John Wright Watched Noah So You Don’t Have To

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Audience stampeding from Noah film

Science fiction writer John C. Wright has an epic, and scathing, review of the film Noah at his blog:

Aronofsky’s NOAH would be a fine movie for Earthday, or as a source for ideas for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Aside from this, the movie was bad, and bad, and bad.

First, it was bad in my eyes for reasons which are simply a matter of my expectations and tastes, which I would not necessarily expect anyone else to share.

On that basis, I can only warn away men who share my particular tastes and quirks, which may be no one. I thought the look of the movie was colorless, unappealing, unmemorable. It was drab.

Second, it was bad as story, bad for reasons which even judges who like the movie for other reasons will agree are bad as story telling: bad on technical grounds.

On that basis, I can warn away anyone who likes a well-crafted story, or even a poorly-crafted story trying to tell a story. The story-telling sank during the second half of the film, and the plot snarled into a knot of nonsense. It was bad.

Third, it was bad as a Bible story, bad for reasons which only Christians, or Conservatives or both would consider bad, but which tree-hugging misanthropic miscreants on the Left would like.

On that basis, I can warn away anyone who is Christian as a well as any non-Christians who do not bow the knee in pious reverence at the ugly Leftist altars of man-hating Gaea-worship. Vegetarians yearning for the destruction of mankind might like this movie; and also vehement anti-Christians and anti-Semites who want to see Bible stories mocked and deconstructed. The movie was a sneer against God and Man and everything good in life. I rarely find movies morally offensive; this movie was. It was evil.

Go here to read the rest.  The usual warning about spoilers, if this dog’s breakfast of an atheist-New Age-ecofreak  take on Noah can be spoiled, is in effect.

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  1. Aces!

    Money quotes: “tree-hugging misanthropic miscreants . . . ” And, ” . . . man-hating Gaea-worship.”

    Apparently, the Hollywood rapscallions-in-production believe that Gaea sent the flood to punish Man’s sins against herself. They worship creation, not the Creator.

    In fact, the Creator sent the punishment for sins against the Creator, and to wipe away with water the obstacles (violence and all manner of corruption) man himself had placed in the way of his salvation. Noah was a just man who cooperated with God in His plan for Man’s salvation.

  2. T Shaw wrote, “Noah was a just man”

    Over at First Things, Wesley Hill makes a very good point:

    “Noah found favor with God, says the text of Genesis (charis, or “grace,” in the Greek translation of Genesis 6:8). And, for Paul (in contrast to many of his fellow Torah-reading contemporaries), “grace” is defined as a gift given to the unfitting (Romans 4:4-5). Genesis subsequently notes that Noah was a righteous man (Genesis 6:9), and according Paul, that’s the proper order: first grace, then the status of righteousness. It’s not that God found someone who had already attained a certain level of goodness and then crowned it with the verdict of justification. For Paul, the reverse is true.”

  3. Genesis chapters 6 through 9 are so much more factual. But the facts have never interested either the Gaia-worshiping liberal leftists or their Hollywood promoters. Sadly, few Americans (to whom this film is directed) are equally non-interested in the facts. Being titillated by movie special effects is so much more fun.

  4. Michael, note that the word was in ““Noah was a righteous man” is an interpolation; there’s no verb there in the Hebrew. The verse could just as well have been translated, “Noah, the righteous man, was whole-hearted in his age.” So the entire point about chronological order is groundless.

    (The Midrash records a disagreement about the interpretation of the clause “he was whole-hearted in his age”: Either it means “he was relatively whole-hearted for his generation” or it means “he was whole-hearted even in his perverted generation”. [Both are possible at once, of course.] But the text does not support a reading of Noah’s salvation being arbitrary; nor does Ezekiel 14:13–14.)

  5. I’m so sorry John Wright took his daughter to see this movie! This has been my pet-peeve with this “re-telling” of a biblical story. There are so many people out there that will buy up this nonsense because they have not heard the story properly.

  6. The abject ‘technological artists of truth and beauty misrepresentation’ are now probably watching dollar signs and intelligent accolades fail their muddied purpose. It is ironic that the inspired source of the ‘story’ could teach them to avoid the ‘history repeating itself’ syndrome of failure and misery.

