REVIEW (sort of): “Noah” movie

I will not be seeing this movie.

I’ve been talking about it with some people in the know, but this review from Breitbart clinched it. Too bad. I have enjoyed some movies with Russell Crowe (for example Cinderella Man, Master and Commander.)


Noah is a homicidal maniac. God is an angry tree-hunger who avenges himself on people for harming the environment.

“Noah” is a brilliant, compelling, beautifully-mounted, beautifully-acted piece of storytelling conceived for the sinister purpose of leading people to believe that Christianity and Judaism are something they are not.

Enough said.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Global Killer Asteroid Questions, REVIEWS, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. New Sister says:

    EWTN’s pandering to the cast & producers just to have interviews on Thursday was a huge disappointment.

  2. acardnal says:

    I wish more of Patrick o’Bryan’s seafaring books were made into movies. I was hoping for more after “Master and Commander.”

    I liked Russel Crowe in “Gladiator”, too.

    I won’t be seeing “Noah” unless it’s free.

  3. Priam1184 says:

    A visually stunning movie that is 100% rotten at its core. They use enough truth of the Genesis account to make this movie dangerous, but the story is so mangled. The movie is just so worldly (it is Hollywood after all I guess), and its portrayal of everything from Adam and Eve to “the Creator” seems to come right out of a Scientology handbook.

    And with regard to New Sister’s comment I will use language that a new sister cannot: Raymond Arroyo gave a kiss a** interview with the cast on Thursday night on EWTN that neither mentioned nor warned his audience what was coming with this movie and he should be ashamed of himself.

  4. Catholic Granny says:

    Thank you for this review, Father. I was just searching last night for your words on this movie and now we have them! We put it on Netflix last night, but now off it goes. Thank you for all that you do.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    The National Catholic Register has had positive reviews… but they are owned by EWTN. Interviews aside, Raymond Arroyo’s actual review of the film wasn’t overly fawning.

  6. Pingback: Noah: Movie Review | Free Canuckistan!

  7. Absit invidia says:

    Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    When I hear Russell Crowe call people ignorant because they have an opinion about a movie they haven’t seen, my answer is this: hollywood, your agenda-driven movies are all so predictable. What is there about mainstream hollywood with mainstream actors that is going to convince me that their movies aren’t going to stick to their same old tired narrative of the same old tired agenda of “evil=capitalism, evil=environmental degradation (which by the way is an opinion based on the individual’s understanding and perception of what they consider environmentally harmful – a child moving dirt in a sandbox can be considered by their peers as egregious environmental exploitation, that evil=populating the planet, that evil=following God’s commands of Genesis 1:28.

    Boringly predictable hollywood are trying to turn sin on its head, twist the bible to conform to THEIR radical views and use the big screen as their pulpit to preach to teens and impress upon them their own agenda – which predictably is usually on the wrong side of truth.

  8. NBW says:

    Won’t be seeing that film. Thanks for the review Fr. Z. I dislike the double standard some atheists have; they don’t want Christians to impose their views on them, but it’s ok for them to impose their views on us.

  9. donato2 says:

    Go ahead and egg me, but I’m going to see it. It sounds like a hoot. (I don’t have to see a movie to know what is in Genesis. I read it for myself. Someone should do a sequel to Noah entitled “Sodom and Gomorrah.”)

  10. trespinos says:

    It’s nothing more than a movie, an entertainment. It is not a theological tract. Reasonable people, Christians certainly, can disagree about what predominant message they take away from seeing it, but no one ought to think or speak uncharitably about those of opposite views on this movie. So, fewer knocks on EWTN, commenters, if you please. A reviewer I respect highly, Mr. Greydanus, believes it to be worth seeing and so I shall make my (once a year) visit to my local theater. Some other individuals, like Barbara Nicolosi, whom I also respect have given it a huge thumbs-down. I shall see whose view comes closer to my own, and of course, I hope to be entertained.

