Clash of the Watchers


I don’t know about you, but I think I got gypped with my Bible. I have just come out of Noah where I saw amazing sights and a seriously troubled Noah to whom God refuses to say a single word. Controversy still swirls around the web concerning the movie, but I honestly have to say that it was more like Clash of the Titans (2010) than anything else. Except a thin part of the plot—and a few character names—that were borrowed from the Bible, this could have been Herodotus rather than Moses. I don’t recall finding any exploding lava angels in Genesis 1-11, and magic rocks that seem to fit better into a Mormon worldview than a biblical one. Gopher-wood trees grow incredibly fast, and Noah sure fights very well for being a six-hundred year-old man. So why all the fuss? This is a movie folks, not scripture. For the price of the ticket you can buy yourself a new Bible and read the entire story in fifteen minutes (it’s just over two chapters long). If it’s an action movie you’re looking for, I thought The Avengers was better.

What struck me most about the movie, apart from the watchers, which were admittedly an improvement on Holy Writ, was the subtext of evangelicalism. Noah, when he decides to build the ark appears suddenly with an evangelically approved haircut. He also had grown decided misanthropic, insisting that the ark is only for the animals’ sake, and that he only allows Shem to have a wife because he thinks she is barren. When he considers finding wives for Ham and Japheth, there is a huge meat for sex kind of deal going on in Tubal-Cain’s city that disgusts Noah so much that his vegetarian righteousness declares that all people will die off once the ark runs aground. And, of course, he will have to kill his granddaughters. This is a dark and tormented Noah who drinks to forget his problems in a world where God only speaks in cryptic dreams and one gets the sense that Noah is very Republican in his lack of compassion. Take out the whole human race while you’ve got the chance.

The movie is filled with mixed messages. Noah certainly doesn’t appear to live up to his name (“comfort,” by simple translation), and although the supernatural is everywhere, a compassionate deity is utterly lacking. Species die off when Tubal-Cain gets hungry. And the very sign of blessing is the skin shed by the serpent that led to the fall. What are we supposed to learn from this? A vague, Avatar-esque “the planet is good” message does give me a little hope, but seeing Noah poising a knife above an infant’s head only because she’s female makes me a bit squeamish. Noah obeys simply for obedience’s sake and people are mere stains on an otherwise ideal world. Before the fall Adam and Eve veritably glowed. Adam stoops to pick up the serpent’s skin while Eve engineers the fall of all. The special effects are good, but the story, it seems to me, is all wet. That’s the gospel truth.

3 thoughts on “Clash of the Watchers

  1. You’s be surprised at the number of ‘$ighteings’ of the Ark on that hilltop somewhere in Turkey. And the show goes on, at first it was just the New World ‘wanna be arkologists’ but now that the Rapture is just around the corner, the Chinese appear to get in on the game. A biblical theme park, with the Ark, the one that floats on water, as a main attraction. I can’t wait…


  2. M.K.

    There’s plenty to make thoughtful conversation with from the movie, for sure But overall, I found it a rather depressing consideration of the whole epic of humanity on earth. Not even the slightest enough hope at the re-launching ceremony where Noah finally gets a break in the clouds from silent, remote creator. The equation remained completely lopsided. In spite of evidence all around today for the violence of man, I am still unconvinced that humankind is innately wicked. Call me naive or whatever. We’re missing the ‘truth’ somewhere and I have some ideas but I’m just a “noob” as the kids say today. Thank goodness the only vestige of purifying waters biblically invoked today is a mere baptismal tank, and it seems equally useless most of the time for washing away the bad behavior.


  3. No doubt, the ark is big business, Joe! I had the same reaction, M.K. I’ve always supposed people were, on the whole, good. If not, it sure implicates those higher up the food chain.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.