movie has glowing stones. The only glowing stones that I know of in real life are some minerals that fluoresce after exposure to UV light. The rocks in this movie that glow are used for starting fires but are obviously not flint. One could speculate that they are pieces of slaughtered Watchers (living rocks) but that is pointless speculation since the Bible does not mention glow rocks. The only other rocks that glow are radioactive and you do not want to be in the same county with such matter. In fact, you should force your government to get such material out of your state and your country entirely, unless you like cancer.


The best part of the movie for me was a special effect involving the Garden of Eden. No, not that horror-movie inspired forbidden fruit. The shed snake skin that was used as a hand-tefillin, or shel yad.

If you are an ignorant Gentile like me, then you probably do not know that a Gentile is anyone who is not Jewish. As a Christian who is aware that Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the Apostles, authors of the Bible, the patriarchs and pretty much anyone of consequence in the New or Old Testament was Jewish; I am greatly appreciative when any Hollywood movie makes an effort to either make a Biblical movie accurate (whatever else one can say about Mel Gibson, Passion of the Christ was more accurate than any other Good Friday movie) or informative. Observant and Ultra-orthodox Jewish men still strap small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah around their arm during weekday morning prayers. Noah was pre-Mosaic and the scenes where he wraps the snake skin (a substitute for leather strap) around his arm connects Adam and Moses in a straight line in the most elegant manner possible.


So elegant in fact that it manages to please the PETA and vegans who don't believe in killing cattle to get hide for leather. Elegant because modern tefillin use leather. For non-Jews, you may be unaware that the whole idea of being humane to animals came from the Jewish tradition of ritual slaughter with very sharp knives to make it quick and not drag it out like in most Gentile-owned slaughterhouses and meat packing plants. Hey, that red meat does not get in the meat section of the supermarket by magic. Farming involves both the seed of life and the end of life. It is called harvest. I like to be educated about things in the Bible that I never before understood. A Jewish kosher butcher is called a shochet. In the Bible, God commands not that we eat no meat but that we never eat an animal that is still alive. I saw a restaurant that practices the ultimate in cruelty. A fish is kept alive and the tail half of the fish is fried and then the fish is served like that with the head half still alive and in agony over being fried and gasping for air out of water. People who operate a restaurant like that and people who eat in a restaurant like that do not even try to be sensitive to the feelings of animals. You have seen the type. They revel in how insensitive they can be to animals, trees and humans. Perhaps they think themselves macho or cool or whatever. They are sick twisted sadists.


At some point, we need a prophet to say to humans that we are not animals (or at least we should not be animalistic) and that we should stop being so fruitful and stop multiplying because of overpopulation. When sociopaths outnumber gentle people like in this movie, we do not need God to tell us that disaster is coming. But it helps. Even animals do not "act like animals". We humans must learn to be more humane, lest God get the idea to impose population control. Better to learn birth control, family planning (Noah's family did not have babies until the Flood was over), and use contraceptives than breed like roaches. Better to control our population ourselves than to have God impose population control. Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for all things. A time to have babies and a time not to have babies. Now in this time of terror, overpopulation and cancer-causing pollution is not a time to bring babies into the world. Are you insane to even consider it? Will Christians and Jews (and maybe Zoroastrians, the Magi) have to pack up and flee the Earth in space arks? Flee the whole Solar System if the sun goes nova and Jupiter stops absorbing most of the comets that otherwise would hit Earth? If the stars themselves are sucked into the ultra-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy, will a chosen few or a self-chosen people have to flee the Milky Way in space arks? The Book of Revelation does raise such questions. And this movie, and all the disaster movies and all the post-Apocalyptic movies, and all the Rapture books out there teach us that when God decides to kill, He does it in a BIG way and does not care what our opinion is on the subject.


But back to leather. I happen to know that leather boots can be made out of anything from cowhide to ostrich and from alligator to snake skin. A snake sheds its skin and so you do not need to kill one to make leather from its skin. Even all these words fail to properly convey and say how elegant those scenes were, the scenes themselves do this in mere seconds.


I did not see the rainbow in this movie even though my eyes never left the screen during the movie. The rainbow is a big part of the Noah story so that particular special effect must not have been very special.


comment -- Noah was called the second Adam. Christ has been called the Second Adam. Noah saved the physical body. Christ saved the spiritual body or soul.


story, screenplay and script -- Instead of the usual gentle Noah with giraffe heads sticking out of the top of the ark deal, we have an action star Noah who avoids fights but can give a punch as well as he can take one. Moreover, this Noah has a conscience because he is well aware that people will die including children and the Bible itself points out that animals die too. Only two of each species survive. Instead of unthinking and gentle Noah, this Noah thinks and this Noah fights for his family. In fact, this version of Noah only once fights for someone not in his family - an adopted daughter. Instead of previous non-controversial Noahs, this has a PETA and a vegan sensibility that eating meat is as low as humans can go in the sin department. {Actually slavery, genocide and mind control are as low as the human race can go. Let us hope no worse sins are invented.} While I am no supporter of PETA and I am not a vegetarian, I am definitely strongly an environmentalist as a direct result of being a Christian. So the ecology-friendly style of the story is probably the best aspect of the movie for me. The only other movie out there that is blatantly pro-environment is Avatar (the biggest box office movie of all time). Other movies seem too cowardly to speak up for Creation which otherwise has no voice but ours. The Earth has no voice. Trees have no voice. We are their voice.


Other movies about Noah have portrayed him as a Pied Piper leading the animals not over a cliff like lemmings but into the ark for safety. Still other movies make him out to be Saint Francis of Assisi (the saint who loved animals) with a family. At least we do not have to endure the Mormon version in which black people bear the mark of Cain. Hard to do in a movie with an all white cast anyway.


