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Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie Review: Noah: Fictional Story

This afternoon I went to see the much talked about movie "Noah".  I was more than a little taken back by the great liberties that were taken with the biblical story.

I am normally very understanding of the need to take some literary license when producing  a film. You need to fill in gaps and maybe cut some material for timing purposes.  However this movie went a little too far for this student of the bible. It created middle earth type characters, eliminated two wives of Noah's sons and had an evil stow away on the ark who was eating the animals.

The movie also portrays Noah as an evil man who contrary to the biblical story is certain that God intended to destroy the entire human race including Noah's family.

Many Christians and Jewish Scriptural students and scholars might take offense to God not being called God but "the  Creator".  While God was the creator of heaven and earth it seems eliminating God from the movie may have been an attempt at political correctness.

In order to be fair after the movie I reread Genesis and watched interviews of Producer, Director and Writer Darren Aronofsky and Russell Crowe, who played Noah.  These efforts did not change my opinion of this movie.  Aronofsky said he wanted something fresh.  Well he got that because the story line is one I have never read before.

If you enjoy middle earth fictional movies you will likely enjoy the entertainment value this movie presents.  The actors, creativity and special effects were all outstanding but you must understand that there was a great amount of literary license taken and this movie is not true to the biblical version.

Early in the movie you are introduced to stone like creatures who are called "watchers" and claim to have been created on the second day.  They are very scary looking.   There are no references to such creatures in the Genesis account.  This is one of the reasons that the film makers deserve an A+ for creativity.

Sham is the only one of Noah's sons to take his wife aboard the ark despite Genesis teaching us that all three sons took their wives.

There is an evil character Tubal-Cain who hides on the ark and is caught eating the animals.  This clearly was not in the scripture.

There are several other biblical inaccuracies but I do not want to give away the entire movie if you choose to see it.  While I am not thrilled about lining the pockets of folks who would market a biblical movie that is fiction.  I do recommend that those who are familiar with scripture see the movie so they can use it to engage seekers and nonbelievers who have seen the movie in meaningful conversation.  I strongly recommend reading Genesis before and after the movie and suggest that to your seeking and non believing friends as well.

If the movie was promoted as a fictional work I would recommend it but as a biblical work it is a total failure that makes a mockery of  Jewish and Christian scripture.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Review: God's Not Dead

If you have received a text message that God's Not Dead you have a friend who has just seen this compelling movie.  Once again I take a path not traveled by the "professional" reviewers but this low budget Christian movie is taking the industry by storm.  In its first week it was the 5th top grossing movie with a box office take of $8.7 million.  This despite appearing in only 780 theaters while all those than ran ahead of it appeared on over 3,000 screens.

This movie is well written, well researched and well executed.  The two lead characters are a Christian college freshman who aspires to be an attorney and atheist bully Professor Radisson.  Professor Radisson requires his students to disavow God in writing by turning in a paper that says "God is Dead" or face failure in the course.  Josh decides to take on the professor and face failure if he can not convince his classmates in the existence of God.

Both characters put in a commanding performance.  Some say the story line is unbelievable but the script was taken from actual court cases dealing with religious freedom and the points debated are points that have been successfully debated by Christian apologists before.  Therefore, in my opinion the story line is very credible.

The movie reminds us of our duty to share our faith with others. as Josh, the college freshman struggles with his decision to take on his bully professor who demanded his class affirm that God is Dead in writing or face failure. He goes to a local church and seeks the counsel of a local pastor who only tells him to read Matthew 10:32-33 and that should give him the answer.  If that does not convince him of the answer he was told to read Luke 12:38.  I suggest each of you read those two verses before you read the rest of this review and pray that you will have the same courage Josh demonstrated if your faith was ever put to the test.

There are several sub plots which show others struggling with faith and God seemed to be preventing a local minister and his missionary friend from taking a vacation so the minister would be in town to counsel many of the people facing this struggle.

The Newsboys and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robinson made appearances in the movie.  I strongly recommend this movie and I recommend you take a friend who may have questions about their faith.

Watch for reviews of the other Christian movies being released shortly Noah, Exodus and Heaven is Real.