  7. “They worship creation, not the Creator.” T Shaw
    Yup. Bishop Sheen taught us in a Life is Worth Living episode that real wit is a gift of God… the ability to see through a situation to its real meaning and depth. God has given this intellectual and spiritual gift so we can see him in the transparency of his self revelation in nature, in His Incarnation and in His Sacred Body and Blood. What darkens our ability to see past the creation to perceive the Creator-? Sin….we must pray for grace and for light.
    We are not surprised that atheists and new agers do not see God because of all the strange gods they have before Him.
    Lots of Christians will go to this movie.
    I thank God for TAC and for this reviewer helping folks to see more clearly what the rather gray message is.

  8. I saw the movie last week, and was mildly entertained. I’m not asking for either my time nor my money back. I do agree with Mr. Wright that the part of the film where the ark was floating on the waters was its weakest point, narrative-wise. But I strenuously object to calling the movie a “re-telling” of the Noah story. What it is, is a story line based, not on Genesis, but on the Book of Enoch. Now I know that very few Christians have read, or even heard of, the Book of Enoch. But I have read it – a copy of it sits on my library shelf next to the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Enoch was written at approximately the same time that Jesus walked the Earth, and is actually quoted in the New Testament (in Jude). I highly recommend it, by the way – it sheds considerable light on what Jewish messianic thought was in the 1st Century A.D.

    Anyway, for reasons known best by themselves, the producers of this movie decided to adhere to the storyline as portrayed in Enoch, instead of Genesis. It is there that they got the idea for the “Watchers” from, although they did put their own (rather clever) spin on how to portray them.

    We Christians have nothing to fear from this movie, despite its flaws. Yes, the back-to-nature bit might be a little over the top, but Genesis does strongly hint that Noah was a vegetarian (but does not come right out and say so).

  9. In the comments to Wright’s article there is a link to a very interesting article by a Dr. Brian Mattson, who asserts that Aronofsky is not trying to follow the Bible, but is actually following the tenets of Kabbalah in his story.

  10. In general, the newer movies cannot hold a candle to the classics of 30 years ago and older.

    The news ones have weak stories and sub par acting and directing. Special effects is all most of them have to offer.

    No thanks.

  11. We Christians have nothing to fear from this movie, despite its flaws. Yes, the back-to-nature bit might be a little over the top, but Genesis does strongly hint that Noah was a vegetarian (but does not come right out and say so).

    1) Who on earth is afraid of a bad movie? Other than possibly wasting money on watching it.
    2) What are you talking about as hinting at vegetarianism?

  12. Genesis 9:2. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

  13. In general, the newer movies cannot hold a candle to the classics of 30 years ago and older.

    Thirty years ago would be Flashdance, Risky Business, and Mr. Mom.

  14. J C Salomon wrote, “the text does not support a reading of Noah’s salvation being arbitrary”

    Of course not. But, as St Thomas teaches, “Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things, no one would be better than another, if God did not will a greater good to one than to another.” [Ia, q. 20, a. 3] Obviously, the person who keeps the commandments is better than the one who is able to do so, but does not. Therefore, he who keeps the commandments is more beloved and assisted by God. In short, God loves that person, to whom He grants that he keep the commandments, more than another in whom He permits sin.

  15. After reading Father Barron a second time this came to my mind: If God were not a Person, then man could not have a personal relationship with our God. This is essential since religion is a personal relationship with our God in private and in public, as Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church:
    Th Jefferson
    Jan. 1. 1802.
    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    Here we have a definition of freedom of religion, the First Amendment, after which Jefferson writes about a “wall of separation” . The “WALL” comes after all freedom of the First Amendment is fulfilled, especially the part: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” “that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions,”
    Obama’s opinion that citizens must pay for abortaficients, is Obama’s and Sebelius’ private opinion and these government offices do not authorize the authentic power to impose the private opinions of the officeholders on the citizens.
    “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    The citizen has “rights of conscience” as “the supreme will of the nation”. Jefferson sees “with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

    Man’s “natural right” is not “in opposition to his social duties”. Man’s natural rights are not in conflict with social Justice.
    This belongs over at the post on atheism. so with your permission, it is posted there.

  16. I have now read several thorough reviews of Noah, and I’m left questioning the credibility of folks like Fr. Barron, Al Kresta, Steve Graydamus who have given this movie positive reviews. Did they see a different movie or did they completely overlook the more objectionable parts?

