donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Noah: A Christrian based critical review

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on April 5, 2014 at 12:23 am

 

This past evening I went to finally see the movie Noah.  I waited a week to kinda get a feel of what the Christian communities take on the movie was.  As an author of Christian fiction I am very aware of how our community values the Biblical text, and any liberties that artists take with it.  So I was interested in this for many reasons.

I judge biblically based movies and literature not just how on “accurate” they are in conveying the letter of scripture.  But also it’s spirit.  The Passion of the Christ is considered (and arguably so) a marquee film in terms of its depiction of the last days of Christ.  But there’s nothing to indicate that Jesus made a table as depicted in the movie.  (That’s called creative license) Nor is there any scripture that shows Jesus literally stomping on a snake.  (Yes, I get the allusion from scripture about Satan’s head.)  It is still not literately accurate despite the truth it conveys.  So I approach the movie Noah recognizing that it was not scripture, nor can it take anything away from scripture.  My question was, was it well made and did it capture the powerful epic collapse of mankind that I was hoping to see.

Let’s start with a few issues people have with the movie.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

It was made by an atheist

This may indeed be true, all indications seem to be that director is atheistic in his beliefs.  This does not bother me.  What bothers me is that it took an atheist to make a movie on this scale about Noah in the first place.  As far as I am concerned the Christian community should had done it.  It bothers me that I have to see an atheist tell my theistic story.  Where are the Christian directors and financiers who could of done this?  The story of Noah is NOT just  a Christian’s story.  It is a story about mankind.  Christians do not have exclusive rights to the Noah narrative.  The objective viewer despite the director’s personal beliefs has to conclude the essential story elements of the Bible ARE there to see.  God sent a flood to wipe out mankind due to man’s sin.  The atheist director got that right.  Mel Gibson who people have lauded for making the Passion of the Christ has had some very “unchristlike” behavior in his life during and after the making of the blockbuster the passion of the Christ.  Is he “qualified” in making a movie about Christ?  If God can use a heathen King to free his people he can use this guy.  That should not be an issue by itself to not see the movie.

There is an undercurrent that permeates the statement that “it was made by an atheist.”  Part of the undercurrent is that this somehow disqualifies him from making a theatrical movie about a story so dear to many people of various faiths. Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  The fact that we as a community have not dismissed the movie in its entirety (unlike others such as, the last temptation of Christ) shows that he possesses some degree of wisdom in not totally moving away from the source material no matter what his theistic position.  He still desires to make money off the movie.  He could not do that if it was totally off…think about it.

But don’t assume from my objectivity in this area that I liked the movie.  I did not.  But stay with me I’ll tell you why in a few.

 The stone monsters

Yeah that was a bit much for me.  The director took poetic license here.  His view of the watchers comes from extra biblical literature that the Nephilim were fallen angels.  The actual biblical text seems to indicate that the Nephilim were the offspring of fallen angels that mated with women.  The giants are referred to as men in the actual Bible.  However, the directors choice to use creative license here does not bother me.  ONLY because I am literate enough in the background of this piece of scripture to know this comes from extra biblical sources, AND it doesn’t take away from the crucial truth of the text.  That God sent a flood to destroy mankind  As long as people realize this, and do not propagate doctrinal teaching off of it.  I’m fine with it.  This movie is NOT scripture.  It doesn’t profess to be. He’s not adding to scripture.  He’s taking poetic license with a piece of scripture that changes nothing about the nature of God and who Jesus is which is the central issue of Christianity.  I didn’t like it..but it was tolerable.

I could go on but let me get to the heart of the matter.  I didn’t like the movie and here is why.

My overall problem with the movie, even though it does convey the spirit of the biblical text is that in my opinion it assassinates the character of Noah at the altar of creative license.

I was actually ok with the way Noah was depicted UNTIL the issue of him coming to the conclusion that God wanted to destroy all of mankind which included his own family.  At this juncture the director lost me.

Noah’s resulting actions make sense in light of this belief he articulates in the movie.  But it’s such a deviation from scripture I found it unpalatable.  I’m all for creative license.  I was fine with the Watchers.  The director chose to ignore the simple issue of Noah having a full compliment of adult people to repopulate the earth. He did solve the 8 people in the ark issue.

But by not adhering to the Biblical narrative he is forced to come up with alternative explanations that begin to run counter to the text.  The same thing can be said about Noah having to interpret the will of God.

