Honestly, it made me think. It made me think a lot. And I like that part about it, though at times it made me uncomfortable. Of course, I'd read the reviews and knew that it is supposedly not an accurate story, but in all fairness, it never claimed to be. It did bother me that I saw a whole lot of innocent sheep filing into the theater unaware, then filing out dazed and stunned at the end, obviously shaken up. I even warned a young Mexican father he might not want to take his little kids in. He thanked me and went to tell his wife, but she outvoted him (which is ironic considering the story line of the movie...)
Well, at least I tried. It was up to them to read about it and just not assume that it was a Christian story, because no, this is not the story you heard in Sunday School. But how many people don't have access to the internet or even read well, and were unprepared.
But that is another matter. In the long run it's a story, plain and simple, albeit one that is graphic and supernatural. Even so, it is a story with a powerful message. In fact, it is a contemporary allegory, not a historical movie at all and in order to appreciate it on any level you are going to have to understand that from the start. Children and some teens won't get that. You'll have to be your own judge.
First clue: it is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the "descendents of Cain" have destroyed cities and where technology was said to be advanced. Why do we know this? Because Noah says this in his opening narrative. The visual clues are that the characters are dressed in rags of contemporary dress, not the robes and sandals of ancient tribes. That tells the viewer right away this is not the historical, scriptural version told in the Christian tradition.
Another clue: the cinematography is surreal, the photography dream-like. The set is unrealistically barren, a vision of Hell. The characters use a fiery metal substance they dig out of the ground that glows (a symbol of how the discovery of fire and metals changed the world, and how greed fueled that fire).
By the way, I just didn't see the environmental hype that I'd read in reviews. Sure, Noah thought nature was good and man was evil, and that the Creator wanted a world without mankind in it. But in the end (spoiler alert) he comes to realize that man contains both, not one or the other and that each and every day we have to make the choice which to follow. It is us who chooses whether or not mankind survives. In the end, love is what we must choose.
Now yes, there were some wild aspects that I didn't care for, largely for the teens and Transformers generation, I think. The Watchers were silly. There could have been much better ways of portraying the fallen angels sent to the world in the beginning. But there's some pretty wild stuff in the Biblical version too if you truly read it.
As for the violence? In the Old Testament that I read God is not painted as a loving, caring old man in the sky like we are told in Sunday School. The God of the Old Testament strikes people dead, orders Abraham to sacrifice his own child, sets wild animals on disobedient children, and orders the Israelites to kill women and children on a regular basis.
Christians don't like to talk about this because they can't explain it.They prefer a fairy tale where God takes care of His children and all is right with the world.
This is the truth. God does take care of His children and all IS right with the world, but He uses us to do it, and we must make that choice every day. In the end this is what the movie said to me.
But I get that others won't like it. Half of my family didn't and that's okay. Maybe I'm just too liberal. Maybe I'm just too rebellious.
But maybe its because I see a lot of evil on a daily basis and that makes me appreciate a story that makes me think about it more in depth. I also work with a lot of people who've been damaged by those who call themselves Christians and the church as a religious institution, people damaged like I was.
I for one find movies or books which aren't afraid to make me think or challenge my faith refreshing. Of course, for that reason a lot of the time I don't fit in the Christian community, because it seems to me that most Christians want only a sanitized version of the faith.
Now, I get that this is the same director who made The Black Swan. I hated The Black Swan, by the way. It disturbed me profoundly. I wish I hadn't seen it. But as a therapist I can accept that the depravity and mental illness portrayed in it was very real and unfortunately accurate.
That was an allegorical tale too by the way.
Its dangerous when we take these films too literally. We lose sight of the fact that the truth is in the message, not in the details. But then again, I'm not one that reads the Bible and interprets it literally either, at least not the Old Testament. I've seen way to much pain and suffering caused by that stance. You know, all that "eye for an eye" stuff...
But that's just my two cents worth. Feel free to disagree.