One of the liberties taken with the Bible in this movie is the Tolkienesque idea of Watchers, no doubt inspired by the walking trees in Lord of the Rings. Here the Watchers are living rocks and some Watchers decide to help Noah. The help is needed because Noah's family is small. Too small to build an ark.


Not sharing the media's hatred of multi-generational families nor the media's hatred of several generations under the same roof, I went into this movie thinking that Noah's family consisted of adult children, their spouses, children and their grandchildren. And it did but only eventually. If I had bothered to read my Bible, then I would have known better. Do I need to remind anyone who has or has not seen the movie that great-grandfather Methuselah lived almost one thousand years? They did not have cancer or heart disease or diabetes back in those days. In the fossil record, there is evidence of arthritis back then but not the big killer diseases of today. Therefore, Noah's family should have been almost a tribe. Certainly more than six people. Assuming an average of twenty years per generation, do the math on Methuselah. That aside, the Bible clearly says that Noah begat sons when he was 500 years old. The rain started when Noah was 600. The ark was so big that it took a century to build and in that time easily five generations could have made Noah's tribe even bigger. Even if some children and grandchildren ran off because they were tired of working on Noah's crazy obsession with some disaster that was coming, there would still be quite a big family. As I said, almost a tribe. So as not to spoil the movie for you, I will not reveal how large Noah's family was nor spell out what the watchers actually were but anyone who studies the Bible know that there were giants back in those days which we moderns take to mean taller than NBA players and perhaps taller than eight feet. Goliath would be an example. They were the result of {blank} mating with humans. You who study the Bible know what fills the blank. The rest of you just see the movie and if that does not enlighten you, then don't bother. A big part of the plot involves wives for Noah's sons before the flood. The Bible clearly answers this question.


I suppose building a big boat in your backyard and a special effect involving an ark must have seemed boring to the Hollywood studio executive that green lighted this movie and so the producers felt compelled to juice it up with action scenes, taking liberties with the plot stated in the Bible, and portraying Noah as half-mad (like the way believers are portrayed today by the media and right wingnuts). I was not happy with Noah leaving two particular individuals behind. One in a bear trap and one that I discuss elsewhere. Were there stowaways on the ark? The writer apparently felt that his story provided motivation for Ham to look on and not help as his father fought and look on and not help when his father went into a deep depression after the human race was destroyed. The other two sons looked after their father and Canaan was supposed to get a curse but the filmmakers probably wisely sidestepped a huge row of controversy as I have alluded to elsewhere in this review by omitting this.


The devil makes a surprise appearance in this movie. Not so much the serpent in the Garden of Eden but unexpectedly when at night Noah infiltrates the camp (grown into a city) of people slated to be washed away in the Flood out of curiosity as to what threat they pose to his family and also the practical purpose of finding other girls like Ila (Emma Watson) as possible wives for his sons. Noah sees Satan show his face in person amidst scenes of slavery, scenes of human sacrifice and cannibalism, and scenes of slaughter of animals trying to pass through on the way to the ark. Ham goes out during the day to infiltrate the camp of non-believers and also may or may not see Satan.


God gives everyone the silent treatment. As everyone knows, this can be quite painful. Prisoners held in solitary too long can go insane. In the real world, some people become atheists. Some people give up hope and some Republicans even make fun of the Biblical virtue of hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). In this movie, non-believers simply give up hope because God does not speak to them. There are ways to hear God's voice without going mad or off the deep end (but I will have to write about that in another article and not in this review). In theatrical movies and TV movies made since the Sixties and Nineteen-Seventies, it has become the convention to portray God as speaking in a whisper. In 21st Century movies, not even that. In today's movies, God speaks only in the form of vague dreams and dreams are notorious for being subject to a million interpretations. Likewise, people interpret the Bible a million different ways. Sure, some low-budget Christian videos portray God as speaking in a clear voice that more than one person can hear (so that others do not think that you are crazy) or having an archangel deliver the message in clear and very unmistakable words. However, only one or two people see such videos made for preaching to the choir. Or perhaps only the evangelist who produced it . We are talking about movies for the masses or for missionary work. In this movie, the convention of God not talking is used to good effect instead of being the flaw in the script that ruins the whole movie like in other movies. In fact, it drives the plot especially once the rain starts. The message is free will. Like Adam, man (and woman) is supposed to exercise his or her free will and choose to do good (do gooders) or choose to have better (reformers and self-improvers and civic improvement advocates) or even choose to be the best. God clearly meant to kill the non-believers but it was up to Noah to figure out that God was not trying to kill believers or kill off the human race entirely. Once Noah realized that he could not kill, his wife pointed out that God gave Noah a choice. Choose not to kill people (later to make it to the Top Ten, er, The Ten Commandments) and perhaps vegans would add, choose not to kill animals. Being always the odd woman out, I, Toni Roman, would add: "Don't kill plants. Or least not trees because they and the oceans make the oxygen we breathe."


Hey, plants have no voices and cannot cry out in pain when they are killed so don't bother me with hypocritical concern for animals when we are killing the forests. The landscape of this movie has tree stumps everywhere. True fact: thousands of years ago, there was a Sahara Forest before there was a Sahara Desert. The movie depicted that part right.


