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Noah Movie Not True to Fictional Story

Paramount Pictures is releasing Noah, a movie that retells the Biblical story of the global flood, two of every kind, blah blah blah. But some Christians were upset about the movie not being “accurate” and forced the studio to edit the film and append a disclaimer to it:

At the request of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), Paramount added a disclaimer which reads, in part, that “[t]he film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

NRB board member Phil Cooke told The Wrap that the disclaimer was necessary because the film is “historically inaccurate.” It is, Cooke said, “more of an inspired movie than an exact retelling.”

Cooke is not the only Christian to have concerns about the film.

Writing on his blog last year, Answers In Genesis president Ken Ham noted that the film’s script “is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis.” Ham believes the trailer for the film is “a Hollywood con” designed to lure unsuspecting Jews and Christians to witness “an unbiblical production.”

He lists the many ways in which the film does not accurately reflect his interpretation of what happened in Genesis 6. He notes that “Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, contrary to the Bible.” Moreover, “[i]t appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.”

In related news, scientists say they have identified the largest deposit of irony in the universe. The movie about an event that never happened is not accurate enough. Next they’ll be protesting Disney because the mermaids in their movies aren’t enough like “real” mermaids.

Comments

  1. eric says

    The trailer I’ve seen does make it look a lot more “swords and sorcery” genre than “bible story” genre. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they had some Jackie Chan-style extended fight sequence in it. Just call it “Gladiator: the pre-pre-pre-prequel.”

  2. Chiroptera says

    “[t]he film is inspired by the story of Noah.”

    Well, yeah. Considering that the story of Noah is only a couple of pages long, it would take a lot of inspiration to get an entire feature length movie out of it.

    -

    He lists the many ways in which the film does not accurately reflect his interpretation of what happened in Genesis 6.

    Does his interpretation not include things like parents trying desparately to save the lives of their infant children or young lovers tearfully embracing as death comes? ‘Cause those’re the things I would include in the movie…to show what a fucked up story it really is.

  3. scienceavenger says

    Damnit #2, you beat me to it.

    On a related note, I’ve always wished someone (Oliver Stone, you listening?) would make a movie called “The 10 Commandments: The Lost Years” which would go into all the events in detail after the stone tablets, where Moses and his merry band slaughter everyone in sight at God’s command. Each scene could have a subscripted Bible quote chapter and verse so there can be no argument.

  4. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    I think they should have just changed the name. Call it Utnapishtim, and see if the Christians want to claim it.

  5. kyoseki says

    A large part of Noah was filmed in upper New York state, for which they were heavily subsidized by New York taxpayers (probably something like $20-30m) , I wonder what the legal ramifications of having state funded support for an obviously religiously motivated movie are?

  6. dhall says

    “Historically inaccurate.” Oh my. As a history professor, I see that enough crap on the so-called History Channel to make me sick–”Ancient Aliens” being but the most obvious, without dealing with ignorant, perpetual claims that the Old Testament is a history book. But the question is, considering that there is no way in hell that any movie about this sort of topic would ever please a religious audience (unless C. Heston was starring in it), and no one else would bother to see it other than for laughs, why was this movie even made? Who exactly is the intended audience?

  7. kyoseki says

    Chiroptera

    Well, yeah. Considering that the story of Noah is only a couple of pages long, it would take a lot of inspiration to get an entire feature length movie out of it.

    Well, isnt’ that what they tried to do with The Hobbit? Turning a single book about 1/6th the length of Lord of the Rings into a trilogy that was almost as long.

    The amount of filler must be painful.

  8. pixelfish says

    Nobody tell them about Madeline L’engle’s Many Waters. Their heads will a’splode.

    Many Waters is a fantasy YA story about two modern kids who land in Noah’s era via quantum unicorns, just in time to help him build the ark. There’s also manticores and mammoths. The main factions vying for the kids loyalties are the angels and the nephilim, all of whom shapeshift into animal forms.

  9. eric says

    Chiroptera:

    Does his interpretation not include things like parents trying desparately to save the lives of their infant children or young lovers tearfully embracing as death comes?

    To get Everest-high water in 40 24-hour periods, the flood rate is something like 30 feet per hour per square foot of earth- which doesn’t give much more than 10 minutes of embracing lovers etc…before pretty much everything is dead. And no, you won’t be treading water. The force of that rate of waterfall is not a gentle rain, it would be worse than standing directly under Niagra falls or Victoria falls. We are talking the sort of force that crushes buildings (including wooden boats) flat.

