Movie Reviews: Noah (2/5 stars) and God’s Not Dead (5/5)

Noah (warning, spoilers)

I’d heard Noah was bad, but wanted to see for myself. (It’s on Netflix if you’re similarly curious about this trainwreck, but there are many, many better uses for your time.)

Noah was apparently made by people who completely forgot, halfway through, who their target market actually is. The vast majority of people interested in a movie about a Biblical patriarch are religious folks, and religious folks don’t want to watch Noah go crazy and run around trying to murder babies. According to IMDB, the director is an atheist, so that may explain why he failed completely to understand his target demographic (though this really is no excuse, since I’m an atheist, and I can figure this shit out.)

Perhaps there exists some non-American market where this combination goes over fine.

The movie started out fairly strong, aside from the annoying blue-lighting effect they use that makes everything look, well, blue. The landscape was also problematic; I think of Noah as living somewhere in the Middle East, and I think they filmed it in Iceland. But anyway, they managed to take something that is usually regarded as a children’s story (which entails its own irony,) and give it an apocalyptic, epic feel, somewhat reminiscent of Tolkien and other such recent fantasies, as we watch our heroes trying to survive on their own in a world where humans are still pretty rare and the ones who are out there have gone evil and are using their advanced tech to hunt down the heroes.

The part about the angels and their redemption was also enjoyable.

A major sub-plot revolved around Noah’s adopted daughter, Hermione Granger, who was afraid to have sex because she thought she was infertile, a hangup no woman in the entire history of the world has ever had.

Eventually Methuselah convinces her that she’s not infertile, so, confident that she can now get pregnant, she runs off to have sex with one of Noah’s sons. And gets pregnant.

Noah, meanwhile, has decided for some reason that god wants humanity to end with him, and so decides to murder Herminone’s babies so they won’t grow up to reproduce like she did.

Hermione has a ridiculously short pregnancy while on the ark (all of the timelines seem to be mashed up on the ark in an attempt to keep you from noticing that they don’t work,) never looks at all like she’s pregnant (seriously, they could afford all that CGI to make fake angels and giant army battle scenes, but they couldn’t figure out what a pregnant woman looks like?) and then five minutes after giving birth is up and running around the ship.

All this technical knowledge of CGI and special effects went into the movie, and the creators don’t even know how long it takes women to recover from childbirth? It might seem like a minor point to you, but watching a character run around when she should be barely able to move and lying in a pool of blood just breaks all suspension of disbelief.

Eventually Noah decides not to kill the babies, because babies, and so the next generation is allowed to exist, and Noah’s other two grown sons can get married to their nieces when the babies grow up, in 14 or 15 years. Then their kids, whose parents were double-siblings, can get married and produce a bunch of cross-eyed babies.

All of this bullshit is completely unnecessary, because in the Biblical account, Noah’s sons are all married and bring their wives aboard the ark. Obviously you can’t really get around the inbreeding in this case, either, but 3 brothers married to 3 different women is still a better case than 3 brothers married to 1 woman and her subsequent daughters.

The finale of the movie, as I recall it, was pretty decent, but didn’t make up for all of the crap in between.

 

God’s Not Dead (Warning, minor spoilers)

God’s Not Dead is the story of a college freshman who stands up to a philosophy 101 teacher who tries to get the entire class to write down that “God is dead” on their first day of class, and goes on to prove to the class, instead, that god is not dead.

I saw this on Netflix and thought, “Someone actually made a movie out of an internet email forward?”

It turned out to be quite good, for what it is. Sadly, there were no weeping bald eagles, but it plays its concept thoroughly without losing sight of its target market, (people who forward stories about Christian students standing up to their professors,) and hits all of its narrative notes exactly as it should.

Personally, I enjoyed this movie because it did a solid job of depicting the characters and their motivations/personalities from the Conservative Christian-American (CCA) perspective. That is, I don’t actually think this is how atheist professors act or think, but I think this is how CCA’s think atheist professors act and think–this is, more or less, how they think liberals and the rest of the world work.

It’s important to understand what other people think and how they perceive the world.