After the birds, the second group of animals to arrive are the crawlers (reptiles and insects). I am not particularly sympathetic to insects other than bees (they make honey), butterflies (they are beautiful and they pollinate crops), and ants (the Bible says that they are a people). I would prefer a world without mosquitoes, houseflies, gnats, parasites and other creatures of Satan but I have to acknowledge that they are part of the ecosystem. I still would prefer a plant-only world without animals except blue whales and elephants. I like big whales and big elephants. No killer Orcas because they eat people. Save whale sharks and basking sharks but let mega-mouth sharks and great white sharks and all other sharks go extinct. The wrong species are going extinct while species like harmful bacteria and viruses are flourishing and killing innocent people. There are germs like yeast which when I look at them under a microscope have green pigment dot inside them but do not do photosynthesis. Yeast are neither single-celled plants nor bacteria. They are fungi. Some strains are bad and cause yeast infections. One strain (S. boulardii) can protect you against diarrhea and Clostridium (a genus that includes botulism, gangrene and tetanus). Don't like yeast? Then your bread will rise from the salt rising (the bacteria that cause gangrene) instead of brewer's yeast. You drunks would have to give up alcohol if brewer's yeast went extinct. There are good bacteria though, like the ones that make cheese and yogurt and soil bacteria that help food crops absorb nitrogen but I know of no good viruses. Immediately the biotechnology scientists speak up and remind me of obscure viruses that benefit humanity. HG Wells wrote a book called Men Like Gods where the very concept of human selection of which species live and which go extinct is discussed. Evolutionary biologists speak of natural selection where chance and the weaknesses of an individual or a species can kill it off. Unnatural selection or human selection would simply be the domestication of all of Nature. Not just cows and chickens and wheat and bees (domesticated bees are different from wild bees) but all animals and plants and fungi and single-celled organisms. Those who study biology are aware that plants and animals are only two kingdoms of living things. Scientists are still discovering species in rain forests and at the bottom of the ocean and in caves. Some creatures were here before the dinosaurs. Case in point: horseshoe crabs. A state ignorant about everything else, South Carolina, got it right when it decided to protect horseshoe crabs from being slaughtered for bait and fertilizer. It is a fact (whether you like it or not) that two industries depend upon the humble horseshoe crab. Now returning to the movie review, horseshoe crabs are one of the most horrific looking creatures I can imagine: like a cross between a scorpion and a face hugger from the Alien horror movie. Turns out, horseshoe crabs are harmless and if they go extinct, then fisheries and ecosystems dependent on them will collapse (destroying the fishing industry) and medical testing (destroying the health industry). In other words, humans lose jobs and die. So God and Noah had the right idea to save two of every species except sea life who could ride out the flood underwater. You might think that after that serpent in the Garden of Eden and the words in Genesis about snakes biting your heel and your boot crushing their head, that snakes should drown with the bad people. I have to give makers of "Noah" credit for being more decent than me in having the snakes prominently featured boarding the ark. We don't know which species of snake was possessed by Satan to tempt Eve. I don't know of any species of snake that talks. I know of talking birds and other species that communicate (after a fashion) with humans. No snakes. So the species that Satan possessed may not have made it to the ark. We don't even know with 100% certainly that Eve was even tempted by a snake. The Bible said serpent not snake. It could have been a dragon. There are land animal species other than snakes that don't have legs. I have snakes around my house and I long ago decided to let them be. When I was a child, we killed them on sight. As an adult, I decided that I hated rats and mice more than snakes. Snakes eat rats and mice. So welcome new best friend. There is a king snake that lives in my neighborhood. By now, most people know that you never ever kill a king snake. Also, there are species of snakes that have no means of self-defense. They have neither venom nor do they constrict. Based on what you know about how evil humans can be, what do you think will happen? The harmless species and the helpful species will be slaughtered and the venomous species that can kill children and the harmful species will be released into the wild by callous people in Florida. So the movie gets brownie points for not demonizing snakes. The mammals are the third group of species to arrive on the ark before they close the hatch.


More brownie points are earned for a clever way of answering the question: How do you feed all those animals? Some animals are carnivores and eat other animals while others like alligators and pythons can go months without eating. I have been to zoos and asked the zookeepers and their animal chow is the biggest item in the zoo budget. Even more than zookeepers' salaries and benefits. Answer: You put the animals to sleep hibernating. [Trivia: Elephants have to sleep on their stomachs because otherwise if they sleep over four hours on their side, they die.] Noah's family uses incense to lull the critters to sleep. By the way, the Bible itself says Moses was instructed by God to bring provender or feed for the animals aboard. A logistical nightmare.


One more scene that will mean nothing to anyone except birdwatchers and ornithologists. Someone tell me: Was that bird that Noah's wife doctors back to health an Ivory-billed Woodpecker? If so, then the movie makers get a gold star for throwing in an obscure reference that only one person in a million would understand. The ivory-billed woodpecker was thought extinct until a few years ago when a couple of birdwatchers spotted one in a remote forest. Nice to know that any creature can survive mankind's current war to exterminate all species including humans. God must get furious every time one of His species goes extinct. They are innocent. We humans are not. We should know better. Especially if we are Christians.