  11. AgricolaDeHammo says:

    I guess I should ask SDG aka @decentfilms on twitter where his big moneybags from The Register/EWTN are for writing a thoughtful yet critical review of Noah. (That was sarcasm btw, for the humorless out there)
    Seriously, people? I respect Father Z’s opinion on the matter, but I won’t be going to Breitbart for movie reviews.
    I’m going to see it eventually and I don’t expect it to be brilliant, but the more serious films considering religion the better in my view.

  12. Charles E Flynn says:

    Noah: A Theological Reflection, by Steven D. Greydanus, for the Catholic World Report:
    March 28, 2014
    Darren Aronofsky’s controversial film is sometimes divisive and divided, but is also deeply serious about Scripture and essential questions.

  13. Priam1184 says:

    To all who think that this is no big deal: it is. It is true enough that this is a movie and for Catholics who regularly partake of the Sacraments, attend Mass regularly, say the Rosary daily, and immerse themselves in the Scriptures it will be no big deal, however, and I hate to break it to you, that is not the world that most who call themselves catholic live in.

    The movie is not a theological tract (but when was the last time we saw one of those that was worth reading since there are very few, if any, real theologians anymore) but it is another and giant drip in the drip, drip, drip that is robbing people of their knowledge of Scripture and without a knowledge of Scripture people have no knowledge of Christ, and imagine they have no use for his Church. So I will speak in whatever tone I wish and with whatever words I please about the actions of people who run around claiming to be champions of the Catholic Faith and who let theses things go by and slap them on the back while they are doing so.

  14. pelerin says:

    I read a report that said the film was nothing like The Book!

  15. Priam1184 says:

    @Charles E Flynn

    I followed your link to Greydanus and I will admit that one part I agree with him on and was fascinated by was its depiction of man’s relationship with God during the long epoch between the marking of Cain and the call of Abraham. I have always been curious about that period though I have no desire whatsoever to relive it. And the portrayal of a distant and unknowable (from man’s point of view in those days and amazingly enough the view of God that the Enlightenment has succeeding in bringing back) Creator is probably not far off base. And also the part about Noah being opposed to eating meat since, if one reads Genesis, it was only after the Flood that God permitted Noah and his sons to eat meat. However the movie plays with the Genesis account and mangles it so much that I cannot really call it ‘serious’ about Scripture. All of the sons of Noah entered the Ark with their wives which destroys the entire plot line of the movie. God did intend through Noah to repeople the earth, and this seemed to have been clear to him from the beginning. Not to mention that in all of the accounts of the Flood that come from non-Biblical cultures and peoples (and there are a few) the same essential story is told i.e. that God (or the gods) picked one righteous couple to repopulate the earth. So it just doesn’t fly with me, because in the end Russel Crowe does not think that he has done God’s will by not killing his grandchildren and allowing humanity to survive, whereas Noah knew that he had done God’s will.

  16. Sonshine135 says:

    Well, I actually saw the movie last night. I read the EWTN report and review, and I will say that some of the stuff was forewarned appropriately (i.e. the rock-watchers). I was not expecting Noah to be homicidal however. It is only logical that God (referenced as only the Creator in the movie, but I knew this would be the case as well) would provide a complete view of why the world was being destroyed. Noah’s disposition does a complete 180 in the film from beginning to end.

    Don’t waste your time. We were quite disappointed.

  17. lsclerkin says:

    Rock people.

  18. Gladiatrix says:

    I have three things to say about Father Zuhlsdorf’s review: [My review?]

    1. Breitbart is not a serious newspaper and does not employ experienced and expert film critics. [Ahhhh… I give up. It’s all over now.] Those wishing to read reviews with genuine purpose would be well-advised to read the mainstream newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, all of which are generally very positive about the film. [Because “mainstream newspapers” are never biased. Nope. They are always objective.]

    2. The legend of Noah is not an exclusively Christian parable and should not be treated as such; the epic of Gilgamesh precedes the OT account by more than 1,000 years. [HA HA HA HA HA!]

    3. If the script were really that disrespectful of people’s beliefs, Russell Crowe, who built his own chapel on his estate, would not have touched it with a bargepole.

