David Edelstein reviews the big budget Bible epic, Noah:
But a big part of the Noah story is spectacle, and this one is a feast of computer-generated imagery. None of the animals are real—which has won the appreciation of animal-rights activists. But none of them are particularly well characterized, either. I didn’t expect Dr. Doolittle amid the apocalypse, but would a few baahs and moos and a friendly giraffe have really killed the mood?
(Not really an Edelstein fan. But I’m going to bounce off this snippet anyway.)
You know what else has “really killed the mood?” Faux-controversy. There’s a dualism to this already rotten criticism that reeks not only of over-sensitivity but also of plain, stinking hypocrisy.
Side A: Disclaimers
Paramount has already decided to appease religious critics by placing a disclaimer on its marketing materials. Specifically:
"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."
Side B: Semantics
The word “God” is replaced by the title “Creator” in Noah, which set off a spark in certain corners of the punditry world, the names of which are obvious. Now, apparently the first has not fulfilled it duty—nowhere near. However, I’m sure that there would be controversy if Paramount did not include those disclaimers, given the politically-fraught nature of modern cultural discussions. And, actually, shouldn’t the first not only clear up most of the controversy surrounding accuracy but also nullify the semantic uproar?
I heard someone recently say that Noah—and its liberal Hollywood overlords—wanted to have their cake and eat it too by profiting off a biblical tale while trying to unbiblify (if you’ll pardon the term) it to appease non-religious audiences. First, I should note that certain Muslims are just as outraged as certain Christians, and for reasons just as silly. Second, the religious groups got their disclaimer. So, why should they complain that the name of their Lord is changed? Especially considering the disclaimer’s inane last sentence: “The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis”—so yeah, people can look up the actual story and read the “more appropriate” terminology. Do these fundamentalists not believe that moviegoers, not even the faithful, will, after watching the movie, read the Bible? Or do they not believe that people understand the story? “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”
So let’s just calm down and direct our anger towards a more valid and important question: Where are the baahs and moos?