I have criticized the movie for taking current opinions in media and acting as if it were chiseled in stone (like the ten commandments). The media treats any family as weird if more than one generation lives under the same roof. In much of the USA and in all of saner countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe, this is more the norm than the exception. Maybe the media is anti-family. Whatever. This is telling not only in scenes where Noah has got the notion that God wants Noah's family to die out completely, babies and all. Human sacrifice is a subject better treated in a movie about Abraham and Isaac. If one know nothing else about Jewish people or the ancient Hebrews from which they come or the Habiru of Hebron (from which they come) or the descendants of Eber from which they come or the progenitor Shem from whom all Semites come (both Jewish and Arab); then one should know that they are intensely family oriented. Killing babies would have been unthinkable and so the script fails on that important point. Certain themes echo repeatedly in the Bible and one of them is Moses saved from Pharaoh's order by floating him in his private ark on the Nile. So with people so family-centered, they would look out for their old. Not like the "Eskimo" whom we are told like nothing better than to chop off the fingers of the old who try to climb back aboard the family boat to escape being abandoned on melting ice floes. I don't know whether this bit of Arctic lore is true but the point is that the media portrays abandoning old people in old folks home as the way it should be. I know of people who would never allow their parents or other elders to be abandoned. We all have heard the horror stories of the bed sores and people tied down with restraints. Methuselah in this movie is quite a healthy man in this movie and in the Bible but the script does not have him brought aboard the ark. The modern notion of throwing away old people is not in keeping with reality outside Hollywood (LA) city limits nor the past. The old know history and other knowledge. This is useful when books have not been invented yet. They can work. Even when arthritic, they can watch grandchildren and teach. While Noah was busy building the ark, gathering supplies and keeping an eye out for crazy non-believers armed with swords; why would Methuselah presumably wise from a millennium of living not be pitching in to help? Because the script needed him to be part of the Old Order and not the New World Order -- also a silly modern notion promulgated by the media and right wingnuts. Old Order. Might as well call it the Old Order Amish. The idea in the media that anything old is bad is as stupid as the notion that all change is good or all change is bad. It depends. The idea that old is bad is a recipe for cultural amnesia and one of the telling diseases of modern times is Alzheimer's where your memory is destroyed. I cannot think of a worse way to go since your memory is you. The body is just a temple for your soul but the body has to be respected as much as the mind has to be respected and as much as the spirit has to be respected. We live in an age when the body is mutilated for amusement (piercings) and covered with graffiti. Tattoos are forbidden by Leviticus 19:28 but Noah was long before the writing of the Torah. We live in an age when people actually want to delete, erase and purge their minds by uploading them to the internet -- as if there was anything of any worth there (aside from my questions). We live in an age where atheism is growing and people think the concept of the human soul and the human spirit is fantasy. Can we be surprised that governments react to this belief by treating us as if we had no souls? In communist (atheist) countries, they have no compunctions about murdering people in numbers that exceed that of the pagan Hitler who only murdered twelve million. Six million Jews plus six million Gentiles. Russia alone liquidated forty million plus. One can understand why right wingers get berserk when you mention commies.


Aronofsky should have had grown sons with wives since it took at least forty years to build the ark. The countdown from the time Noah knew the end was coming was one hundred twenty years. Tradition says that Methuselah died seven days before the Flood started so he did not perish in the Flood. In fact, God may have been holding back the rain just for Methuselah. If one was going to take liberties with the Bible, then bring grandfather aboard.


The movie "Noah" may wisely sidestep that curse on Canaan while contradictorily continuing Hollywood racism by dodging diversity but overall the movie wins points for not being a total exercise in revising the Bible (See: Jehovah's Witness version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon). Mormons used to believe that Africans and people of African descent were cursed and that black skin is the curse of Ham. I opened my Bible and learned that it was Canaan (as in Canaanites) that was cursed not Ham. Justifiably, Mormons will never live down that racism and that reading error. Nor should they be allowed to live it down. People of color are the majority of the human race. We white folks are not some star people (New Age UFO racism) nor evil elite (or at least we should not be) nor some lost tribe as in Anglo-Israelism nor the bloodline of Jesus because Jesus did not have children nor polygynous wives. Equality simply makes more sense because if the Tea Party succeeds in bringing back slavery, then white people could be the slaves. The only favoritism God shows is toward the Hebrews and the kind of favoritism God shows is to load them up with a lot of laws to obey, a lot of obligations as a priesthood, and a lot of responsibility. Plus many Gentiles stupidly think that they are supposed to kill Jews on sight. You want to be God's Chosen? Fine, convert to Judaism instead of cooking up your own religion (all the denominations).


humor department part two -- Ham was cursed. That is why to this very day, the kosher diet does not include ham. Rim shot.



Review Continued

humor department part two -- Ham was cursed. That is why to this very day, the kosher diet does not include ham. Rim shot.


story, screenplay and script part two -- I honestly believe that every Biblical epic script that shows a patriarch willing to do what God asks but extremely reluctant to lead gets it exactly right. They have to give up time with their wife, time with their children, time with their grandchildren, pleasant hobbies, a quiet life, and risk being maimed. Losing an eye or an arm. There were no hospitals back then. Joshua was the exception to this rule. He seemed born to lead. He even orders around Moses: "Stand up on that rock so that the people can see you and have hope!" Brilliant general and with a flair for public relations. Moses hated public speaking so much that, in exasperation, God let Aaron deliver many of Moses' speeches. Likewise the Noah in this movie really dreads what is to come but he sets out on a long trek with his family and is not the happy camper seen in other Noah adaptations. Human race to die and must spend 24/7/365 building a huge ark. That does not sound like fun. The director got that and made Noah a brooding man.


What sort of man cares about plants and animals? Noah is shown as a child taught by his father to care. The first man, Adam, was asked to look after the Garden of Eden. One of his descendants in each generation must have shown some sense in this regard. Methuselah evidently learned a few things in his long life and it is plausible that a few seeds from the Garden got into his possession. It is reasonable to think that bereft of his father Lamech, Noah would ask Methuselah whenever he needed advice. The movie kills off Lamech early but in the Bible, Lamech is still alive until five years before the flood. Do the math. Genesis 5: 28-32, Genesis 7: 6 and Genesis 7:11.


humor department part three -- By the way, the Garden of Eden was never destroyed. God merely kicked Adam and Eve out and left an angel to guard the entrance. I always thought it was an archangel or even a seraph. No sane person messes with the higher ranking angels. Turns out when I looked it up that God left a cherub. You know those babies with wings. So if you can find this garden and can talk your way past the cute baby, then you are in like Flynn. Just don't eat the forbidden fruit (the tree of knowledge of good and evil). That would be doubly stupid because we have a whole Bible to explain why it is stupid and it might be poisonous which would explain why God made it forbidden in the first place. Hemlock is poisonous but the tree provides shade. Now once you are inside the Garden the main attraction is the tree of life (wisdom). This is when you discover that Solomon had no problem acquiring wisdom even though he grew up outside the Garden. Nudists can imitate pre-expulsion Eden. And as for immortality, Enoch and a couple of other people mentioned in the Bible who were never in the Garden have that and if humanity spends its money and genius on medical research instead of developing weapons, then all of us could have physical immortality in addition to the spiritual immortality we already have. Besides, let's rethink getting past those cherubim. Yes I know that they are probably bored out of their skulls (Who is trying to get into Eden?) and so the babies must think this is a make work assignment by God. Equivalent in the corporate world to being transferred to the branch office in Pole of Cold, Siberia. Yes babies like candy and so you should come armed with a box of chocolates. Like Forrest Gump said, you never know what you will get. Those babies are armed with flaming swords and can stick one up yours.