  17. I have not seen the movie Noah, and from what I read I may not. Does Russel Crowe fulfill the character of the ancient and real Noah, or does Crowe epitomize the Culture of Death, subliminally capturing the minds of our uninformed minor children? The disclaimer at the beginning of the picture that the film is loosely based on the biblical story of Noah, using Noah name and a flood does not hold water. The only and minimal good to come of this film is if it peaks a child’s interest in the true Bible story of Noah.

  18. “Thirty years ago would be Flashdance, Risky Business, and Mr. Mom”

    Now that really makes me feel old….

  19. Except that Abel was already raising flocks and offering up the fatty portion to God.

    Now Foxfier, farmers utilize animals & flocks for far more than than just meat. Heck back then it would have been their primary source of agricultural labor. So they could still tend flocks and been vegetarian at least conceptually.

    Though as John says, the pre-flood world would be almost as alien to us as the worlds of Star Trek. One wonders if, in the world where Adam & Eve were still within living memory, animals would have been seen in a much different light. If man would have been reluctant to eat them as we are the family dog. He’s right, there’s a lot of fascinating story potential to be mined from that time…

  20. Oh, there’s potential, I just object to claims of “strongly imply” when it follows– text wise– close behind mention that strongly implies that raising animals for food is favored!

    If they didn’t eat meat, then offering the high-food-value of the first born stock has a much different meaning– more like offering God the parts you don’t use.

    If I had to guess at the reason for the animals-will-fear-you thing, I’d look a bit closer to home where they did just get the animals out of the ark. It would only be fair to warn the newly landed humans that “Hey, you won’t be able to walk up and just hit animals over the head. By the way, sacrifice their life blood to me.” (Which, symbolically, is a very good reminder that all life is His. Plus prevents the meat going bad if you’re a long way from camp and hunting.)

  21. Phillip-
    Folks have different tolerances. If the stuff folks mention as bugging them also bug you, don’t; if the stuff they mention as bugging them make you go “…. WHAT?” then go.

  22. Sadly, Father Barron is also the one who said that he has a reasonable expectation that no one will go to Hell. Does that sound like a man from whom you would have ‘a reasonable expectation’ of a review in line with Catholic teaching? At this point, I don’t look to Father Barron for an understanding totally in line with the Catholic Catechism.
    See it here:

    What it comes down to is, is the individual seeing the film, able to determine the difference between a semi-fictional movie and the reality of Bible truth.

  23. St. D-
    You should maybe be a bit careful when accusing someone of being untrue to Catholic teaching. There is a massive difference between reasonably hope and reasonably expect, and if you don’t agree that there is then you should have no problem using accurately quoting him.
    There’s also a computer generated transcript at youtube; the word “expect” does not show up anywhere on it, and various forms of “Reasonable” are not next to any word that is even similar to “expect.”

  24. Foxfier, I stand corrected. Yet according to the Meriam Webster dictionary Hope is to desire with expectation of obtainment. Note ‘expectation’.

    My point remains that if Jesus made it appear rather obvious that some will go to Hell, we must be careful of a teacher who is having a great effect on the faith of millions, yet is teaching something other than that. We must always stay within the bounds of the teaching of the magestrium. There is no reasonable hope or expectation that no one will go to Hell. According to the CCC, anyone who dies in Mortal Sin… is excluded from Christ’s kingdom and have the eternal death of hell. Are we to assume that no one has ever died in Mortal Sin. I have spent half my life in a unrepentant state of mortal sin, and I would be considered by the world as having high moral character (sad to say).

  25. In “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” Pope John Paul II wrote, “The silence of the Church [on the subject of universal salvation] is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, “it would be better for that man if he had never been born” (Mt 26:24), his words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.”
    Of the Fathers, Clement of Alexandria, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Gregory Nazianzen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Evagrius Ponticus, (on occasion) Jerome of Bethlehem and St Maximus the Confessor all taught the possibility of universal salvation and, among modern theologians, so did Henri Cardinal de Lubac, Jean Cardinal Daniélou and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

  26. Somebody gave this a positive review? Aside from its many flaws, it grows more boring with every moment. I took my family before any review, and even the kids ended up yawning and laughing when the drunken Noah slobbers on the beach. And then my poor kids had to endure my lecture about the bad theology in the movie like fallen angels (you know, the rock Ents borrowed from another movie) going
    to heaven. Awful!

