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Noah: a short review


I commend director Darren Aronofsky (who co-wrote the screenplay) for seeing the cinematic potential of the story of Noah and the ark. I mean, who’d have thunk it, since the Noah story is such a short and minor feature of the book of Genesis. But all the ingredients are there for a blockbuster, in particular apocalypse and evil and the potential for great spectacle. I was eager to see it because it’s a new addition to the apocalyptic genre, so I went on opening weekend and saw it in Imax (recommended).

Normally I would not rush out to see a bible story, but “Noah” is pissing off so many religious fanatics that I figured Aronofsky must have done a pretty good job with the theology. Glenn Beck called the film “pro-animal” and “anti-human.” And apparently Fox News has been buzzing about how “unbiblical” the film is. Excellent.

“Noah,” in addition to being a highly entertaining movie, is an eloquent takedown of the dominionist school of religious weirdos, which includes a lot of evangelicals. These are the people whose political power (with corporate backing) is keeping us in the age of fossil fuel and blocking environmental progress and conservation. These religious types seem to be getting the message that their slash-and-burn religious views make them a lot like the wicked people who had to be destroyed by flood. Save the animals but destroy all the war-loving people in order to save the earth? That spooks them, because they believe that it’s the environmentalists, the tree-huggers, and the save-the-animals people who are of the devil. Recycling and solar energy threaten their rights and their way of life. Cheap gas forever! Down with Noah and the tree-huggers and endangered species! Oops.

The theme is the same, really, as the theme of my novel Fugue in Ursa Major: what if the only way to fix this planet’s problems is to have an apocalypse and start over from scratch with a little more respect for nature?

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