Biblical accuracy -- meh. A lot of other Christians seemed to give the movie a pass on this. Perhaps they are more forgiving than me.


scientific accuracy -- It is adequate in this department. I must confess to pleasant surprise that a lot of my fellow Christians were just fine with the evolutionary biology alongside scripture in this movie. Maybe it is just Fundamentalists who were home schooled or sent to segregated Christian academies who have a problem with evolution. I grew up knowing that Darwin was a Christian and that evolution did not conflict with the Bible. I mean science is science and religion is religion and math is math and engineering is engineering. Why should any field conflict with the others? I never bought into Conflict Thesis. Even during the years when I strictly hung out with other Fundamentalists, they never ever talked about creationism. Creation yes. Intelligent design and other pseudoscience no. In fact, I remember the elders in my community specifically warning about pseudoscience like astrology. So Christianity may be healthier than I thought. Still I stamp out the fires of ignorance whenever I come across it. We need more light than heat, more enlightenment than heated arguments. Instead of arguing, the first scientists said: "Let's find out."


research -- Normally, this is one department that I would not review in a movie review. However, this movie made me change that policy. If movie makers are going to monkey with the Bible or flesh it out then I want to know from where the material came. The Ten Commandments was sourced from Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Pillar of Fire by Rev. J. H. Ingraham, On Eagle's Wings by Rev. A. E. Southon, Dr. Labib Habachi of the Department of Antiquities Luxor; Doctors Seele, Marcus and Hughes of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute; Rabbi Rudolph Lupo of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles, researchers Henry Noerdlinger and Gladys Percey; the ancient texts of Philo, Josephus, Eusebius, The Midrash, and The Holy Scriptures.


"Noah" was sourced from the apocryphal Book of Enoch to flesh out the Biblical story as the Bible tends to be very economical with words whether dealing with individuals in brief cameos or with entire nations over hundreds of years. Noah's wife is called Naamah in Jewish tradition but Emzara in the Book of Jubilees. Genesis 6:18 says, "I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you." (English Standard Version) 1 Peter 3:20 says, "eight persons were brought safely through water." (ESV)


censorship -- The movie apparently dodged studio interference because there were three alternate versions tested with Christian audiences who hated the alternate cuts and so they went back to the director's cut. The movie is banned in some Muslim countries because they apparently feel that they (a new religion) should be consulted on Judeo-Christian matters when they never consult us on the Koran. I leave it to the reader to discuss that on forums. Along with slavery and genocide, this is a good example of mind control. My mother went to see Moustapha Akkad's Mohammad, Messenger of God in 1976. There were the predictable bomb threats and a mob that said Mohammed should not be depicted. This is another example of mind control. Would I go see a Muslim movie? No, because I know better than to risk getting blown up. Not only did I feel safe going to see "Noah", the thought of safety never entered my mind.


box office -- Box office should not be a part of a movie review but since a lot of new Biblical epics are being planned, I guess it is a part of the review. Judged by opening weekend, "Noah" seemed a hit. However, a movie has to make back more than its budget and this one has not so far and may never because as we speak, the Blu-Ray is about to come out (July 29) and selling the DVD is the kiss of death to a movie in the theatres in case you do not know how the business works. If you don't go now to a dollar theater, then you will never see this one on a big screen and big screen is how Biblical epics were meant to be seen. Not on your watch or phone. It is a shame that I have to tell non-cinemaphiles these obvious things. Box office so far has topped $352 million worldwide. This amount is considered a modest success since it made back its budget and then made more than the benchmark of two and a half budget plus forty million. It has been called an unmitigated hit.


fan reaction -- All over the place. Even I initially disliked the film but am open to seeing it a second time to see what I missed the first viewing. That human sacrifice scene and that rainbow scene must have been edited down to microseconds but other people report seeing them and so I cannot dismiss it until I have seen the movie a second time. It definitely can be a conversation piece. But I have not heard of any fistfights over the movie.


release -- Back in the old days of Biblical epics like The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur and The Robe, a big movie might be re-released. Gone With The Wind, Ryan's Daughter, Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia have been re-released to theatres. None as often as GWTW. Now the studios rush them onto Blu-Ray, sell them to cable and finally have a broadcast premiere. This kills the possibility of seeing a big picture on a big screen if you missed it the first release. Like I said, some movies are meant for the big screen like 2001: a space odyssey and The Ten Commandments. It makes no sense to watch an epic on a small screen. It just is not the same. I don't care what technology you have in your man cave. Big screen, big audience, big reaction. Simple. Perhaps the next Biblical epic will not be rushed into digital HD and piracy and bootleg.


