Authors note: I co-authored a novel entitled “The Rain” which was published in 2007 based upon the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark. My co-author and I took great pains to make sure that our fictional embellishment of the story would not contradict, or in any way be disrespectful to, the scriptural account. As such, our book won the 2008 award for “Best Historical Fiction” from the Christian Writers Association. We have received complimentary cards and letters from 15 countries around the world and from persons of multiple faiths regarding our book as well as endorsements from area pastors. We spent over two years researching, writing and mentally, “hanging out” on the ark. This review is written from the basis of that experience. If you would like a copy, either a Kindle version or a print version can be ordered at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Rain-Chris-Skates/dp/0989148629/ref=pd_cp_b_0
I went into the theater trying to keep an open mind. I was determined not to hurl sour grapes at this movie simply because I was jealous that no movie studio ever bought the screen rights to my book. I watched the previews and based on the special effects of the ark itself, it looked like the producers at least had the dimensions and the shape of the ark right. I figured if nothing else I would enjoy the experience of seeing this vessel, that I had intensely imagined for two years, in all its Hollywood special effects glory.
I went alone so I could really focus on the story and see what the screenwriter envisioned versus what we did for our version of the story. I had my popcorn ready and a smile on my face as the lights at Cinemark dimmed. That’s the last time I remember smiling. This movie is just awful. And I don’t mean just from the standpoint of Biblical inaccuracy. It is so NOT Biblical that it would take ten pages to list all the errors. But if one can force themselves to sit the Biblical concerns aside for a minute, this movie is bad strictly from an entertainment standpoint. From a writer/storyteller standpoint it is an absolute hot mess.
One of the first things I noticed is that the screenplay is a big rip off of other movies. The storyline is a strange story stew of elements of Mad Max, The Shinning, The Hobbit, and E.T. with some marvel comics thrown in. I would say “spoiler alert” here but I don’t think I can spoil this movie, the producers already did that.
First of all the Mad Max elements-clearly the wardrobe department blew the dust off the old Mad Max costumes for this one. But it’s not just that. Every character, every set, is just…grimy. Now I am sure the folk of the antediluvian period probably weren’t standard bearers for hygiene. But for crimeny sake! Do they have to have actual dirt on every square inch of skin every second? And what was with Noah’s (Russell Crowe’s) hair? The dude changed hairstyles more often than Cher. I know…I know…they were trying to depict the passage of time but still, I say go long hair or short hair and stick with it. Just let Noah go gray to depict time. But seriously, the overall feel of the movie is very dark and very depressing throughout. There is never really a feel of redemption for the family or of the hope of a new beginning.
The Shining- The Noah of this movie only hears from God once, and then not very clearly, and then decides that God is leading him (although I don’t know why he thought this as he had said earlier in the movie God only spoke to him about the ark) to kill his whole family. As far as I could glean from the poorly crafter plot:
- The flood was coming because man polluted the planet.
- Noah thinks his job is strictly to rescue the animals (who are all pure and innocent and good while man is foul and guilty and bad) only because man has polluted the environment so badly that God wants to start over.
- Therefore, once the animals are safely to whatever their destination is, Noah wants to kill his family and himself because he just knows they will mess everything up in the new creation like mankind did in the old world.
Because of this murderous plot by Noah (who 2 Peter 2:5 calls “a preacher of righteousness” by the way), one character or another in the movie spends about 50% of the dialogue screeching at one another.
The Hobbit- Okay, here is where it gets REALLY dumb. Noah is helped by these things called “The Watchers” (apologies to Marvel Comics fans). The watchers are made out of rock. But they’re not really rock of course cause that would be silly. No you see, they are actually fallen angels. Apparently God (only referred to as “The Creator” throughout the movie never called God), got angry with these particular angels and cast them down to earth. Also apparent from the movie, being cast down makes one very hot (re-entry into the atmosphere and all that I suppose) so these angels landed on the rocks and the rocks melted and fused around them so now they are trapped in the rocks like the rocks are their actual body only it’s not a body…got it?…good!
So the rock people/watchers help Noah and do most of the building of the ark which is probably a real pain for the rock people seeing as how they don’t appear to have a prehensile thumb among the whole group of them. But overall they are nice guys so they suck it up and build the ark anyway. (Hey! Look Ma! I don’t need a hammer on account of I’m made of rock!) But the part of the rock people that bugged me the most was that they act and talk EXACTLY like the giant tree people in the Lord of the Rings movies. Again, it’s a total rip off of that story.
E.T.- Finally, because the rock people have an actual angel inside of them, they glow from the inside. I couldn’t help but hear Neil Diamond singing “Turn on your heart light” from E.T. every time I saw these things.
There is more to criticize. Much… much… more. I haven’t even touched the theological omissions. I’ll leave that to others as many reviews have already been written. The sad part is, there are going to be thousands of kids that see this and it will be their only exposure to the story. The point of this review is just to highlight what a lousy, boring and downright dumb movie this is, not to mention dark and depressing. Basically Hollywood used a 100 million dollars to turn one of the greatest stories in human history into a dud. Don’t waste your money.