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Thread: Noah: Is this a good movie? Is it good ancient history?

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Noah: Is this a good movie? Is it good ancient history?

    Is anyone planning on seeing this film? I would ask if anyone thinks it is good history, but most people would consider that to be a question about modern standards of historical accuracy about events that actually happened. Ancient history is a little more wide reaching than that. For example, it typically includes mythical or moral dimensions that serve to create or confirm a communal or political identity and worldview. Thus, I would say that 300 was excellent ancient history, even though it was not accurate even by ancient standards of historical accuracy. It evokes well, I think, what it must have felt like to be a Spartan.
    Last edited by robrecht; 03-28-2014 at 09:22 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    Is anyone planning on seeing this film? I would ask if anyone thinks it is good history, but most people would consider that to be a question about modern standards of historical accuracy about events that actually happened. Ancient history is a little more wide reaching than that. For example, it typically includes mythical or moral dimensions that serve to create or confirm a communal or political identity and worldview. Thus, I would say that 300 was excellent ancient history, even though it was not accurate even by ancient standards of historical accuracy? It evokes well, I think, what it must have felt like to be a Spartan.
    I'm largely ambivalent about it. I'll probably see it at some point, but seeing that it came from Hollywood, my expectations are...not high.

    I'm intrigued by what you said about 300, though. The only people I've seen that defended it as historically accurate (before you ) have basically been teenage boys that only seemed to care about the swordfights in the movie. That's kind of beside the point, though.

    I'll be interested to hear some other Christians' opinions of Noah.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    I'm largely ambivalent about it. I'll probably see it at some point, but seeing that it came from Hollywood, my expectations are...not high.

    I'm intrigued by what you said about 300, though. The only people I've seen that defended it as historically accurate (before you ) have basically been teenage boys that only seemed to care about the swordfights in the movie. That's kind of beside the point, though.

    I'll be interested to hear some other Christians' opinions of Noah.
    No, I said it was NOT historically accurate, even by ancient standards of historical accuracy. Nonetheless, I think it was good ancient history because of the other purposes and functions of ancient history.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    No, I said it was NOT historically accurate, even by ancient standards of historical accuracy. Nonetheless, I think it was good ancient history because of the other purposes and functions of ancient history.
    Sure enough, you did. My mistake.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    Is anyone planning on seeing this film? I would ask if anyone thinks it is good history, but most people would consider that to be a question about modern standards of historical accuracy about events that actually happened. Ancient history is a little more wide reaching than that. For example, it typically includes mythical or moral dimensions that serve to create or confirm a communal or political identity and worldview. Thus, I would say that 300 was excellent ancient history, even though it was not accurate even by ancient standards of historical accuracy. It evokes well, I think, what it must have felt like to be a Spartan.
    I plan on seeing it. I'm a huge fan of Darren Aronofsky's work, and have been following him since Pi in the late 90s. I don't know anything about the controversy surrounding it, or even if there is controversy surrounding it. I am a stickler for historical accuracy, but am okay with art directing style as long as there's still substance.

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OingoBoingo View Post
    ... I'm a huge fan of Darren Aronofsky's work ...
    I'd never seen any of his films until I saw Noah tonight. Wow. I thought it was a great movie, even a good film. A little long in parts and somewhat predictable. Surprisingly, the most predictable part of the movie, however, was not part of the well known biblical narrative but a typical modern motif, good but somewhat predictable. There was one particular set of characters that I didn't much care for, but for the most part it was a great retelling of the story of Noah. Now, some people will not like it because it adds a lot (a lot a lot) to the biblical story, but except for a couple of minor details it does not contradict the biblical narrative. Some of the additions are biblical motifs added from other parts of the bible and even the book of Enoch and they add a lot of good stuff to the movie in my opinion.

    Now, I should say, I like it when a movie creatively re-interprets a book and adds or even changes some things. A book is much more than a screenplay, and a movie is a whole 'nother medium and should not try to be a book. Coming after the book, a movie can best emulate (in the literal sense of the word) the book by re-interpreting it and trying to surpass it in a sense. I know many people will disagree with that perspective, and people who only want to see the biblical narrative and nothing more will not like this movie. But I really liked it.

    Is it good ancient history? I'm not so sure. It was definitely a good story with obvious mythic proportions. Strangely, except for the one part I didn't particularly care for, it captured the mythic proportions in the most realistic way I could imagine.

    If all of the above sounds rather weird, well I am a little weird, but I tried to give my impression of the film without giving away anything.
    Last edited by robrecht; 03-29-2014 at 05:22 AM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    tWebber
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    I probably won't see this film till next week, but it sounds right up my alley. Again, as an Aronofsky fan, I'm expecting weird, so that's no problem, and like Mark Goodacre, who's also a movie nut, I love seeing Hollywood interpretations of Biblical themes, even if they stray far from the source material. Artistic license is something you ought to expect, even if its something as far out as Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (which I thought was not so great). The previews for this looked amazing, so I'm looking forward to it, and your review sounds very good. I'll go in with low expectations, and hoping it turns out better than expected. Hopefully I get a noisy audience too, but that's icing on the cake for me.

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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Robrecht, your description has me more interested than I was earlier. I had no intention of seeing this one in the theater, but I may yet do just that.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OingoBoingo View Post
    Artistic license is something you ought to expect, even if its something as far out as Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (which I thought was not so great).
    I loved Kazantzakis' book, The Last Temptation of Christ, but the movie was lousy in my opinion.
    Last edited by robrecht; 03-29-2014 at 05:54 AM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    I loved Kazantzakis' book, The Last Temptation of Christ, but the movie was lousy in my opinion.
    I didn't read the book, but I felt the movie was once removed from a Dan Brown concept of Jesus (and this was before I ever heard of Dan Brown). I liked David Bowie as Pilate, and who can't like William DeFoe, but Harvey Keitel's constant Brooklyn accent was just too grating. I'm more a Passion of the Christ or The Gospel According to Matthew movie goer.

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