  27. Hope, in its widest acceptation, is described as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it. The Scholastics say that it is a movement of the appetite towards a future good, which though hard to attain is possible of attainment. Consideration of this state of soul is limited in this article to its aspect as a factor in the supernatural order. Looked at in this way it is defined to be a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God’s help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it.

  28. Foxfier, well then I guess there really isn’t any reason for me to be working so hard to guarantee my salvation. I will follow the example of so many around me, abandon my wife and kids, get rid of the stress and go party.

  29. Do you really think hard work guarantees salvation? That you are perhaps earning it, and deserve it for being less of an insert-a-negative-descriptor-here than those guys over there?

  30. Alinksy’s comment is probably the best argument against universal salvation, something that the Church concedes we may hope for if we wish but is not remotely demanded by Tradition. Even the most hopeful theologians who speculate that God may well give everyone “one last chance,” perhaps even one that is post-death and quite concrete, concede that our free will will allow us to decline. While it is hard to imagine one declining in such a circumstance, it is certainly conceivable, and the sin most likely to cause such permanent separation is pride. Some men will probably refuse to worship God, even after meeting him. This was the path of the fallen angels and it is doubtful that men will fare better.

  31. Final Impenitence has been a big concern of mine for the last few years, wanting very much to understand; hoping that I can pray or intercede for my loved one who rejects Jesus and the Church. I think Pope Francis has implied that we cannot effect a change in the spiritual life of another person, (I suppose) because of their inviolable conscience.
    As far as works and grace, I agree that we do, out of the obedience of faith, have to behave according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. The issue hinges on Where our faith is placed—on our works or on our Lord. Our faith is in God, not in our works, but we still know that he judges our obedience in the judgement of our actions … that when we give that drink of cold water that ultimately separates us from the goats, it is not a vain work, but a reverential one.

    *it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.

  32. At least this movie is making people check out more closely exactly what their bible says.
    Yes- just as you say- Foxfier
    Genesis 4 “and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions.”
    Abel’s offering foreshadowed the Lamb of God and was eminently acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.
    In the Book of Moses (the holocaust offering) the animal was burnt up not eaten.
    Owning animals is indicative of the provision of God. Abel’s flock may have been for skin/wool/ milk… We do know an animal was sacrificed when God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skin after their sin.
    Gen. 2 God creates plant life and specifically gives permission to eat vegetation at will, later when He creates the animals He does not give that specific permission.
    Gen. 9 lets them know it is ok to eat animals, if the blood is drained.
    Maybe they had been eating meat all along, who knows! 🙂 but the first time we know He gives them permission is in Gen 9

  33. My summary:
    He gives permission back before they eat the fruit. Food related.
    Death enters via their sin– they are clothed in animal skin and kicked out.
    Their son offers the “fatty portion” of some of his flock to God, who is pleased; his brother also offers food.
    The farmer kills the rancher; the life-blood is mentioned.
    Time passes.
    Noah somehow gets all the animals on the ark, and they survive.
    The ark lands, God informs Noah that the animals are going to be afraid of humans after this, and that they can eat animals like plants– except that they have to offer the blood, it’s for God only. Life-blood and food, again.
    Emphasis on life is incredibly important, think about it inherent in the blood sacrifice. (see footnote)
    It seems unlikely that the food-and-life theme was broken by Abel basically offering clothing by-products.
    There are conflicting traditions, too; here’s a footnote on it.
    The Bible likewise says that the offerings after the flood were burnt, but that is traditional for an offering to God; while I’ve got no beef with the Mormons, I do not consider Joseph Smith authoritative.
    we know that psychopaths often start on animals before they start on people; possibly God was setting the “all blood is mine” thing to help alter the way that people think about death, to try to make a hesitation before spilling blood to protect those made in His image. If so, that would argue for eating meat being extremely common– and the “fatty portion” would be of very high food value, as well as flavorful.

  34. Mary de Voe wrote, “Saint Thomas Aquinas’ sister asked him “How does one get to heaven?” Thomas replied: “Will it.” “

    St Augustine also said, “Who are the elect? You, if you want to be.”

