Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’m having trouble telling if normal news pieces are from The Onion. Consider these koan-like headlines about the new Noah movie:
Conservative Christians Criticize Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ Film as ‘Historically Inaccurate’
The Ark: Could Noah’s Tale Be True?
Is Noah Historically Accurate?
Historical accuracy? Which part is supposed to be accurate—the 600 year-old man who without power tools builds a massive ship? The ship which then somehow houses, feeds, and sustains two of each animal “kind,” including dinosaurs and unicorns? A worldwide deluge right in the middle of the Egyptian civilization, which the Egyptians neglect to mention in their writings? A universal flood that should leave a distinct traces in the geologic record everywhere on the planet, and yet does not?
It’s an odd quest to look for “historical accuracy” in a Hollywood movie. Nick Nolte, who did voice acting work on Noah, told its director that Brando had a motto: acting was “lying for a living.” Hollywood is just the wrong place to look for fidelity.
It’s not surprising that Noah inspires intense emotions. Its director is Darren Aronofsky, a passionate filmmaker known for creating profoundly uncomfortable movies. Whether it be the front-row view of the descent into madness in Black Swan or Pi, the claustrophobic, no-happy-ending worlds of The Wrestler and The Fountain, or the wrenching, acidic brilliance of his so-true-you-can’t-face-it masterpiece Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky paints with a palette of self-destructive, broken individuals upon a stark canvas devoid of any mercy or comforting Hollywood tropes.
But it’s not film theory that enrages people about Noah. Many consider that the artistic license of the film has mocked their faith, and they are so mad they want to jump on the film’s media coattails. Evangelical Ray Comfort has appeared on news shows criticizing the film, and has even put together a counter-movie, Noah and the Last Days. The Cornwall Alliancesaid Noah “changes a story of love and redemption into an environmentalist propaganda piece about humans destroying the earth, and a call for human extinction.” (I must have missed the “love” part amid the destruction of the earth.)
Answers in Genesis, which runs the Creation Museum in Kentucky, is exceptionally grumpy about Noah, inveighing against it in Time magazine, blog posts, and a nearly two-hour video review. They even set up a page on their website to channel their umbrage at Aronofsky’s film. The president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, had this to say about Noah:
Much, much worse than I thought it would be—much worse.
Heck, that could sum up the reaction of audiences to any movie by J.J. Abrams or M. Night Shyamalan.
Psychopathic Noah sees humans as a blight on the planet and wants to rid the world of people.
Wait, I’m confused--the people of the world were almost just wiped out, and Noah certainly wasn’t responsible for that. If ridding the world of people was God’s decision…was that a bad thing, a mistake?
I feel dirty—as if I have to somehow wash the evil off myself.
I feel exactly the same way after watching any Lindsey Lohan movie.
Worst movie I think I’ve ever seen.
And to think The Phantom Menace held that title for so many for so long.
Aronofsky has faced such criticisms before, as in the violent worldwide protests by ballerinas rioting en pointe against his film Black Swan—wait, I got mixed up, that didn’t really happen…such a reaction would, of course, be just ridiculous. Really, people need to have a little less road rage when it comes to Hollywood. If you’re going to be upset about a movie, be upset about Howard the Duck or After Earth. Those insulted all of humanity.