I have nothing to complain about in this movie, but if you don’t like seeing Muslims depicted negatively, you won’t like the Muslim characters in this movie.

The ending could have been stronger if the disparate characters had reached out to each other, because some of them were going through some seriously difficult times; a Christianity that only reaches people individually and does not bring them together into a close-knit community seems unlikely to last. But this is a minor point.

If you are not interested in learning about the CCA perspective, nor the sort of person who’d find the story of a Christian student trying to prove the existence of Christ compelling, then you probably won’t like this movie. If these are the sorts of things that interest you, you might enjoy this movie.

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7 thoughts on “Movie Reviews: Noah (2/5 stars) and God’s Not Dead (5/5)

  1. It has always baffled me that, given that the Adam & Eve and Noah stories are essentially origin stories, there had to be major incest/inbreeding for a while, yet historically Judeo-Christian traditions have largely rejected incest.

    If incest was ok with God back then, why not now? As far I know, there is nothing in the Judeo-Christian scriptures that say incest is verboten (please correct me if I’m wrong). If the scriptures suggest a practice without disapproval, that’s an implicit approval. And unless God issues a later disapproval of that practice, the logical conclusion is that God still approves.

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    • See HBD Chick: https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/ for the extensive answer.
      Short version:
      Jewish laws in the Bible forbid sibling and parental incest.

      As far as I know, these sorts of prohibitions are universal, basically because we have instincts against doing things that make kids come out cross-eyed.
      Additionally, I suspect there are a lot of Biblicly-inspired myths (or sacred oral literature handed down from the ancients for people who believe in them,) to the effect of “this wasn’t actually incest because of XYZ,” like a kid having been adopted.

      But Biblical law is fine with cousin marriage. Cousin marriage only fell out of favor in the West because the Catholic Church banned it, which I think had more to do with breaking up the secular power of clan-based tribal societies like the Goths and Visigoths. At that point in history, the Pope’s word was as good at the Bible’s, and by now, we’re thoroughly accustomed to the prohibition and don’t want to change. (Plus, not marrying your cousin is probably a good idea.)

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      • Thanks for your reply. I couldn’t find hbd chick’s discussion on this topic, but googled and found the Biblical laws re incest – there’s a lot! I was wrong in assuming that, because of the Adam & Eve and Noah stories, the Bible implicitly approved of incest.

        I found this to be interesting. The Wikipedia entry on the topic of “Incest in the Bible” says this: “One of the most notable features of all the lists [prohibitions against incest in the Torah] is that sexual activity between a man and his own daughter is not explicitly forbidden.”

        I understand the biological reason to avoid incest. However, the secular laws of many countries forbid incest. It seems to me that, if people who want to do incest can’t reproduce (naturally or artificially infertile), then the state lacks a rational basis for such prohibition. Though incest is “ewww” to me, it doesn’t seem fair for my distaste to dictate what two consenting adults do sexually.

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      • Oh, pretty much HBDChick’s entire blog is devoted to the relationship between inbreeding levels and clannishness/social institutions. But if you want something specific: https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/whatever-happened-to-european-tribes/ or https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/tag/cousin-marriage/

        In the father-daughter case, I’m honestly willing to give the Bible-writers the benefit of the doubt–it seems much more likely that the lack is just a mistake than that they approved, especially since post-Leviticus we don’t see anyone marrying their daughters. Plus, it is covered under verses 6 and 17 of Leviticus ch. 18. (“No near relatives” and “don’t have sex with both a woman and her daughter,” which includes one’s own daughter, step daughters, and daughters of unknown paternity.)

        From a practical standpoint, there are virtually no consenting, closer-than cousin couples being inconvenienced by anti-incest laws, but plenty of rapists convicted under them. Cousin marriage is allowed in about 20 states, so cousins who want to marry and don’t live in one of those states just have to travel to one where cousin marriage is legal.

        In the counter situations, where the law stipulates that closer-than-cousin incest is legal under X circumstances, a bunch of court cases would get dragged out longer due to rapists trying to claim they meet the standard. It’d be a mess.

        My biological parents were told they were infertile before they had me.

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