    Both would have conceded that the desire itself is God’s gift. “Quod enim (says St. Augustine) amplius nos delectat, secundum operemur necesse est – Our actions are necessarily determined by that which affords us the greatest pleasure.” Thus, as Pascal explains, “God transforms the heart of man, by shedding abroad in it a heavenly sweetness, which surmounting the delights of the flesh, and inducing him to feel, on the one hand, his own mortality and nothingness, and to discover, on the other hand, the majesty and eternity of God, makes him conceive a distaste for the pleasures of sin which interpose between him and incorruptible happiness. Finding his chiefest joy in the God who charms him, his soul is drawn towards Him infallibly, but of its own accord, by a motion perfectly free, spontaneous, love-impelled; so that it would be its torment and punishment to be separated from Him.” This is what St Augustine means, when he says, “Voluntas quippe humana non libertate consequitur gratiam, sed gratia potius libertatem – the human will does not attain grace by freedom, but rather attains freedom by grace.”

  35. John C. Wright writes:

    “So the film personally offended me, offended my family, and had its desired effect, which was to make the Bible harder to teach to my daughter.”

    If Wright wants teaching the Bible to be easy, he should stick to his recommended cartoon films. And if he wants to play the victim, he will find good company in the countless other victim groups wailing about how this, that, or the other person has “offended” their tender sensibilities.

  36. If you can’t tell the difference between objecting to making a thing needlessly harder and wanting it to be EASY, perhaps you shouldn’t be snarking at people.

  37. Foxfier, you said ‘Do you really think hard work guarantees salvation? That you are perhaps earning it, and deserve it for being less of an insert-a-negative-descriptor-here than those guys over there?’

    I didn’t say that hard work guarantees salvation, but you almost sound like a baptist where it isn’t under our control to gain salvation, it is only by faith and that faith comes from God, so we can just coast along and let it happen. What I am saying is that there is effort involved in any relationship. If you don’t put forth the effort, the relationship suffers. Any good husband knows that. But St Paul, St Peter, and St James make it so very obvious that you must put forth effort in order to fulfill your goal of everlasting life.

    Pope Benedict’s Encyclical Letter ‘Spe Salve’ opens with ‘salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the EFFORT of the journey.’

    St Paul says at Philippians 2:12 ‘Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,’

    Jesus says at Matt 24:13 “He who endures to the end will be saved”
    Rom 11:22 says “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.”

    St Paul again says at Hebrews 10:26-29 “26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?”

    I can go on and on. The gist is that we must put forth effort to overcome the temptations of Satan. We also know that Jesus gave St Therese a vision of souls falling into hell like snowflakes. He told her that this was happening.

    I can see that you have a great love for your fellow man. That is very commendable. As Christians we must not judge our neighbor and we must love our fellow man. But as a father I know that there are times when we must discipline our children for whom our love is greater than anyone else. Likewise God must discipline us as well as keep heaven pure. If someone refuses to show the kind of love required of us all in heaven, they choose to go to Hell. Just as people today choose to be miserable.

  38. St Donatus on Monday, April 7, A.D. 2014 at 7:59am
    I didn’t say that hard work guarantees salvation, but you

    Direct cut and paste:

    St Donatus on Wednesday, April 2, A.D. 2014 at 2:58pm
    Foxfier, well then I guess there really isn’t any reason for me to be working so hard to guarantee my salvation.

    Please stop trying to change the subject.

  39. You got me again. I guess I should have said that I didn’t word it well. Obviously WE nor anyone else can guarantee our salvation but hopefully you are bright enough to understand what I meant. I was using an extreme case in order to illustrate my point. My point was pretty obvious, you appear to believe that we really don’t have to do anything in order to be saved but that is not what the Bible and the Church teach. That was my point. Rather than nit picking about this word I used or that, we need to concentrate on the points we are discussing.

  40. We just got home from watching “Noah”. We didn’t think it was very good. The story was hokey, really hokey. If there are people who don’t read the bible because they have heard it is a collection of unbelievable myths, this movie ought to seal that issue for them. The music was… wait, was there music.
    We thought the actors did a great job and we were glad it was a pro-life movie after all, even though the whole message seemed so confused,

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