    [Well, that really settled my hash, didn’t it! Doesn’t. Change. A. Word. o{]:¬) ]

  19. CGPearson says:

    I seen the movie Thursday night. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I defend or even recommend the movie, I do think some of the criticisms are a bit ridiculous. Here were some of my observations:

    – This movie is much more of a fantasy epic than a telling of the scripture. Anyone going into this movie with the same sort of expectations as they would going in the The Passion of the Christ are going to be a bit surprised. I don’t fault the creators of the movie for having to take some liberties, since the story of Noah from the bible would be hard to make a two-hour movie out of without adding some additional substance. That being said…rock monsters? Really? Rock monsters?

    – The criticism that this movie is environmental propaganda is, in my mind, BS. There is one line early in the movie that seems very overtly environmental-ish, but after that, almost nothing. The moral evil of mankind is very clearly shown to be the motivation for God sending the flood. The descendants of Cain, in the movie, are shown to be a very immoral, treacherous bunch. I think the reviewer at Breitbart, ever on the lookout for liberal propaganda in movies, probably latched onto that one scene and then viewed the entire rest of the movie through that lens. I don’t necessarily fault the reviewer for watching out for that sort of thing, but I’m guessing it probably clouded their judgement on the rest of the movie a bit.

    – Despite the wild liberties taken when it comes to the story, I didn’t find anything that seemed overtly heretical or problematic when it comes to Church teaching on the subject. The overall sentiment of the story did seem to capture the narrative and lessons of the flood accurately. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who disagrees, but nothing really jumped out at me.

  20. Quanah says:

    I haven’t read any reviews from liberals, but I’m willing to bet many of them are putting an environmentalist twist on it as well. It’s a shame the conservative/Christian reviewers are doing the same thing. I saw the movie Thursday night. I figured it would either be extremely good or extremely bad. My extremely bad was that it would be reduced to environmentalist propaganda. If only that had been the case they may have let the character of Noah be. But the movie isn’t about environmentalism and I think it is wrong to attack it as if it were. The movie is far worse. It is atheistic psycho babble that focuses on Noah making him something diametrically opposed to what he actually is. Had they not done that and not gone overboard with Tubal-Cain the movie would have been much better, though nowhere close to extremely good.

  21. Absit invidia says:


    Hollywood has disappointed again and again and again. It’s what they do. They take true accounts and make fiction out of them. This is all just a lesson for Christians and every living breathing human worldwide: “DON’T RELY ON HOLLYWOOD FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL .” And hollywood: “STOP TAKING NON-FICTION AND TURNING IT INTO FICTION.”

    Hollywood is Trojan Horsing their radical left agenda through this movie and we cannot fall into their trap.

  22. Johnno says:

    For anyone that keeps up with film and knows Darren Aranofsky, right formt eh get go Aronofsky openly admitted that in his own wrods he is taking complete liberty to produce a film about environmentalism. So for those trying to downplay the environmentalism bit to argue in the movie’s favor, from the director’s own mouth, environmentalism is his chief intent. This is a man who made a film with lesbian ballerinas. He doesn’t care for Christian theology. So right from the get go, years ago, many of us already knew where this film was going. DON’T SUPPORT OR WATCH IT!

    From reports the film is more pagan in its protrayal and assassnates the characters of Methselah and Noah, doesn’t even get many details right and doesn’t even make sense. So God for some reason created man knowing that man would pollute the environment through fracking and mining for special metals and oil and therefore sends a flood to destroy the entire environment? Over and over Noah reinforces the opinion that mankind should be wiped out and is even willing to commit infanticide. Does this sound like the holy and upright man of Noah? Will Catholic critics accept a film that turns Jesus into a political liberal concerned with ‘choice’ for the poor women and pushing socialism because they want to uphold some kind of faux-respectability for filmmaking? Not to mention the typical reinterpreting of Scripture according to evolutionary nonsense? There is far more to worry about than just being about some ‘rock-monsters.’ The rock-monsters are the least of one’s concerns! Not to mention the distorted view of the Nephelim etc. Don’t take your children or impressionable people to see this unless your intention is to further confuse them!

