If you intended to see “Noah” while it was still showing at Cookeville’s Carmike Cinema, you’re too late. It left more than a week ago.
But not to worry. “Noah” will, no doubt, soon be available on TV or tablet. That’s why I’m warning that this column contains SPOILER ALERTS. If you want to watch “Noah” on a small screen without being tipped off about what happens, quit reading now. Because I just can’t stop myself from writing about one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve seen in a long, long time.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sacrificed $5.50 and almost three hours on a gorgeous spring afternoon to watch “Noah.” Was I so foolish as to think a movie starring Russell Crowe would be anything but darkly disturbing? Did I really expect to see grinning giraffes and zebras and kangaroos and dinosaurs (kidding!) walking, two-by-two, up the gangplank to the ark? Surely I wasn’t so naïve as to think this movie was going to be the story of Noah as taught in second grade Sunday School. Or was I?
Ten minutes into the movie, I began to regret that I hadn’t re-read the Genesis account before I went to the theatre. I didn’t realize that, before the flood, Noah and his family were vegetarians. But sure enough, when I got home I read in Genesis 9:3: “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, now I give you everything.” I could have sworn that Ham, the black sheep of the family, was the youngest son rather than the middle child. This time, according to Genesis 9:24, I was right.
But where in the Bible does it say that Noah’s grandfather Methuselah hid in a cave, craving berries, while the ark was being built? And what about the funky rock monsters called “watchers”? In the movie they’re portrayed as fallen angels, ready to redeem themselves by helping fight off the bad guys while Noah’s family builds and fills the ark. But they’re not in the Genesis account either. And who knew that Noah’s wife used incense to put all the animals to sleep so their human caretakers wouldn’t have to bother feeding them or cleaning up their excrement during forty rainy days and nights? Or that evil Tubal-Cain was a stowaway on the ark?
A bit of literary license in the retelling of an allegorical story doesn’t trouble me. Nor am I particularly disturbed when Noah goes completely off his rocker near the end of the movie and threatens to do some really crazy stuff.
Nope. Here’s the problem with this whole movie as I see it. Where are the women? Only four remain after the rest of humankind is destroyed: Noah’s wife, now presumably beyond her childbearing years, and Shem’s once-barren wife Ila and their newborn twin daughters. Shem’s brothers, contrary to the Biblical account, didn’t bring wives onto the ark. So how the heck is this handful of people going to repopulate the earth? Will Ila take her brothers-in-law as husbands? Or will Japheth and Ham wait until their infant nieces grow up and marry them? Neither of those plans is very appealing. Or good for the gene pool.
Bottom line? If plot holes bother you, skip “Noah.” Forgo it if a not-to-script rendition of a Bible story disturbs you. But if you like mayhem and violence and stunning special effects and if you want to see a really, really cool representation of what Noah’s massive ark might have looked like and how it was constructed, put your name on the Netflix queue.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(May 4, 2014)