the director -- I obviously long for the style of Cecil B. DeMille but it would be unfair to compare Darren Aronofsky to him. Unfair but I am going to do it anyway. Whenever any director takes on a Biblical epic, he or she is now in the big leagues. Cecil B. DeMille won a Thalberg. For those who do not know, a Thalberg is a super-Oscar. It is an honor to get a nomination (though the Academy has cheapened and watered that down by having ten nominations instead of five). It is even better to win. And getting a Thalberg is best of all because they don't give them out every year. They are rare and exclusive. In one decade, none were given out. The only directors that I reckon could do a top job of doing a biblical epic would be Steven Spielberg (duh, how could you leave him off a list?), Cary Fukunaga (before he did Jane Eyre, I would have dismissed any Asian director as capable of doing biblical epics, I mean they are atheistic Buddhists aren't they? But his Jane Eyre is haunting if nonlinear), Ang Lee (ditto), James Cameron (after Titanic and Avatar, he should not waste his talent on hentai trash like Battle Angel when he could be writing about real angels. I used to write Terminator fan fiction and so I know something about cybernetic heroines), Kenneth Branagh (Shakespeare cred, other impressive achievements), Norman Jewison (Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Agnes of God, In Country. He is 87 and may not want to come out of retirement.), Jean-Luc Godard (he is 83 and still directing and you film school students better know who he is), Spike Lee (my wild card choice on the basis of his work on Malcolm X), Oliver Stone (idealistic and controversial. My curiosity is intrigued about what would result if you let such a man loose with a book of the Bible. You'd get something idealistic and controversial. Also, the man loves research so he would not phone it in unlike other directors.), Kathryn Bigelow (her movies prove that she can do both heavy drama and big action movies), Ron Howard (known for his sunny personality but Apollo 13 proved that he can research a subject), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, The Peacemaker), and Christopher Nolan (did little film Memento and massive Batman trilogy). So who is this Darren Aronofsky to compete with the likes of the directors on my wish list of directors most capable of helming a Biblical epic? Black Swan is classy because it is about ballet but for my money, his real credential is that he did The Fountain because of the subject matter: immortality. The Bible is about eternal life. Anyone who does not know that must have been smoking pot during the part of the Old Testament when Enoch did not die because he walked with God. Pot destroys memory. Anyone who does not know that Jesus spoke of eternal life in the New Testament has been deafened by too many Bible pounders more interested in pounding your head than in actually helping your spiritual walk. Possibly because in the Bible Belt some people have no spiritual walk. You cannot lynch people and walk with God. You cannot drop bombs on people in foreign lands and walk with God. You cannot wipe out tribes of natives in Africa and South America for oil and walk with God. The movie "Noah" makes the point very early in the movie that God is really pissed about men like Tubal-Cain learning the arts of war. If humans like to kill, then God can out-kill them. Nuclear strategists call it overkill. God calls it Flood the first time. Fire the next time. Global warming? Darren Aronofsky understood this. Welcome to the big league.

Directors to keep away from biblical material: Micheal Bay tops the list for Transformers (this alone should disqualify him), Pearl Harbor (known in some circles as Girl Harbor), and Armageddon. Naming an asteroid movie Armageddon when any numbskull knows that Armageddon is a battle not a rock and certainly not a roll 'n roll concert at the end of the world. If you need further convincing (and you shouldn't) that he should not be allowed near a Biblical epic script, then consider his other cinematic atrocities: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. A Christian should not need it explained to them that hurting people is wrong and therefore going to a movie to watch the protagonist being hurt only caters to the sadistic evil side of humans. If I have to be forced to watch a horror movie, then I would rather watch The Exorcist where the heroic priests are trying to help a little girl by exorcising a demon. I call that a positive outcome - not going to a snuff film to see how much human suffering and slashing and splattering your eyes can see without averting them. You are just desensitizing yourself to violence. Siskel & Ebert once alerted me to the folly of slasher pix. Such flix encourage macho nuts to go out and slash women and they encourage violence against men too.

Other directors to keep away from Biblical scripts? I would like to see your blacklist of directors to never allow near a Bible. Theoretically, everyone should read the Bible but only people inspired by God should make movies based on something they read in the Bible. Based on the incredible venom spewed at bigoted-when-drunk Mel Gibson, no one in hindsight would allow him near a Biblical script but he wrote one and Passion of the Christ still causes people to commit their lives to Christ. Go figure. God chooses people we never would.


history of the project -- Aronofsky got interested in the story of Noah in the seventh grade. It was not until after 1998's Pi that he started considering his next movie and remembered his early interest in the Noah. Several movies were made in the interval {Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan} before he was finally able to start production. Production was ironically halted by Superstorm Sandy, the one that came knocking at the door of the climate change deniers in Manhattan. Rather than use real animals, Aronofsky opted for tweaking CGI images possibly because he wanted to portray a lot of extinct species like the canine (dog) that has scales instead of fur and apparently is the last of its kind. Production budget was $125 million, $175 including marketing.


the producers -- You don't need to be a Christian to make a movie that edifies (spiritually educates) Christians. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci had some questionable episodes in their lives but their work speaks for itself. Some of the best music both classical and rock has been made by musicians with drug problems. We all have feet of clay. [That reference to feet of clay comes straight from the concept that Adam was made from the Earth.] One might truthfully say that the best Biblical movies were made by people who were not Christians.


the critics -- Critics were surprisingly kind to this movie. Even some critics who panned the movie made remarks like "offers plenty of lessons even if you don't buy the whole package" and "only an artist could have made it."


religious community -- The Archbishop of Canterbury called the movie "interesting and thought-provoking". Christian organizations such as the American Bible Society and the National Catholic Register expressed support. I was pleasantly shocked that even Focus on the Family was unfazed by the creative interpretation. There is hope for Christianity yet despite the young earth creationists, who lost a major battle with real scientists in the American Scientific Affiliation (a learned society for scientists who are Christians), and despite the president of the National Religious Broadcasters (climate change denier extremists) slamming the movie. These wingnuts know that the rest of Christendom is moving them to the fringe because of undeniable evidence of climate change (we can see it with our own eyes ), because of scientific evidence and because many Christians are tired of their hatred of liberals, hatred of blacks (President Obama in particular no matter how many times he professes his Christian faith), hatred of women, hatred of the poor, hatred of labor, and perhaps most tellingly, hatred of God's creation. This last is expressed by Jerry Johnson equating environmental common sense and wisdom with paganism. This is an insult to every Christian who believes that Jesus commanded stewardship of our time, talent and treasury. One cannot claim to be obeying the commandment to not kill and then kill people directly with pollution poison in the air, land, food, and water. Cancer is not God's doing. Cancer is Man's doing. It is simple wisdom to acknowledge that we breathe air, drink water and eat food. If we kill the earth that grows our food and provides our air and water, then we kill people as well as God's creation. Why the president of the NRB cannot figure these simplicities out is beyond me. On the bright side, one theologian said that the Bible uses few words to mention Noah and so creativity with the story by Hollywood is "hardly a surprise."


