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Ken Ham was right about one thing

The reviews for Aronofsky’s movie, Noah, are coming in, and they’re mixed. There are parts that are brilliant and provocative, and others that are ludicrous, over-the-top, action movie CGI. One thing everyone is agreeing on, along with Ken Ham and me, is that it is decidedly unbiblical, which is totally unsurprising. Don’t people ever read their Bibles? Most of these famous myths out of that old book are short, with little characterization or context, and are more like an elevator pitch than a full narrative…so every Bible story has to be padded. Turning a one page sketch into a two hour movie? What do you expect?

Apparently, this version of the Ark story is more action/fantasy story than reverent Bible worship, which is fine by me. This is pretty much what I expect:

There’s so much delusion and so much delight in “Noah” that I have trouble distinguishing one from the other, or determining whether its most outlandish flourishes qualify as mistakes or as strokes of genius. But let’s be clear that the CGI-animated opening sequence, an “earlier on our show” montage that tells the story of Genesis from the creation through Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, is a mistake. Even there Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique deliver striking images – the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge pulsing like a human heart; the father and mother of us all as golden-hued, naked super aliens – but the net effect is something like a Catholic Sunday-school video mixed with the scenes Ridley Scott rejected as too hokey for “Prometheus.”

I may have to watch it after all. “Prometheus” was so bad it was entertaining.

By the way, Ridley Scott is working on a Biblical movie, too — a retelling of the Moses story. He’s also going to make a sequel to “Prometheus”. Oh, and also, Michael Bay is remaking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It looks like it’s going to be a banner year for really bad big-budget movies. I don’t like bad movies all that much.

Comments

  1. says

    By the way, Ridley Scott is working on a Biblical movie, too — a retelling of the Moses story.

    Obvious choice. It’s one of the stories with most meat on it and slaves fighting for freedom is easier to relate to than some of the other stories; genocide, child sacrifice, incest, etc. Of course, it’s also been done to death already.

    He’s also going to make a sequel to “Prometheus”.

    Well, it made money. I’m just hoping they remember to write a script this time.

    Oh, and also, Michael Bay is remaking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

    So, another CGI clusterfuck, with actions scenes where you can barely tell what’s going on. Gotcha.

    Say, here’s an idea for Hollywood: How about a movie that isn’t a remake, reboot, or sequel? An actual original movie? Remember those?

  2. joeschoeler says

    My first thought was that the Winnie-the-Pooh movie was going to be a cartoon, but it sounds like it’s going to be live action movie about the real bear Winnie-the-Pooh was based on. It might night be so bad.

  3. says

    Reading “origin story” for Winnie the Pooh quickly made me think of Winnie waving around a part of nunchaku for some reason. Probably beause I’ve watched several martial arts flicks over the past couple of days.

  4. davidchapman says

    By the way, Ridley Scott is working on a Biblical movie, too — a retelling of the Moses story.

    LykeX

    28 March 2014 at 8:34 am (UTC -5)2

    Obvious choice. It’s one of the stories with most meat on it and slaves fighting for freedom is easier to relate to than some of the other stories; genocide, child sacrifice, incest, etc.

    I’m a bit puzzled by that post. There’s lots of genocide in the story of Moses. Have I got the wrong end of the staff?

    Of course, it’s also been done to death already.

    As have the people(s), Moses didn’t like. Deuteronomy 20:

    “However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites — as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach tou to follow all the detestable things they do in worshipping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
    When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an axe to them, because you an eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them? However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.”

    …..and like that. Yes Moses has been done to death, but it would certainly attract attention and controversy if Ridley Scott left all these nasty bits in this time.
    What are the odds?
    Yeah, that’s the way I’d bet as well…..but I’m keen to be proved wrong! :)

  5. Lauren Fitzpatrick says

    Wait… Other people hate Prometheus too?!? … FRIENDS!

    Seriously though, I stopped complaining about it to men because my observations were always dismissed as me not knowing the franchise. Yes, sometimes even as they don’t get the t-shirt I’m wearing.

