Irreverent retelling

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Friday, May 16, 2014


ON THE way to the theatre, I asked my grandson, Jeydi, what he knew about Noah. The six-year-old lad replied that it is a story in the Bible of a man chosen by God to make an ark to save his family from the flood that killed all sinners in the world. He said that the animals were saved as well and when the flood was over, there was a rainbow.

That was the inspiration of director Darren Aronofsky who co-wrote the script with Ari Handel. Aronofsky's cinematic interpretation reengineered the timeless story beyond recognition, except for the flood, the animals and the ark.

The writers, and surely upon the encouragement of the producers, added elements only Hollywood could imagine. There are fallen angels called 'The Watchers” that come from Marvel and DC rather than from the Holy Book. They helped Noah build the gigantic vessel. There is an evil king who takes a ride in the ark.

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The family of Noah is far from ideal. But most questionable was the character of Noah (played by Russell Crowe). Noah is not pious or prayerful.

Instead, we are presented with a man who fights with a sword, who does not care much for others, and turns to drinking after the flood. They created a Noah who is confused and on the verge of emotional and spiritual breakdown.

The writers mashed up Biblical figures (Noah/Abraham; Ham/Cain) if only to create more drama, suspense and epic 3-D battles.

I must say that this film has gone overboard and follows the trend of irreverent re-telling of established tales such as “Little Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

When we finished viewing the film, my grandson, a bit confused, told me, "Tatay, that was not the one in the Bible."

There are countries that have banned the showing of the film for its disrespect of a figure revered by both the Christian and Muslim faiths. And rightly so.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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