  10. says

    Like Richardelguru, I see no problem in complaining about adaptations that mangle the original work; I flatly refuse to watch Disney’s Hercules or The Hunchback of Notre Dame for this reason, for instance.

  11. Barney Botha says

    I have just read Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” I just realised that this movie is also a way of spreading the word of God and the people ignoring it will not be excused. May some people be touched by it as it is intended to do. I pray that souls will be touched by this story..

  12. MyPetSlug says

    Do we think NBR would be much happier if they put all of Ken Ham’s or Kent Hovind’s nonsense into the movie to make it more “believable”? They could have a vapor canopy where no sunlight comes in, dinosaurs running around, one giant super continent which rapidly (extremely rapidly) splits into continents, the grand canyon forming, hydrological sorting of the geological layers. Oh, also, Noah is a 900 year old giant.

    Then, do they end it right there? Or what do they explain after the flood. No food for the animals (some of which eat only each other), rapid evolution (But don’t call it evolution!) of the created kinds, the population explosion of Noah and his kids who have lots and lots of incest. The animals getting back to their proper habitats and so on and a million problems more.

  13. says

    “Hey I was upset by the inaccuracies in those damned LotR movies. What’s the difference?”

    Well, for starters, LotR is a work of fiction! Do you actually expect people to believe in an all that hobbitesian nonsense?

    @14:

    Barney, if you’re not being a Poe, feel free to go fuck yourself.

  14. Taz says

    This movie is by Darren Aronofsky, who made “Requiem for a Dream”, “Black Swan”, etc. I’m not sure exactly what he’s going for here, but I’m pretty sure it’s not “Illustrated Bible Stories for Christians”. I’ve had mixed reactions to some of his other movies, but I’ll probably give this one a chance.

  15. Shatterface says

    I’ve spotted discrepancies between both versions of Clash of the Titans – they can’t both be true.

  16. sugarfrosted says

    Really wish they would have used the book of enoch as a source. Oh well, this is why we can’t have nice things.

  17. says

    Dammit 2 & 4, you BOTH beat me to it!

    Seriously. You have NO IDEA how mad I was when Samwise left Frodo at the Haunted Pass in the movies. The real Samwise would NEVER have done that.

    And this, I imagine, is how the fundies feel about Noah, so for once I think that I can sympathize.

  18. eric says

    I have just read Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” I just realised that this movie is also a way of spreading the word of God and the people ignoring it will not be excused.

    I expect the same response from God towards people ignoring this movie as the response given to those ignoring the Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, or Passion of the Christ.

    In any event, doesn’t this movie break that command? The story of Noah is not part of the gospels. If it’s being spread before the gospels, then the moviemakers are not obeying Mark, they are disobeying him.

  19. eric says

    May some people be touched by it as it is intended to do.

    If it touches their wallets, they will have been touched by it the way the producers intended it to do.

  20. cuervocuero says

    Eric @ #1

    The fawned upon by Christians tv series on …History Channel… from which “Son of God” was spliced together to make cheap bucks in theatrical release, has all the Jackie Chan martial action you can desire.

    Done by Angels in Sodom.

    Because Bible stories done by believers can totally appropriate Asian fighting techniques and other historical/geographical inaccuracies and not be taking liberties with the original fax jax.

    aka It’s Okay if You’re a Christian. See also: “Mars Hill Church” games the best seller system bcuz God’s Down with Cheating in His Name

  21. Randomfactor says

    “We are retconning the original story. Pray we do not retcon it any further.”

  22. anubisprime says

    Someone owes me yet another irony meter…they do not build them like they used to!

  23. mikeyb says

    So how would one turn around and make a historically accurate movie about a myth? Oh yeah been there done that – Passion of the Christ, radical anti-semitism and all.

  24. Lofty says

    eric @11

    To get Everest-high water in 40 24-hour periods, the flood rate is something like 30 feet per hour per square foot of earth-

    A YEC once explained to me that mountains were mucho shorter before the fludd, they sorta swelled up after all that watering. The fact that no-one noticed this rapid mountain growith and write about it didn’t shake him from his conviction. Insert various mushroom metaphors here.

  25. savagemutt says

    You can never please the fanboys. At least they didn’t cast Ben Affleck as Noah..

  26. says

    TAX@17

    This movie is by Darren Aronofsky, who made “Requiem for a Dream”, “Black Swan”, etc.

    Interesting. I may actually watch it. Not in the theaters, mind you. If it hits Netflix, or my “other” resources.