  6. cartomancer says

    Ugh, typical Hollywood. Why did they have to go and do a gritty CGI reboot on the Utnapishtim franchise? Are there no original ideas in storytelling anymore!

    On the other hand, a Noah – Prometheus – TMHT crossover film, that I’d watch…

  7. says

    @LykeX #2 – “Say, here’s an idea for Hollywood: How about a movie that isn’t a remake, reboot, or sequel? An actual original movie? Remember those?”

    There are a few coming out this year: Upcoming Genre Movies That Aren’t Sequels, Remakes or Reboots.

    On the other hand, 2014 will see reboots / remakes of: Robocop, Godzilla, Sleeping Beauty (as the movie Maleficent), TMNT, The Equalizer (based on the television series of the same name), Annie, Poltergeist, Fantastic Four, Gremlins, Mortal Kombat and Jumanji. In addition, there will be another movie in Tom Clancey’s Jack Ryan franchise, another in the Planet of the Apes prequel franchise, another Terminator movie, and probably a lot more that I haven’t found yet.

    So yeah, I share your frustration. On the upside, none of these seem to have been given to M. Night Shyamalan.

  8. twas brillig (stevem) says

    I always liked Cosby’s “Noah” routine. Made a lot more sense than the Bibble’s original.

    Aronofsky was Colbert’s guest last night and seemed a very _grounded_ director. Who lamented that such a well known story is never actually read by all of its fans. He tried to throw in a little “reality” by having Noah dream he must build the Ark, and that he does get “cozy” [nudge, nudge] with his wife. He also said that the only way he could represent the story was to have the animals just ‘show up’; that Noah could not have gone out and rounded them all up. “And YES there are snakes and lizards, not just mammals and birds. And there *is* some scene with whales and fish (dolphins were too busy in Crimea with head mounted pistols hunting Ukrainian S.E.A.L’s)”
    And the Nerdist, @Midnight, highlighted a Tweet complaining about the UnBiblical “Noah Movie” (that should be not shown to anyone, as it is a work of the Devil), that ” it portrays Noah hallucinating rather than talking with God”.
    All in all, I think I must see this “Film”, if only satirically, to see how badly such a story can be translated to visuals. But, Buuuutttttt, I fear that to give any $$ to such a movie will tell Paramount to dive into the Bibble for more movies to make even more literal than “… based on a Bible story…” I fear movies claiming to be “True Story. Directly From The BIBLE, True Truth”. ^\_(o_o)_/^
    Still amazed at the Bibblethumpers outrage over the Movie not be “true to the bible”, when they are so ignorant of the story itself. EG, ask them, “How many animals of each ‘kind’ were on his Ark?” I think very few will get the “2 vs 7″ and “clean vs unclean” parts and just answer “2 of each!” And don’t even think of asking them if they know about the naughty bits of Noah getting drunk when his ark grounds. I wonder if Aronofsky will include that bit at the end to get the bibblethumpers enraged while claiming to placate them about being totally accurate transcription of the Bibble. “Hoist by their own petard”, but I doubt it. ;-P

  9. tfkreference says

    It is unlikely that a movie could capture what believing minds think is in the bible – or the US Constitution.

  10. says

    davidchapman #6

    I’m a bit puzzled by that post. There’s lots of genocide in the story of Moses. Have I got the wrong end of the staff?

    Oh no, there’s plenty of that stuff later. I was thinking about the beginning of the story. It’s true that retellings of the Moses story is often done with a generous amount of editing, especially of the later stuff.

    E.g. we’ve all head the story of the golden calf and Moses smashing the stone tablets in anger, but how often does the story include the part where Moses send armed men out with instructions for each to kill “his brother and friend and neighbor”?

    It’s quite true that Moses has a lot of nastiness, but it actually has other things too. Try telling the story about Joshua, leaving out any killings. There’s barely anything left.

    Yes Moses has been done to death, but it would certainly attract attention and controversy if Ridley Scott left all these nasty bits in this time.