reviews of other reviews of this movie -- I have to side with critics who question whether Hollywood understands Christianity or even Judaism. First Judaism. There is a widespread belief among the poorly educated that Jews control all media and all image making and all public relations and therefore the culture wars. I googled the question and was taken straight to a David Duke (Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Ku Klux Klan) video. The fact is that media companies are publicly traded and if any group in this country can be said to "control" the media, then that group is the Episcopalians. Most US presidents have been Episcopalians. None Jewish. Dollar for dollar Episcopalians own most of the wealth in the USA. Sure high profile Jewish people make it big as actors and directors but who owns the holding companies that own the studios? Japanese conglomerates, Chinese investors, Arab investors, Europeans investors and whoever else has the money to buy studio stock on the stock exchange which is everyone. Your pension fund or your mutual fund may own part of a studio. Which means you own Hollywood. I never hear the news media praising Israel or urging support of it. Whenever I read some ignoramus refer to Zionist Jews, then I know that the speaker is pro-terrorist whether the terror group is the KKK or PLO (they kill Americans) or Al Qaeda (they kill Americans) or whoever else hates Jesus and other Jews. Speaking of which, let's turn to Christianity. Do Christians control Hollywood? Yes and no. Yes, even people in Hollywood attend churches. There are even websites which track which stars are Methodists, which are Lutherans, which are Seventh Day Adventists, and even (gasp!) which are Baptists. But no Fundamentalists control a major studio of which I am aware. There are a lot of Christian (meaning evangelical) production companies making Christian movies on low budget.


Hollywood does not understand Christians. It is still puzzled over the success of Passion of the Christ.


the future -- There have been movies like King of Kings and The Greatest Story Ever Told that bombed at the box office. Perhaps those movies deserved to bomb at the box office for being so boring. Hollywood learned from these financial fiascoes that Christians say that they want a faithful depiction but Cecil B. DeMille knew better. He made The Ten Commandments as interesting as a historical romance novel. These were real live flesh and blood people not cardboard cutouts and not quaint old fashioned people from silent movies.


With the success of Noah, more Biblical epics are on the way. All I can suggest is to patronize the good ones (accurate and entertaining) and spread the word about the bad ones (inaccurate and boring). The perverse part of me wishes that Hollywood was as Jewish dominated as Joel Stein (himself Jewish) of the LA Times says it is. Why? Because I want to see Biblical epics that are more accurate and more Jewish or, to be precise, more Hebrew or Hebraic. I don't want to see a Gentile Jesus because He wasn't a Gentile. I don't want to see a blue-eyed blond Jesus any more because the Bible says He had hair like wool. Like President Obama! Okay, maybe not like him. Perhaps dreadlocks like Bob Marley. Certainly, His first cousin John the Baptist must have had matted hair from living in the wilderness off locusts and honey. So eventually we will see a Black Jesus movie to upset the racists. Yay! I'm for anything that upset racists. The Bible itself says that Jesus was a black man, in so many words. He spent the first twelve years of His life in Egypt, a black country in Africa.


Passion of the Christ was surprisingly well received in some non-Christian countries which you can interpret as thirst for the gospel or interpret as indicative of audiences who like carnography (the movie was very graphic) or interpret as curiosity (like my Christian mother going to see a Muslim movie) or even interpret as boredom with state-controlled media. Or none of the above. Hollywood is still scratching its collective head over Mel Gibson's Biblical epic. I do not expect them to understand it because if Hollywood is Jewish-dominated then Jewish people reject crosses because centuries of pogroms and antisemitism have drilled into Jews' very bone marrow and DNA that Christians and crosses will kill them. Even back when Romans ruled the Holy land, Jews knew to avoid crosses. The Romans invented the cross as a torture device. They were willing to crucify barbarians, slaves in revolt, Jewish zealots, anyone. So what is the solution to Christians wanting historically accurate and Biblically accurate Biblical epics? Simple: Let Jewish people make the movies but lean on them hard to make the movies as Jewish as possible. I have a whole library of books written by Christian theologians and Christian biblical scholars who complain that the ministers that they train in divinity schools and seminaries fail to teach their congregations the full meaning of the Bible. It is hard for 21st Century minds to grasp ancient concepts because our culture is so different from theirs. The way to teach the Bible is by not being boring. People want to know what this means and that means. What is a covenant? Were Old Testament judges like today's judges? No. Why did the Bible saddle observant Jews with six hundred thirteen laws? Was God trying to kill the Jews with that kind of burden? (Hasidim regard laws as liberating rather than a burden) Would Catholics appreciate a movie about the Maccabees? (Yes because the Catholic Bible has two Books of Maccabees ) Would movies about archangels be more misleading than edifying? (Yes because the source material is apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. These are regarded as uninspiring and confusing.) The Apostles were commanded to take the gospel to the four corners of the Earth. Of the Twelve, some made it deep into Africa and Asia. Asia: Philip, Andrew, Bartholomew, and Thomas. Africa: Matthew and Simon the Zealot. The Mormons would have you believe that God thought about the Native Americans but then changed his mind and made ancient North and South America white. Oh boy. I guess that is a consequence of Peter and Paul moving from Jerusalem to Europe. [Lands where formerly Jewish people had communities and Christian missionaries planted churches fell under the sword of Islam.] Twelve Apostles means that each Apostle deserves their own individual biopic. Plus there were additional Apostles mentioned: Barnabas, James the Lord's brother, Silas and Timothy. Were the matriarchs (Ruth and Esther for example) different from the patriarchs? Was the fish that swallowed Jonah a whale shark or a blue whale? Have there really been cases of sailors who survived being swallowed? (Yes) Do we really understand today that few prophets were in the prediction business? (They were mostly in the warning business) Do we understand the implications of Hillel living at the time of King Herod the Great? Or Saint Paul (Saul) taught by Gamaliel?


