I know that Noah’s old news, but I just saw it for the first time and I have thoughts.
Mad Max asks, “Who killed the world?” Noah answer, “We did. We killed the world.” And Noah’s conscience suffers greatly because of this.
Therein lies my main problem with this movie.
Deviances from the story, I expect–not everyone believes in the Bible. That’s fine. The creators chose to weave in different beliefs from… I think it was Jewish gnosticism. That’s actually quite interesting, and I’ll try to mention it again later, but I kinda enjoyed that part. It didn’t bother me the way it bothered my more conservative friends.
What bothered me was how Noah-centric they made this film.
That may seem odd, but Noah had a wife and three sons–who, by the way, were already married when the floodwaters came.
Because he thought he was carrying out God’s will, this Noah not only kept his sons from even meeting women outside their family (because “oh no everyone else is immoral and no one’s worth saving now we’re all doomed to judgment”), but he also let Ham’s love interest die because he thought God wanted the human race to die out completely.
That is so far off base i cannot even
Ham became jealous and bitter. He wanted someone. His older brother, Shem, had a love interest. His father had his mother. Every animal had a partner–remind me to touch on that again later.
But because of his father’s self-assured decisiveness, Ham couldn’t even bring home an innocent victim who was trying to escape from the atrocities being committed by the army who came against Noah.
That’s another thing–this movie pretty much makes everything surround Noah. Everything that happens, it’s Noah’s doing, it’s Noah’s fault. People were abused and dying because Tubal-Cain got mad a Noah and decided to only feed those who could fight. Which, well, they were already eating animals before that–which was painted as a horrible terrible awful thing to do–but the story acts as though everything went to heck and back because of a grudge match, more than because humankind was already evil.
This post is already pretty long and I’ve barely even started.
It’s funny– last night, battlebat35 was telling me about Berserk. How this one guy was so consumed with revenge that he relentlessly pursued a girl who was just trying to run away. How he shrugged aside everyone and everything that got in his way, no matter how badly they tried to hurt him.
That’s essentially what Noah did when Ila gave birth to two daughters. He was convinced that God was telling him to kill them. He was convinced that mankind was so irredeemable that they should all die out. He was convinced that, since women can bear children, any girl children should die by his hand.
As you might have guessed, he would have let a male child live.
Of course he doesn’t actually kill them, so the story arc itself has some redeeming qualities. It’s about hope, and redemption, and how humans can be good even though they’re also bad.
But I loathe the middle. I hate how his wife could only beg and plead for him to change his mind, how the most “powerful” thing she did was tell him that if he killed those children, he would die alone and hated (and that that would be justice). I hated that they set up Noah to believe, without any solid proof, that he was solely responsible for the redemption of the earth.
Noah had three sons. His sons had three wives. The story could have avoided being misogynistic. Instead, it leaped right into misogyny’s arms and embraced it like a long-lost lover.
See, the thing about the Bible is that you can say it’s centered around the men if you want–but it always acknowledges that the women are still powerful.
Eve. Sara. Rachel. Esther. Mary. Martha. They all had agency. They all lived in male-dominated worlds and they still were treated as capable human beings. They were allowed to be vipers, to be tricksters, like Salome and Delilah. And I really feel this movie did women an injustice. They could have given us relatable characters. They could have expanded on what little we know of those ladies in the ark. Instead, they focused on Noah–and Japheth disappeared from the narrative almost entirely.
The rock monsters were actually interesting–there are beings like that in Dragon Age, specifically Dragon Age 2. If you look at the lore, I’d wager a guess that they even have similar stories.
What’s even more intriguing to me is that Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, uses a hand motion to put Shem to sleep–the same hand motion used in The Legend of Korra to take away bending. As far as I know, none of the stories I’ve mentioned are related in any way–the creators may have drawn inspiration from similar sources, but they weren’t telling the same stories. So it’s interesting to me that the elements within those stories are so similar.
It’s not like dwarves and elves–these aren’t things commonly seen in fantasy. Golems, sure–but this is a specific type of golem, with disjointed limbs and light peeking out from the cracks in its structure. Why now? Why are all of these similar things coming out now? I don’t think the creators talked to each other. I don’t think they collaborated. Why would they produce the same things?
I think it’s incredibly meaningful. I’m going to sit back and wait to find out why.