    Frankly, it would attract death threats and perhaps even a person or two trying to make good on those threats.

    Gregory in Seattle #10

    On the upside, none of these seem to have been given to M. Night Shyamalan.

    Silver lining.

  11. gussnarp says

    Not one of these movies sounds remotely entertaining, let alone worth the price of tickets, popcorn, and a babysitter.

  12. Menyambal says

    One of the problems with Noah, and lawdy there are many, is that most believers seem to think it is a main event of the old testament. Balls to that. It is barely a main event in Genesis. Out of the fifty books into which Genesis is divided, Noah and the soggycide barely get three.

    The flood doesn’t get much mention through the rest of the Bible, either. It is not a lynchpin of the faith, and it certainly contradicts the “god so loved the world” idea. It could be excised and gotten over without a murmur, and the good book would be better for the loss.

    But no, Ken Ham wraps entire books around it, raving about the destruction of all geology, and happy about the death of the people. He likes the flood. It is his precious.

  13. Artor says

    I’d love to see someone make a true-to-the-source Bible movie that shows the Biblical heroes to be the bloodthirsty psychopaths they are in the Bible. Make is as accurate & as graphic as possible, and watch the Xian’s heads get all ‘splodey. “That’s not how it was!!!” Actually, if you read XX:XX-XX, the screenplay is adapted word-for-word. I’m not saying I’d watch the thing, but I’d watch the outraged Xians.

  14. John Horstman says

    So… they only pick shitty movies /franchises for re-makes? Is it becasue the bar is already so low that no one will be that disappointed when the re-makes also suck?

  15. burgundy says

    I’d like to see an Exodus movie that focuses on the Israelites. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place – on the one hand slavery, on the other a violent god who kills children when their rulers go against him. So first there’s the relief and a frenzied flight to freedom, then a dawning realization of what they’ve gotten themselves into, then the desperation of the Golden Calf, and finally a horrified, beaten submission and resignation.

    I don’t have any more problem with Bible-based movies than I do with Greek mythology movies. There are some good cinematic stories in there. I have a problem with religious pandering and propoganda, but those are not inherent in the idea.

  16. pikaia says

    I hope Noah is adults only. It is far too scary for children, with hundreds of millions of people and animals all meeting a terrifying death. Guaranteed to scare the s*** out of them! On second thoughts, perhaps children should be encouraged to watch it!

  17. awakeinmo says

    I rolled my eyes when I heard about this Noah thing. Then I caught myself, because I must admit I adore some of the old Bibble flicks. I will watch Charlton Heston as Moses every damn time that movie is on. Maybe I’ll wait forty years or so and if Noah is a classic, I’ll catch it on TV.

  18. Kevin Kehres says

    Charlton Heston … feh. Edward G. Robinson in The Ten Commandments. Now that’s some weapons-grade scenery chewing.

  19. haroldweasley says

    burgundy @21

    Have you even read the Exodus account in the Bible?
    Unlike Greek mythology, the Bible is true.

  20. Pierce R. Butler says

    The only way I’d consider seeing this flick is if it includes the set-up involving Jesus’s older half-brothers:

    … the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. … There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth…

  21. Rey Fox says

    So I guess that Bible stories (grim ‘n’ gritty as we can make ‘em) are going to be the next cinematic trend. Think I’ll stay away, thank you. Although I guess it is heartening to see them on the same cultural level as vampire and zombie crap. Might just wean our culture further off religion.

  22. sanekids3 says

    ” Don’t people ever read their Bibles? Most of these famous myths out of that old book are short, with little characterization or context, and are more like an elevator pitch than a full narrative…so every Bible story has to be padded.”

    So are you claiming that you don’t believe the Bible is true?

  23. burgundy says

    @27 – Fucking Poe’s Law. I just don’t know which way to respond. (And yes, I have read it. Multiple times. And participated in several dozen Seders.)