    Doesn’t the Cathecism teach that such artistic works are to be judged according to their creator’s intent? If so, then this ‘Noah’ should be condemned. He and Paramount have their own ideas as to what constitutes the ‘spiritual essence’ of the true story of Noah. Likewise I don’t expect anything to come out of the upcoming Exodus movie either. Can’t wait to see what concessions Hollywood will make for that one to be more palatable to a post-Christian market.

    Another informed review from a Protestant website:

  23. PA mom says:

    Sounds like I will skip this one. Evan Almighty also did the Noah theme with an environment, anti capitalist thread, but it was very entertaining overall, and I doubt I would consider this it’s equal.

    Has anyone seen God isn’t Dead yet? That is playing at a theater near me and, though I almost never go anymore, I was considering that one.

  24. JARay says:

    I certainly wont waste my money going to see this film.

  25. bbmoe says:

    Well, I’m going to go see it to judge for myself. Leroy Huizenga linked to a review that was in depth with respect to the criticisms and that review was pretty nuanced. Apparently the writer/director incorporated some elements of the Book of Enoch, which is one of the books of Sacred Scripture in the Copt tradition, and is often referred to by Biblical theologians (it is quoted in the NT, but it was rarely cited in the early Western Church, and so wasn’t included in Jerome’s translation).

    For my part, environmentalism has gotten a bad name because of the anti-human, entirely secular and semi-pantheistic aspects of the movement that is truly evil in some ways. But as well-catechized Catholics we all know that one of the major consequences of the fall is alienation from creation itself (which, as it happens, is fully realized in the Noahic episode/covenant). Does anyone really think that industrial hunting of whales is a good thing? or for that matter, unmonitored depletion of fisheries? Or the use of pesticides in the home?

    So, I’m not willing to dismiss out of hand “Noah.” I’m not a hard-core movie-goer, either, so if I’ll check back in and tell you my thoughts. And no, I don’t buy the “ignorant people should see it because they will just have one takeaway- the wrong one!” argument. The story of Noah is difficult: let’s engage.

  26. trespinos says: It’s nothing more than a movie, an entertainment. It is not a theological tract.

    Psalm 100:3: “I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing.” Why? Lest it work interior corruption. This is custody of the eyes, as discussed by many spiritual writers. It applies to entertainment. St. Alphonsus Liguori fought the scourges of evil theatrical shows and lewd songs. Pope Leo XIII decried blasphemous plays. St. John Bosco identified the two huge things that send the most people to hell as bad company and bad books. If there were such things in his day as bad movies and bad television, he surely would have added those to the list.

    Movies and entertainment are absolutely capable of making people change how they think and what they do. Otherwise, there would be no such things as advertising or merchandising.

  27. Absit invidia says:

    Glediatrix said,
    “If the script were really that disrespectful of people’s beliefs, Russell Crowe, who built his own chapel on his estate, would not have touched it with a bargepole.”

    Don’t be so naive. Building my own chapel on an estate is all it takes to make myself a credible authority on things religious? Who knew? Besides, not every spirit that is conjured in private chapels are Holy Spirits.

    We cannot let hollywood hijack our faith. This movie is just more of hollywood attempting to Left-Wing Americanize Christianity. Hollywood uses the theater as their bully pulpit, luring in gullible teenagers frolicking to the movies for merriment, where hollywood plunders their minds. Hollywood, time and time again exploits their wealth, power, and influence to force us to submit to THEIR secular religion. Now they are exploiting Judeo-Christian religion to replace it with THEIRS.

    It’s what hollywood does. Just look at the extra “features” of Band of Brothers. Seemingly good flick, then they throw in a scene that was never in the Stephen Ambrose book. In addition, they add to their DVD version a history timeline of nazi atrocities and highlight again and again that “homosexuals”, never Catholics, were sent to the camps. St. Edith Stein and St. Maximiliam Kolbe were two prominent Catholics among thousands of Catholics exterminated in nazi camps – and not one Catholic was mentioned by HBO in their Band of Brothers DVD extra.