  27. says

    I remember how pissed my brother got when Peter Jackson cut Tom Bambadil and Glorfindel from the Lord of the Rings movies. I called it what it was at the time, and it looks like I may need to pull out my “WHINY NERD RAGE” stamp again if people are going to whine about this Noah movie.

    Anyone remember if these people were similarly whiny when Mel Gibson’s torture porn Passion was out? If they complained if the color of Jesus’ nostril hairs weren’t as depicted in scripture or whatever?

  28. rapiddominance says

    How many times have we heard people say, “The movie wasn’t as good as the book.”?

  29. martinc says

    Ken Ham:

    Moreover, “[i]t appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.”

    Is it just me, or did this sound rather forced? I think if you had asked Biblical literalists fifty years ago whether ‘two of each species‘ is what the Bible meant by ‘kind’, they’d agree. It’s only the recent awareness of the number of animals that would entail that has seen the nutcases downgrade ‘kind’ to be broader than ‘species’.

    Ham appears to be taking the opportunity to slide this in here to quietly flag a change to his Official Biblical Literalist Nutcase Doctrine without having to go through the embarrassment of saying that it changed due to the pressure of actual scientific reality. Much easier to claim we’ve always been at war with Eurasia.

  30. dingojack says

    rapiddominance – “How many times have we heard people say, “The movie wasn’t as good as the book.”?”

    Hoo boy, another Rusty ultra-ultra-turkey, then. (Hope he didn’t sink any of his own money into it).

    Dingo
    ——-
    Why does the making of this ‘thing’ keep reminding me of Springtime for Hitler?

  31. says

    Over at my place, in response to the whining about historical accuracy, [almosteverythingsucks.wordpress.com] I took a different tack and wrote a treatment not of a historically accurate Noah story, but a very plausible one.

    Feel free to pony up some dough should you want it produced :D (FYI I’m thinking D-Day Lewis for Noah and Christopher Walken for his concerned neighbour)

  32. says

    If they wanted it to sell they would have had Tim Allen as Noah with his faithful sidekick Al doing the actual building while Noah kvetches with his wife, tries to keep Seth and Ham in line and talks to his invisible neighbor over the fence.

    Seriously, can you imagine the fuckton of paperwork that it would take to get a permit to build an ark in your backyard?

  33. Michael Heath says

    democommie writes:

    If they wanted it to sell they would have had Tim Allen as Noah with his faithful sidekick Al doing the actual building while Noah kvetches with his wife, tries to keep Seth and Ham in line and talks to his invisible neighbor over the fence.

    I never imagined until now that the cast for Home Improvement is the perfect corollary for the Noah flood story. And watching Tim’s “Tool Girl” die in the flood would be an effective method to get most males to appreciate the level of evil demonstrated in killing off all humans but Noah’s family and his animal boat-guests.

  34. says

    But some Christians were upset about the movie not being “accurate” and forced the studio to edit the film…

    At least as despicable as the Christianists’ whining, is the studio’s mindless caving to their babyish demands. Those loons only dominate our public discourse because otherwise sensible people chose to allow it.

    It is, Cooke said, “more of an inspired movie than an exact retelling.”

    In other words, it’s just like the original story.

    Like I said before, I’m not going to waste any time with this movie. Where’s the suspense when everything is happening the way an all-powerful creator-god wants it to happen and there’s no chance of anything going wrong with his plan?

  35. says

    …the level of evil demonstrated in killing off all humans but Noah’s family and his animal boat-guests.

    Not to mention the level of sheer short-sighted stupidity — wasn’t there something about Noah shagging his own daughter because there was no one else left to be fruitful and multiply with?

  36. matty1 says

    I think if you had asked Biblical literalists fifty years ago whether ‘two of each species‘ is what the Bible meant by ‘kind’, they’d agree. It’s only the recent awareness of the number of animals that would entail that has seen the nutcases downgrade ‘kind’ to be broader than ‘species’.

    I know we can expect creationists to be a few millennia behind the times but for anyone paying attention I would have thought the numbers problem would have been clear well before that. There were apparently around 4400 animals listed in Linnaeus Systema Naturae in the 18th Century and discoveries have continued since.

  37. grumpyoldfart says

    Whoever decided to write the disclaimer should get a smack on the bottom for being silly.

    No disclaimer would have had ratbag Christians across the country boycotting cinemas that showed the film. The ensuing publicity would have put more bums on seats and increased profits dramatically.