  24. woozy says

    ” Don’t people ever read their Bibles? Most of these famous myths out of that old book are short, with little characterization or context, and are more like an elevator pitch than a full narrative…so every Bible story has to be padded.”

    So are you claiming that you don’t believe the Bible is true?

    No. He’s claiming bible stories are short.

    Don’t you have the reading comprehension of second grader?

    As for whether PZ believes bible stories are true, look at the description of this blog: Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal. So what do *you* think? Do you think PZ believes the bible is true?

    Idiot.

  25. sanekids3 says

    Here’s my honest question for you @33: do YOU believe the Bible is true? regardless of the length of its accounts?

  26. burgundy says

    @34 – do you have any idea what kind of blog and commenting community this is? Your odds of finding someone (who comments at all regularly) who believes in the veracity of the Bible are probably better than your odds of winning the lottery. Probably.

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    Dr. Pablito @ # 37 – Your links produce the following error message:

    Error 1011 Ray ID: 112653522fc404dd
    Access denied
    What happened?

    The owner of this website (www.hackcanada.com) does not allow hotlinking to that resource (/canadian/zines/spacemoose/bible.gif).

  28. U Frood says

    @34 Do you think atheists are going to be embarrassed to tell you that they don’t believe the Bible is true?

  29. anuran says

    Reply to @34sanekids3

    I do not believe the Bible can be used as an accurate guide to history, biology, astronomy, physics, geology, paleontology, archaeology, mathematics, hydrology, cosmology or cosmetology. At best it reflects the current understanding of those fields by the people who wrote it. That understanding is thousands of years out of date.

    If you can give some evidence that it should be taken as authoritative I would be happy to give you some time over in the Thunderdome. Please do not waste your time or mine by rehashing things which have been refuted a thousand times, move the goalposts, beg the question, engage in special pleading or do anything forbidden in this helpful diagram

  30. kyoseki says

    John Horstman

    So… they only pick shitty movies /franchises for re-makes? Is it becasue the bar is already so low that no one will be that disappointed when the re-makes also suck?

    Nope, they’re remaking Scarface too.

    … and Ghostbusters.

  31. says

    I read a review from the Jewish Forward that said he didn’t stray enough from the original story. But then I also keep hearing how it’s really an environmentalist story which makes me curious. I will probably go see it in the next few days.

    I do think too that Christians are not aware that Jewish literature involves much more than the Bible and the director and writer for the film consulted these texts too. Of course, I wouldn’t expect them to think that’s okay but if they are going to whine about it straying from the Bible they should at least do their homework.

  32. Menyambal says

    Okay, then. Hollywood will never make a movie starring me as Rocket Thrust, Space Stallion.

  33. says

    I would much rather see a retelling of the Moses story done as the sequel to Prometheus, starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Three birds with one stone.

  34. anuran says

    As Robert Bloch said many years ago in (I think it was) Harper’s: “It was a dark day in Hollywood when producers discovered Roman numerals”

  35. kyoseki says

    Okay, then. Hollywood will never make a movie starring me as Rocket Thrust, Space Stallion.

    Honestly, that sounds more like something they’d make in Van Nuys ;)

  36. mudskipper5 says

    In the car this morning, driving kids to school, I heard a discussion of “Noah” on the radio between a DJ and one of his interns. The intern was upset because the DJ saw Noah as a fictional story. The conversation went something like this:

    Intern: The story of Noah is real. It actually happened.
    DJ: Do you understand how logistically impossible it would be to place a pair of each and every animal from all over the world on one ship for even one day, let alone 40 days?
    Intern: It was easier back then. They had farms where they kept all of these animals.
    DJ: [no response… you could practically hear his jaw dropping and hitting the floor.)

    Has anyone else read a historical record of these “farms” for sloths, giraffes, naked mole rates, dung beetles, (etc)? I was unaware that lions, tigers and bears had been domesticated during Noah’s time.

  37. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re @50:

    DJ: Do you understand how logistically impossible it would be to place a pair of each and every animal from all over the world on one ship for even one day, let alone 40 days?
    Intern: It was easier back then. They had farms where they kept all of these animals.