    This is how hollywood trojan horses their agendas. Some of us less gullible movie watchers are onto them.

    Todd Starnes said it best:

    “My beef is with Christian leaders trying to guilt trip us into going to see the film. It’s as if we have some sort of moral obligation to throw our good money at a movie that makes a mockery of the Bible.”

    ” . . . To the best of my knowledge there is no biblical mandate to support a film that takes great liberties with the Bible.

    Where were these same “enlightened” Christian elitists heralding movies like “God’s Not Dead” or “Courageous”? Perhaps films that convey the gospel of Christ don’t meet the artistic criteria for the Christian film snobs.

    But our “enlightened” Christian leaders say that’s OK — because it’ll spark a national conversation about religion.

    Ironically, that’s the same thing folks said about “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

    Then again, in this new era of progressive Christian artistry I suspect the elitists might embrace such a film. In their minds blasphemy is an art form.”

  28. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says:

    It applies to entertainment. St. Alphonsus Liguori fought the scourges of evil theatrical shows and lewd songs. Pope Leo XIII decried blasphemous plays. St. John Bosco identified the two huge things that send the most people to hell as bad company and bad books.

    And John XXIII didn’t want priests going to the Opera.

  29. AgricolaDeHammo says:

    My previous comment notwithstanding, I found this takedown of the film by Matt Walsh to be hilarious and awesome. I could see myself agreeing with him if the rundown of the events of the film is as bad as he describes.

  30. wmeyer says:

    I read the review by Greydanus. it seemed to me as I read it that he was working hard to make the film acceptable. Then yesterday on the radio I heard a commentator there give his own hysterically funny report on the film. He’s a conservative Protestant, and was completely flabbergasted at the “rock monsters”, as well as the homicidal Noah and the near-frantic sexual coupling.

    I did not hear it all, as I was on my way to Adoration. I heard enough. And not having seen the film, I have seen enough.

  31. pj_houston says:

    Steven Greydanus seems like a nice guy, but ever since he gave a glowing 4star review of that awful movie “Inception” I’ve lost all trust. Man, did that movie ever blow. When I started predicting what the actors were getting ready to say, it was time to walk out. I think he must have a weakness for CGI movies or something, you’ve been forewarned.
    Barbara Nicolosi I trust, she was the only Catholic that had the courage to give an honest review of “For Greater Glory” with its horrible acting and script.

  32. acardnal says:

    Gladiatrix wrote, ” . . . Russell Crowe, who built his own chapel on his estate, . . . .”

    I think you mean Mel Gibson.

  33. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m going to stick my head above the parapet here and argue that this is something we can agree to disagree about.

    I was not at first inclined to go and see the movie, however having read Mr Greydanus’s articles on the film I will probably go and see it whilst it is theaters. It is ludicrous to suggest that Mr Greydanus’s reviews are somehow contaminated because he works for EWTN (whatever that is supposed to mean), and having read Ms Nicolosi’s review I found no critiques of said reviews, merely an assertion that Christians who gave it positive reviews were ‘whoring for Hollywood’.

    Whatever the case could people PLEASE treat the views of those who disagree with them on this with respect? The Internet tends to brings out the worst in people and accusing fellow believers of being heretics just because they disagree with your assessment of the film is a new low in my opinion.

    In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

  34. Mike says:

    “God is an angry tree-hugger who avenges himself on people for harming the environment.”

    But Father! But Father! My God wouldn’t do that! He’s all FLUFFY… n stuff… You’re not getting your reviews from FAUXNEWS, are you?

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    Just my opinion but every time we see a movie we vote for one thing or another. I probably see one film every two years in a theater, if that. Contemporary films are hardly worth seeing, let alone spending twenty dollars for popcorn one can eat at home for almost free. But when the fare is supposedly Christian, I scrutinize, check out the reviews and the buzz, but not from secularists. I am darned if I am giving my money to support secular, atheist, or distorted productions of God, the bible, or the faith I hold so dear. Breitbart is good enough for me, thank you Fr. Z.
    EWTN, I owe them so much. I love that network. What good they have done. It would be heartbreaking to see them begin to compromise, become more secular. I hope that doesn’t happen.