I am not sure that a movie other than a documentary could be made about books like Proverbs but Leviticus is more than laws, Numbers is more than covenant, and Deuteronomy is Moses' farewell address. Psalms could be a musical because there was originally music that went with each psalm just like in your hymnal. Whole mini-series have been done and can be done on the rise & fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and on the rise & fall of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. There were several temples, several exiles into slavery, and notable returns from exile and rebuilding. What most screen playwrights miss in concentrating on the big books and ignoring the "minor" prophets is that they are more than predictions of the future or warnings to straighten up and reform or else. They often tell heart-breaking personal stories and parts of history not related elsewhere. I have heard gifted ministers make the most "boring" parts of the Bible interesting by explaining what it all meant. No subject was off-limits in the Bible.


sequel -- If Cecil B. DeMille had not been so old, then he might have done a sequel to The Ten Commandments with the Book of Joshua and the falling walls of Jericho. Noah lived 350 years after the Flood and was the last patriarch to live a very long life. Thereafter, other patriarchs never lived past 120 which is still the maximum life span. I have personally known an individual who lived to 116. With Noah living so long after the Flood, there is the possibility of a sequel if Aronofsky wanted to do one. However, there is nothing dramatic going on such as floods. I doubt if Noah lived to see the Tower of Babel. A real downer of an ending for the audience if not done right. A director like Francis Ford Coppola has done Godfather and Apocalypse Now and one gets the impression that he would do downer Bible stories and the Bible is good news not bad news, despite the Lamentations and exiles.


review of Christians -- I think it odd that so many so-called "Christians" cannot comprehend that Jesus was a Jew. Do they think He was a Christian? Are they that delusional? Can they not read the Bible where He is called rabbi? Or how He read a portion in the local synagogue? Or how His parents took him to the Temple? Or that He and the Apostles observed Passover? They sure did not observe Easter or go Easter egg hunting. Jesus was busy being beaten to death, Peter was busy denying, Judas busy betraying and then regretting that faux pas and then hanging himself, and the other apostles busy hiding like cowards. [Even today, we Christians are gutless cowards who will not speak out against climate change and pollution poisoning the land, air and water.] One apostle, John, did not hide but stood at the cross with Mary.


music -- absolutely nothing memorable. Granted, soundtrack music should not draw attention to itself because you are going to a movie to see the story and hear the dialogue and sound effects and, perhaps, only in a musical with lots of singing and dancing should music be front and center. Still, music still has to set a mood. This score does not. I cannot remember any music from the film but Patti Smith sings the closing song.


wardrobe -- Pantsuits were all the rage in the new Fall (of Mankind) Fashions back in those days. Forget the robes and Bedouin attire seen in other Biblical epics.


makeup -- Thankfully in short supply.


locations -- If the movie has a European feel to it, then it is because it was made in Iceland, part of Europe. The Ark set was in New York state. Mount Ararat was where the real ark started and ended apparently. [Muslims in control of Mount Ararat have never allowed Christian explorers to see the remains of the ark out of fear that Jewish and Christian accounts would be confirmed. Islam demands the destruction of historical and archaeological sites according to the Koran.]


sets -- The ark has always been portrayed in art as a boat with a rudder. However, the Bible indicates that it was box shaped because it just needed to float. It did not need to sail because: Where would they go? Mount Everest like in Waterworld?


end credits -- I usually sit through every last second of the closing credits. One, because I have a toe in the waters of the movie making industry and plan to produce my own scripts and so I find reading end credits educational. Two, occasionally a movie will have an after-the-credits scene. So, in case of surprises, I sit through the interminable credits enjoying the music which is often better than the music played before or during the movie. Pirates of the Caribbean is one franchise with a reputation for after credit scenes that actually tie the movies together and have a plot of their own. I do not know if Noah had any good music or surprises because I bolted from the theater auditorium when the movie ended.


apologies -- None. This review was written for those who do not get offended easily. Christians still comprise a majority on this planet and non-Christians on this planet tend to be decent folk also who are open to reading reviews that make them think and occasionally laugh. If I made you think or laugh, then I did my job.


overall -- If this review has made you curious about the movie, then you better check theater locator websites immediately, because it is mere days from being pulled from theaters forever.

Noah

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    • Toni_Roman profile image
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      Toni_Roman 6 years ago

      You're right I never even heard of Winnie the Pooh this summer and The Help is still going strong in the theaters. But I deliberately overlooked Rise of the Planet of the Apes because the original novel on which the original series of movies was based (Charlton Heston shaking fist at ruined Statue of Liberty) was considered racist. I don't do racist on purpose.

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      JustineBates 6 years ago

      About the only film missing are Winnie the Pooh 7/15 (got to give Disney credit for going back to classic 2D animation) Rise of the Planet of the Apes 8/5 (Reboots tent to be hit-or-miss, but hey, James Franco is in it!) and The Help 8/12 (a period drama/comedy with Emma Stone). Otherwise, a top-notch list worthy of http://www.filmcrave.com/coming_soon.php