How Should Pastors Feel About the "Noah" Movie?
It all depends what you're hoping for from the upcoming biblical epic. From well-regarded (and edgy) director Darren Aronofsky (of "Black Swan" fame), and with an A-list cast, the classic bible tale promises to be big. It also will veer from the plot points of scripture in at least a few regards, from a glance at the film's trailer.
The big-budget (over 135 million by conservative estimates) flick draws inspiration not only from Genesis, but from a graphic novel that spins Noah as a Mad Max-esque figure … and six-armed angels.
Aronofsky sees strong environmental messages in the flood story, and recognizes the gritty reality of the Old Testament narratives:
"[Noah was the] first environmentalist. [The] first person to plant vineyards, drink wine and get drunk. I was stunned going back and realizing how dirty some of those [Bible] stories are. They're not PG in any way. They're all about sleeping with your brother's sister who gives you a child who you don't know. That kind of stuff got censored out of our religious upbringing."
It's a Hollywood risk. Test screenings of the film before key audiences didn't go as hoped, and the test-audiences sensitivities (which were likely at least partially religious in nature) might mirror your own. But given Aronofsky's vision, it at least promises to be interesting, and will prompt conversation in your congregation.
So how should pastors feel? Cautiously optimistic, open-minded, and with expectations (of exegesis and interpretational liberty) that fit the source—Hollywood.
As one Out of Ur reader put it: "I always thought the OT narratives were the action/adventure stories of Scripture. And I'm glad "Master and Commander" Russell Crowe has another ship to command."
Copyright © 2013 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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