This week I saw Darren Aronofsky's movie and wanted to compare and contrast his "Big Idea" with the "Big Idea" of the original text. (Warning Spoilers below!)
I don't want to go into a full blown review. Paeter Frandsen has some great thoughts on his podcast.
In short, from a film standpoint, it was very well done. The animal CG was a little weak, but the plot, pacing, cinematography, and acting were all superb. I didn't care for the film score because it tried too hard to sound like it wasn't trying too hard.
But let's move to the Big Idea.
I propose that the Big Idea of the biblical story is as follows:
Exegetical Idea: When humanity became so wicked Yahweh annihilated them with a flood, Yahweh preserved righteous Noah's family to begin anew.
What happened when humanity became so wicked Yahweh annihilated them with a flood?
Yahweh preserved righteous Noah’s family to begin anew.
Exegetical Idea: When the creator saved Noah's family from the flood that annihilated wicked humanity, Noah decided to let humanity begin anew when he only saw love in his granddaughter's eyes.
What happened when the creator saved Noah's family from the flood that annihilated wicked humanity?
Noah decided to let humanity begin anew when he only saw love in his
Now before anyone starts to argue the big ideas I've proposed, let me point out that the Big Idea of any story is found at the surprise twist. The point in the story where the major tension is resolved. In the newly released film, the tension is resolved when Noah decides to not kill his newly born granddaughters (the soundtrack says so)!
The homiletic (take-away) idea in the biblical story is:
We should walk with God when no one else is because only believers will be saved from judgment.
(I lost an attender over this!)
The homiletic idea in the Aronofsky film is something along the lines of:
When we see the wickedness inside every human being we should try to find the goodness in people.
(Aronofsky made millions with this!)
But I don't want to poo-poo the whole film. I enjoyed the first two-thirds very much. As a whole I liked the film. I also appreciated a number of themes and accomplishments in the movie:
1. Total Depravity is affirmed. No one understands Original Sin as much as Noah in the film.
2. Aronofsky gave us a believable, working model for the Ark.
3. We see a couple of instances of God's undeserved favor (a.k.a. grace).
So, there you go. The Big Idea is wrong. The film is entertaining. And it got a few theological themes correct.
But let me once again write... even if the Big Idea was correct, no film or adaptation can ever, ever, ever carry the same transformational power as the Word of God.
(Shameless sermon plug here).