    DJ: Okay. Still, Do you understand how much room all those animals would take, and how small the Ark really was, in comparison to the huge number of animals?
    Intern: It was a TRUE story, Bible says so. It really happened. You know nothing. Are you Atheist?!?!?!?!!!!

    if only ;-(
    sorry; stereotyping Intern [*twirling mustache* ^o-o^]

  38. rorschach says

    Still amazed at the Bibblethumpers outrage over the Movie not be “true to the bible”,

    I’m pretty sure it’s been about 100 years now that we have known that the flood story in Genesis 6-8 is actually 2 stories melted together into a “best-of” by the bible editors. But believers seem to still be blissfully unaware of this.

  39. mudskipper5 says

    re: #51

    “Intern: It was a TRUE story, Bible says so. It really happened. You know nothing. Are you Atheist?!?!?!?!!!!”

    Actually, the DJ is an atheist. :-)

  40. says

    I would like to see a movie about the victims in the bible. Maybe the innocent Egyptian families suffering under Moses bloody god’s attacks. These poor, blameless folks having boils and deaded children etc.

  41. anuran says

    OF COURSE THEY PADDED IT OUT.
    The story of Noah is, what, a couple dozen verses. That’s not enough to make a feature-length film.

    Now, if they’d done the Ramayana or the Mahabharata they could keep going for frickin’ YEARS

  42. Al Dente says

    anuran @55

    Now, if they’d done the Ramayana or the Mahabharata they could keep going for frickin’ YEARS

    Bollywood has been milking the Mahaburata for scripts since the 1930s.

  43. rwgate says

    @16 I always liked the cartoon showing two dinosaurs standing on a rock as the Ark sailed away. Caption: You’re kidding me! That was today?

  44. anuran says

    Al Dente @65

    An elderly martial arts teacher of mine grew up in Indonesia. The first movie he saw was a Western, probably Tom Mix.

    The folks in his village were a little confused until they realized it was the story of the Prince, the Princess and the Demon King done by White people in funny costumes. Once they understood it was straight out of the Ramayana they could follow along just fine.

  45. jamessweet says

    the net effect is something like a Catholic Sunday-school video mixed with the scenes Ridley Scott rejected as too hokey for “Prometheus.”

    Let me tell you folks, that is AWESOME. That is a GOOD THING.

    I’ve always said, the day we know we have triumphed over religion is the day that, next to the “Take a picture with Santa” display in the mall, there’s a kiosk where your kid can get a “First Communion” picture taken with a guy dressed like the Pope.

    A culture’s mythology never goes away, but it can transmute into cheesy entertainment. Anything that takes religious iconography and shoves it into pop culture like chocolate into peanut butter, giving it all the respect and reverence it deserves (i.e. none), that is a step in the right direction.

  46. vaiyt says

    Intern: It was easier back then. They had farms where they kept all of these animals.

    “And here’s the elephant farm, and the lion farm, and the koala farm, and the hippo farm, and the black mamba farm, and the trap spider farm…”

  47. jerthebarbarian says

    I want you to know that I read that last paragraph wrong and thought you wrote that Ridley Scott was working on a sequel to Prometheus that was a retelling of the Moses story.

    Which, frankly, might be kind of interesting. At least it would have a plot. Unlike Prometheus.

    I’ve actually read some bits that Noah has a strong “fantasy” angle – as in there are apparently CGI Grigori “angels” in it and some massive battle sequences between them and the humans who aren’t Noah and his family. Honestly the more fantastic elements make it sound like it might actually be watchable – the ads I’ve seen so far make it out to be a “realistic” movie (or as “realistic” as you can get when you have a guy who is going to build a big wooden cube to shove a bunch of animals in while they wait out a massive flood that destroys all life on Earth). A fantasy movie using the story of Noah as a basis sounds a lot more interesting.

    I was holding out for Space Noah. Maybe Ridley Scott can do that one as a sequel to the sequel to Prometheus :)