  36. TomD says:

    If orthodox Catholics, other Christians, and Jews want big-budget movies to be made that reflect orthodox interpretations of Sacred Scripture, then orthodox Catholics, other Christians, and Jews will probably have to make such movies. Apparently the mainstream movie industry is unwilling to make such movies. Then, of course, there is always the problem of distribution, as I understand that the mainstream industry controls much of the distribution of movies into theaters, or at least they did in the past.

    Mel Gibson was able to make “The Passion of the Christ,” and get it distributed to a broad audience. Other orthodox believers of faith, with the resources necessary to make such movies, will have to be willing to do so, probably independent of the Hollywood establishment. These movies need to be well scripted and well made, to compete in the current “glossy” secular culture in which we live.

    My concern about Noah is that many unsuspecting viewers, and those marginally familiar with Genesis, will not be able to distinguish between the elements of the story that are faithful to the text and some of the elements that are not faithful to the text. In that sense, they are being mislead if they think that this is a biblical account of Noah and the flood. Is this intentional or not? I suspect that it is intentional.

  37. donato2 says:

    After reading all the comments and thinking about it some more, maybe I won’t see it. There is something wrong about enjoying a blasphemous entertainment even if you recognize it as blasphemous. Still I have a morbid curiosity about the movie. So I don’t know.

    In a way I have a similar issue about Andrew Sullivan’s blog/website. It promotes sodomy, marijuana and all sorts of other evil things (all while Sullivan claims to be a Catholic). Still I read it out of morbid curiosity, even though it leaves me with an icky feeling.

  38. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’ve been to a theater once in the last 17 years and that was a decade ago. I took my son to see the Polar Express. Nothing I’m reading and hearing about this movie is enough to make me break my 10 year streak. It will end up on some T.V./cable network somewhere for free in a few years. But I probably won’t be interested in it then either.

  39. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Well, it’s not surprising that folks with a Jewish educational background would be more interested in doing a Jewish apocrypha-style take on Noah. And it’s not surprising that weird apocrypha collides with weird leftism in a weird way. Bible fantasy epic has always been a genre, and if it’s not as good as Madeleine L’Engle, I guess that’s why you have special effects.

    However, it does sound like this is the kind of movie which requires beer and strong drink for proper enjoyment. And it doesn’t seem that the filmmakers understood their audience at all.

  40. Suburbanbanshee says:

    * Bible fanfic/fantasy epic is how we got a lot of apocryphal writings, Jewish and Christian.

  41. Charles E Flynn says:

    Interview: ‘Noah’ Writer-Director Darren Aronofsky and Co-Writer Ari Handel, by Stephen D. Greydanus, for the National Catholic Register.

  42. Supertradmum says:

    I am being a bete noir, but is it possible, that in this Age of the Pagans, that one person could see this movie, go home and read the real history in the Bible and come to salvation, even into the Catholic Church?

    We, on this blog, are already saved and we have the Truth. We are judging what seems to be a really bad interpretation of the Biblical Flood, while the vast majority of those who will see this have not one clue as to the real deal. The vast majority of Americans who will go to this are pagans.

    The movies of The Lord of the Ring upset many purists, as did The Hobbit movies, but books which were out of print by Tolkien are now in print again and selling well because of Jackson’s interpretations. Many people who would have never read the books and thought of morals or the battle of good and evil are now reading the books.

    I hate blasphemy and stupidity, and I hate movies with agendas. But, if one inhabitant of San Francisco or Los Angeles becomes a Catholic because of this movie, is it not worth it? I doubt if any Christian will lose their Faith over this interpretation. But, maybe such a catastrophe as The Deluge will wake up some sinners.

    I write this only having read about eight reviews, and not having seen it. Sounds dreadful to a faithful Catholic, but for the unbeliever, maybe a door?

