So more fun again with talking about faith and entertainment.
It’s a well known fact that when it comes to translating the Bible into works of art, there is always much debate over how it’s done. Whether it’s in books or movies, when you take the Bible and transfer it to a different medium there are always going to be people who find this offensive and sacrilegious no matter how well it’s done.
Me personally: unless something goes so far off the deep end that it really feels like the author/director is purposely mocking my faith with their work, then I really have no problems with creative license. My faith is strong enough that one movie or book isn’t going to shatter it.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing the movie Noah directed by Darron Aronofsky that’s coming out at the end of March. The story of Noah is well known to anyone and it hasn’t been done SO many times that it’s repetive. The cast list is fantastic (Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson) and Aronofsky is an awesome award winning director. I’m really excited that this is being done as a Hollywood movie because that means that the special effects, acting, and directing will actually be GOOD. Because I’m sorry, 9 times out of a 10, a movie made by Christians just doesn’t have the same artistic value.
In an article posted in The Hollywood Reporter, Aronofsky was quoted as saying:
“We wanted to smash expectations of who Noah is. The first thing I told [star] Russell [Crowe] is, ‘I will never shoot you on a houseboat with two giraffes behind you.’ … You’re going to see Russell Crowe as a superhero, a guy who has this incredibly difficult challenge put in front of him and has to overcome it. … I had no problem completely honoring and respecting everything in the Bible and accepting it as truth. … For people who are very literal-minded, it would be great to communicate that the themes of the film are very much in line with the themes of the Bible—ideas about hope, second chances and family. If they allow that, they’re going to have an incredible experience with the movie. If they don’t allow it, it’s theirs to lose.”
Now for me personally, I’m perfectly fine with his explanation and I’m ready to see what he’ll bring to the table to the story. Because for me, even though the story of Noah is in the Bible, there’s still a whole bunch that’s missing. This is why I like Biblical fiction because you can expound on the lives of the characters that the Bible leaves out. And for me as long as accurate historical research is done (that’s the historian in me), I’m fine with creative licensing to flesh out the characters and make their stories come alive. My only quip would be if they got things historically accurate, and I’m a bit surprised that most of the cast is white, but as long as the story is good, I’m ok with that.
But not everyone agrees with me. I’ve been reading comments where people are already planning on boycotting because they feel that nothing should be added to the story. And how it’s sacrilegious to bring this on the screen. Many of these comments are from Christians, who from what I can tell seem to be VERY conservative in their thinking and to me seem a little close minded. They don’t want to give it a chance. The comments then becoming judgemental and honestly a little ignorant and the legalism in these folks makes me want to keep slamming my head on a desk.
Which then frustrates me because these are the same people that complain that Hollywood will not ever cater to those who are Christians. Yet here again is Hollywood putting out a movie by a well known and respected director who is saying that he DOES accept the Bible as truth, and Christians immediately want to boycott without seeing anything. And you wonder why Hollywood doesn’t put out faith based movies? Because when they test the waters, YOU RUN AWAY FROM IT.
Here’s the other thing. The story of Noah is from the Old Testament which is really the Torah which is of course the Jewish holy book. Aronofsky was raised Jewish so he knows the stories. I think some Christians tend to forget that what is in the Bible isn’t 100% just for Christians. While I’m not denying at all that what is in the Bible isn’t truth and God’s word, there’s also a lot more that happened in those stories that we just don’t know because we weren’t there. I don’t believe it’s “adding to the word of God” anymore than I felt The Da Vinci Code did. I’m strong enough in my faith to not believe that one movie or story is going to wreck it.
And that’s why I’m looking forward to this movie and any other Biblical adaption that’s coming out this year. For me personally, these things will always be a good discussion starter. I don’t come out of any movie automatically believing what I’ve seen is true. I am not the person that instantly believes everything I hear or see. And if this movie can bring this story to life and eventually change lives, I’m all for it. If it’s just entertainment to me, I’m still all for it. I’m just not going to immediately boycott something BEFORE it even comes out because it may or may not be what I want it to be.
So while there will probably be a lot of Christians that refuse to see this movie, you can count on this one Christian that’s going to be there. At the Alamo Drafthouse. Eating endless bowls of popcorn with butter. Anyone want to join me?