This whole concept of him having to do this as opposed to being given expressed instructions from God is where the movie really tanked for me.  By the director, moving in this direction he left it open for Noah to possibly be wrong in his interpretation of the will of God or worse actually find himself in direct disobedience to God.  And boom that’s exactly what happened.

When Noah decides to not kill the small children, the director puts the astute Christian to understand that he has placed Noah in direct conflict with what Noah understands to be the revealed will of God.  (That God intended his family to die.) The director could of alleviated this story conflict by God affirming that Noah made the correct decision and misunderstood what God wanted, but by leaving the question unanswered he again leaves a bit too much to interpretative license for my tastes.

The other element that was left open to interpretation is that the fallen angels could be forgiven and return to Heaven.  If I understood the story in the movie some left heaven to help Adam, after he sinned. Their actions were contrary to God’s will yet they go down to help man anyway and God punishes them.  Then they complete their task which was unauthorized in the first place by helping Noah a descendant of Adam but are allowed back into heaven.  Huh?  I didn’t get it.

But I understood it because the director had to decide how we was going to get rid of these giants due to his deviation from the biblical text.  They couldn’t just drown in the flood, so he had to use a device to get rid of them since they seemingly would have survived the flood.  So just ‘poof’ he sent them back to Heaven all’s forgiven, problem solved.  He also used this creative device to help show how Noah made the ark. (i.e. the giants helped.)  As an author it was lazy story telling to me.

From a movie goers perspective I was disappointed, the bird scene following the trail of water was too CGI for me.  The watchers, story line I actually could get with on some level.  I also was disappointed in the CGI work.  I felt I was watching a stone version of Treebeard from the Lord of the Rings.

The environmental aspect people complain about didn’t bother me either.  I found it lacking however, in that it pits two biblical truths against one another for the sake of creative license and to create conflict in the story.  I.e. that God wanted man to steward his creation as opposed to him “taking dominion” over it.  Actually, both concepts are accurate.  It is not an either or but both, and.  God did give man dominion over creation, but to steward it not to exploit it.  This biblical message is missing from the movie in order to create conflict.

 What then should the church say to these things? 

The church is the entity that can assault the gates of Hell.  If we have so much fear that the influence of this movie will impact people to think that this story actually happened this way.  Then to me we should be most shamed of all people.  For it indicates that our light has not been powerful enough to impact people, and such a concern says more about us then the atheist director.  I am concerned about this affecting people as I am the Philippines staging a successful attack against China.  It is NOT going to happen.

Let’s face it.  If the only movies you can see as a Christian are those that are 100% accurate to the biblical text, then you will not see any.  I am sorry.  I enjoyed the Ten Commandments, I love the movie.  And I like Yule Brenner, but he is NOT indicative of the color of the Egyptian people of the day.  Yet we cherry pick which items need to be “biblically accurate.”  I have yet to see any major Christian themed motion picture that is.  We subjectively choose to omit things that are inconvenient truths for us.

Honestly, I am more concerned about a new Bible translation being accurate than any picture made by Hollywood.  Show me the passion there.

Overall Noah was a disappointment, I wish I had spent my money to watch Captain America.

2 out of 5 stars.

 

D

Look I love when people respond with comments! Leave a comment and your name goes into a hat. Link this blog and you get another drop of your name into the hate. Every month I’ll draw a name from the hat, and guess what? Whammo you dear reader get a free kindle version of my novel!  Go on ya know you want to say something!

Why the worst critic of the Son of God movie will be the church.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on February 28, 2014 at 4:14 am

Today we see the release of the movie “The Son of God”.  This movie has already been released on cable and available on DVD for several months now.  I’m grateful that that originators of this movie had the vision, courage and resources to bring to life a theatrical depiction of the life of Christ.

My biggest concerns for this movie is that (and you can mark my words on this) someone from the body of Christ is going to say this movie is not biblically accurate.  In other words, Christians are essentially going to throw rotten tomatoes at their own movie.

How do I know this?  Because one believer did this in my personal discussion with them.  They pointed out various ‘flaws’ in the movie. When this person and I discussed the Bible mini series and the particular section that dealt with Jesus’s life this was some of the commentary. Keep in mind this is a quote.

“Jesus calling Peter out of the boat instead of Peter asking Jesus if he can come out. Just ONE example. It’s not scriptural and that makes it a lie. It’s wrong no matter who produced it.”

This beloved person in my humble opinion threw the baby out with the bathwater.  To use a biblical phrase,  “Ye…strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”.

