You may have seen previews for the upcoming big studio Hollywood production of Noah, which stars Russell Crowe as the famous biblical shipwright. As we learn from The Wire, Paramount Pictures, at the urging of the National Religious Broadcasters, has acted decisively to make sure that people don't get the misapprehension that the film is a literal retelling of the biblical story of Noah. For instance, in the biblical story, God has not only all the best lines, he has all the lines. Noah never says a thing, nor does anyone else, but as you can see from the trailer, this film is full of people talking. Discrepancies like that could cause mass panic, so the studio will be adding this statement to all the film's promotional materials:
"The film is inspired by the story of Noah.
While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.
The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."
Phew! Now that we have that cleared up, I thought as a public service I'd detail a few more things in the film that aren't taken directly from the Old Testament:
- At one point, Noah is complaining to his wife about all the hardship God is putting him through. He pauses, looks at her, and says, "He's standing right behind me, isn't He?" Yep.
- After wrestling a surprisingly recalcitrant pair of pandas on board, Noah shakes his head and says, "I'm getting too old for this shit."
- Noah gets help from a boat-builder, who's on his last big job before retiring. As he describes his dream of owning a little repair shop on the Sea of Galilee, the audience realizes he's going to die, as is the young guy who shows Noah a parchment drawing of his sweetheart. "I sayeth, as soon as the flood is over, Rachel and I will be fruitful and multiply, if you know what I mean," the young man says. Within twenty minutes, he and the boat-builder are both dead.
- Noah's daughter-in-law is played by Emma Watson. During one of the battle scenes, just as a grubby ruffian is about to brain her with a club, she picks up a stick, points it at the man, and shouts, "Stupefy!" As he crumples unconscious to the ground, she winks knowingly at the camera.
- Despite the fact that martial arts will not come to the Middle East for thousands of years, Noah fights his enemies using a devastating combination of jiu-jitsu, kung fu, escrima, and silat; his perfectly executed tornado kick is a highlight of the film's third act.
- When Noah finally confronts the terrifying Tubal Cain, he says, "This ends tonight."
- Before fighting, Noah and Cain talk for a while. "We are not so different, you and I," says the villain. Noah replies, "I'm nothing like you." But is he?
- At the end of their dramatic fight, Cain is left hanging off a board over the side of the ark, "I'll see you in hell," says Noah as Cain's grip fails and he plunges toward the water. In a final act of defiance, Cain launches a futile stone from a slingshot as he falls.
- The film's final shot is of Noah's daughter-in-law, looking trim and beautiful despite being eight months pregnant, smiling beatifically up at her husband as he places a hand on her belly while the sun rises behind them.
Actually, that last one is probably true.
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