It’s been seven years since the Noah film came out. Seven is a perfect number, and the world was made in seven days, if you take Genesis 1 literally. Depending on how you take the rest of Genesis, you might have a different take on the film.
A lot of people hated it, and not just because it took some liberties with interpretation that would inevitably offend various religious groups. Some of the liberties themselves just confuse the story, not only the Genesis account, but the movie script itself.
That’s not to say it wasn’t good in parts, especially considering how nobody had ever really done a good Noah movie. But after seven years, are you still talking about it? It could have been better, I think, with some tweaking.
I’ve suggested five ways to fix the Noah film:
- Take Tubalcain off the boat
It’s not just about being picky over the original narrative, in which nobody but Noah’s family survives the flood. It also misses the point of the narrative. Tubalcain being expanded as a distinctive villain that represents the worst in humanity is fine. But he should die in the flood like everyone else, letting us believe that evil is vanquished.
He shows up on the boat, similar to how he does in the film, except it’s not really him. It’s Noah’s hallucination of him. Because you see, Noah has evil in his heart too, and he carries that same “gene” of evil. This change would also add complexity to Noah’s struggle to understand God’s will. (This leads to way to fix the movie number 5).
- No Golems
I get it, they’re supposed to be angels that fell from heaven and all. It just mucks up the story, in my opinion, but in the interest of making it feel more eipic. It’s epic enough. You can include Nephilim as giants, but making them rock monsters just adds unnecessary fantasy elements. And yes, I get that it’s based in Jewish folklore.
- Evolution? Not in Noah’s story
Look, I get that people debate interpretations of Genesis 1, but throwing evolutionary hints in a film about Noah just confuses the Noah story for a lot of people and draws unnecessary ire from many Christian critics.
- Represent Race
It just doesn’t make sense that nearly everybody is white. Noah’s family is literally supposed to reseed the whole planet with humans.
- Clarify Noah’s psychology v God’s visions
A better effort could have been made to explore the visions God gives Noah and his own. Look, I love the idea that Noah is tormented by the possibility that God wants him to rescue the animals and not people. It’s a realistic idea. Noah struggles to see why God is asking what he’s asking, if it’s really what he wants. This is why the “ghost” of Tubalcain can be used to explore that idea. But at the end of the story the ambiguity needs to be removed. It’s a story of hope.
I used to think that Bible stories were easily adaptable to the big screen, but maybe they’re not. Maybe Hollywood’s story demands, even when it’s open to religious belief, require some absurdities that only make sense to Hollywood.
Or maybe it’s just a movie.