Here is a movie that affirms the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, his atoning death on the cross for the sins of humanity, his miracles, angels and demons, his resurrection.  It affirms the triune nature of God. Yet despite all this.

“Its not scriptural.”

Bam.  There it is.  The Christian form of saying it was inspected by inspector 12 and given the rejection stamp.

This is what I see in every form of entertainment where a Christian attempts to influence.  For some it is simply not “godly” enough, it can be music (Christian rock and roll, Christian rap) for some these things are oxymoron’s.  Christian fiction?  How can fiction be Christian some say.

When I read comments like this I often wonder is this the type of Christian who believes that the only viable version of the Bible to read is the KJV.

I’m telling you that one of the criticism of this movie is that it’s not accurate enough for some believers.  Watch for this too especially with the upcoming Noah movie where we have even less source material to go on.

Here’s a quote from the Press Enterprise, that makes my point.  “…no major film about Jesus had been made after “Passion” because of the difficulty of making religious films that can sell millions of tickets.

“Finding a script that is written sensitively and that doesn’t offend certain groups, and that is not going to be wildly costly, is not easy to do,” she said.

Upcoming Hollywood films on Noah and Moses already are running into problems with Christians who say the movies are not faithful enough to the Bible, she said.”

The creators are trying to take a book that is over a millennia old, and make it relevant to today’s audience that keeps the spirit of the text.  They are trying to do that in two hours when some of us Christians won’t even take the same amount of time to sit and read the Bible for that long over the course of a week.

I have yet to see ANY movie which fully captures the book from which it is based on.  But some in the body have such high standards it can actually discourage other members of the body of creating anything.  And thus we get to the root of the problem.  We have not because we ask not.  We eat our own.  It’s true.  I hate to say it but its true.

How about we evaluate it using one of the standards the Jesus gave us. “ye shall know a tree by its fruit.” What is the fruit of the thing?  What does it produce?  Do people actually want to go and read the Bible more?  to see if those things are so? Does it open up discussion about Christ?  Does someone actually get saved from being exposed to the movie?  Do people repent?  I think when you get those kinds of results you really have to rethink how you see Christian entertainment.  Its kind of funny as I think about.  Jesus told stories called parables.  And everyone didn’t always get him either…go figure.

 

D

By the way the word is spreading about my novel and more 5 star reviews are pouring in.  Check out my website here to learn more about what some are calling, “speculative fiction at its finest.”

 

 

 

 

Godzilla: Go strong or go home.

In Misc on February 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Yesterday was the debut of the 2nd trailer for the of the new 2014 Godzilla movie.

Now to say that I want this movie to be great and succeed is an understatement.  I grew up as a kid where in our area during the summer months our local WXYZ TV would play at 4pm for one week (monster week) a monster movie, and typically Godzilla was right up there.

I have fond memories of Ultraman kicking butt, and Gamera almost getting his arm chopped off.

I was at the theaters as a kid when Godzilla was fighting Megalon, and Jet Jaguar did his funky karate moves and grew into a giant wannabe of Ultraman.  I was stoked as a kid.  I loved that stuff.

And over the years I watched my rubberized monsters turn into Power Rangers, and Pokémon and a host of other derivatives.  It wasn’t till Cloverfield came out that I felt that someone had finally done the monster genre justice.  (Thank God for J. J. Abrams, he actually gets this kinda stuff.) The Sony version of Godzilla, the huge mega hyped monstrosity that it was.  (No pun intended) simply did not cut it.

So here we are today.  On the cusp of another attempt to get Godzilla the props he deserves.  I like the trailer.  Men jumping out of a plane to land on Godzilla?  Oh that was bad booty. (i.e. awesome) But this latest trailer gives me hope.  I see another monster.  Yes my sentimental heart leaped that perhaps my eyes did indeed glimpse what could only be the sweetness of Rodan.

So here’s to hoping that they get the big lizard right.  I like the look so far.  They’ve got the roar right…but he better have his fiery breath or its just not the Big G I’m sorry.

So here’s to the comeback of Godzilla.  Go strong of go home.

D

It’s inspiration Tuesday, but on a Wednesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on December 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

 

Today’s epic inspirational piece comes again from Audiomachine. Set to sweeping violins this powerful theme is the new music produced for the upcoming 2014 motion picture.  It speaks and drips epic.  If the movie lives up to the emotional impact of the piece.  We will have a winner on our hands. Watch the actual trailer below and allow the power of the track to move you.

Enjoy!

D

 

 

D