  38. Michael Heath says

    matty1 writes:

    I know we can expect creationists to be a few millennia behind the times but for anyone paying attention I would have thought the numbers problem would have been clear well before that. There were apparently around 4400 animals listed in Linnaeus Systema Naturae in the 18th Century and discoveries have continued since.

    True but consider the incredibly determined ignorance of today’s creationists.

    What’s also partly to blame for this is how they were indoctrinated when young. When I got away at 18 and then went on to college, I was astounded at the scale of reality, both it’s enormity and how small some things were. I was amazed at how few visible stars we could see with our eyes and the relative range of stars in the universe. This ignorance of scale was also due to growing up in a rural area where exposure to science was minimal, and where we know fundies tend to disproportionately be developed.

    For example, the first time I went to a major airport and mall, when I was around 12 or 13, I wasn’t aware there was that much wealth in the entire world, let alone at one of each of these venues.

    It’s this inability to maintain determined ignorance among the young that I think is playing a large role in why fundies are losing their kids. That and recent polls that reveal fundie kids are so disgusted with their church’s institutionalized bigotry they’re quitting religion altogether.

  39. says

    “Not to mention the level of sheer short-sighted stupidity — wasn’t there something about Noah shagging his own daughter because there was no one else left to be fruitful and multiply with?

    If Noah were alive today….

    He’d be a Level 3 Sex Offender, with an Oak Leaf Cluster.

  40. says

    How many times have we heard people say, “The movie wasn’t as good as the book?”

    In this case, the book sucked, so in all fairness, it would be hard to make a movie that’s even worse than that. “Noah” has plenty of leeway to suck without being worse than the book.

  41. caseloweraz says

    Ken Ham: …”it appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.”

    So Ken Ham thinks only animals were saved from the Flood, not plants? Perhaps he thinks all plants grow from seeds, and the seeds would have survived. Wrong.

    But I think “mocking” is the significant word here. Just as Christianists take every criticism as persecution, to question the Genesis account, or interpret it in any way which differs from theirs, is to mock their faith.

  42. freehand says

    Barney Botha: I have just read Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” I just realised that this movie is also a way of spreading the word of God and the people ignoring it will not be excused. May some people be touched by it as it is intended to do. I pray that souls will be touched by this story..
    .
    You just now realized this is proselytizing? All non-parody bible movies are preaching.
    .
    “Ignoring it will not be excused” Yes, I know, I was raised Southern Baptist. Your loving god will torture for all eternity everybody who, based on conflicting, ambiguous, and incomplete evidence, decides on the most rational explanation for all of this [waves hand] rather than choosing among numerous irrational myths.
    .
    What souls? People’s consciousness depends on working brains. If the brains are too badly damaged or ill, the consciousness goes away. This is obvious.
    .
    Grow up. You will not live one second longer because you cannot face your own death. Or perhaps it is your need to belong to your tribe that matters most to you. [shrug] Either way, discovering truth is not your top priority.
    .
    Biblical literalism is a way of evil and deliberate ignorance. Find your courage and seek honesty and compassion. Superstition and bigotry are chains..

  43. dingojack says

    Wouldn’t that be a fig-leaf cluster-fuck?
    Dingo
    ——–
    RB (#49) – see mine (#35)

  44. freehand says

    Noah survived the flood with his wife, three sons, and their wives intact. Assuming Noah continued to have kids, that’s genetically four people who produced (in 6000 years!) all of the humans today, in all of their genetic and cultural diversity.
    .
    The flood story as believed by literalists requires the performance of hundreds of major miracles* to cover up the flood events. We have a complex, apparently ancient world in which all of the evidence is consistent with the same picture – and no global floods are in the scene.
    .
    Why would Yahweh do this? Was he ashamed? Is it important that people believe various things even when the evidence indicates they didn’t happen? Perhaps he rewards only those folks who believe the evidence, and not trusted tribal authorities? What was the point of this mass murder and global destruction and then removing all traces of it?
    .
    * To mention three of many:
    1. How did the various plants spouting from seed get pollinated? How did the bees, butterflies, etc. get reestablished quickly enough?
    2. Most plants are not happy with sprouting in a soggy goo. How did the top soil get reformed unless it was by major magic?
    3. Earthworms are seen on the surface after a rain because they are trying to avoid drowning. The numerous nematodes, microbes, fungi, bacteria, etc. which perished in a year-long soak in brackish water were needed all over the planet immediately.

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