  43. Supertradmum says:

    BTW, as noted above by AgricolaDeHammo, Matt Walsh is brilliant in his review. Brilliant.

  44. CrimsonCatholic says:

    It probably is not as bad God’s Not Dead, that movie is terrible.

    Also, the hate of EWTN here is ridicules.

  45. CrimsonCatholic says:

    It is probably not as bad as God’s Not Dead*

  46. Nan says:

    @Gladiatrix, Russell Crowe, according to biographical information was never baptized. He built his chapel for his wedding, presumably to ensure the unwashed masses didn’t catch a glimpse of anything.

  47. Priam1184 says:

    @Supertradmum: If that happens then I will take back every negative thing that I’ve said about the movie, even if it is only one person out of how many ever million see this thing.

    As to Lord of the Rings, well I am a Lord of the Rings nut and I have said before that reading Lord of the Rings a few times helped me to learn how live as a Catholic in this vale of tears. That said, the Lord of the Rings are not Scripture. The story of Noah was told the way it was for a reason, and to alter it and still give the impression that it is the real thing is troublesome. And maybe the reason I am so mad about this is that it could have been such a good movie.

  48. Supertradmum says:

    Priam1184, True, Noah is supposed to be about Scripture. But, Hollywood has always ruined Scripture-the worst line in movie history is from The Ten Commandments. Anne Baxter saying, “Oh Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool,” has got to be one of the worst interpretations of Scripture ever. And, the entire relationship between the supposed Nefertiri and Moses borders on the lewd. When has anyone entrusted Hollywood with proper exegesis?

  49. A.D. says:

    My thanks to AgricolaDeHammo for the link to Matt Walsh’s review. It is hilariously funny, especially the part where Walsh calls the movie, “this steaming pile of heretical horse manure”. That, and the plot synopsis he gives, is all I need to settle my mind that the movie is a waste of my time and money.

  50. I agree with those in this thread who have observed that, whatever you think about the movie, trashing people like Mr. Greydanus or EWTN because they liked it is uncalled for.

    This is a good time to cite the old Latin saying (this would be the wrong place to err in my Latin, but here goes!): De gustibus non disputandum est: “about matters of taste there is no disputing.”

    I liked Inception. P.J. Houston did not. That’s fine. But the notion that you can’t respect someone for liking a movie you think is terrible seems very odd to me. Did it ever occur to you that the reason someone likes a movie you hate isn’t because they don’t see what you see; but because the aspects that are huge to you, are minor to me, and vice-versa? A lot of times I’ll like a movie, and then other folks — either friends, or critics I read later — will say, but there was this, and this, and this that was terrible. And my response is, I didn’t really focus on that. What I liked was this, this and this. They’re right, but so am I. Just let it be.

    Now, on the matter of this dealing with the Bible. Yes, that makes this different, I agree.

    That said, an awful lot of “Biblical” movies that few of the faithful complain about also take liberties with the Scriptures — except you don’t notice. The epic Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston for example. I love the movie, but in its own way, it distorts the sacred texts. Not maliciously, mind you, but it does. So did, in its own way, the Prince of Egypt from a few years back. Even The Passion of the Christ did, although overall, Gibson did a great job.

    To some degree, that’s the nature of it all. If you like war movies, don’t go with anyone who knows about weaponry; if you like historical films, don’t go with someone who knows history. And so it goes. You’ll walk out smiling, saying, “wasn’t that great?” And your friend with expertise will be scowling, “they made a mess!”

  51. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    “If the script were really that disrespectful of people’s beliefs, Russell Crowe, who built his own chapel on his estate, would not have touched it with a bargepole.” Don’t be so naive. Building my own chapel on an estate is all it takes to make myself a credible authority on things religious? Who knew? Besides, not every spirit that is conjured in private chapels are Holy Spirits.

    Everyone seems to be building chapels.
    Funny, I thought that the only chapel builder was Mel Gibson . . .

  52. Johnno says:

    “But, if one inhabitant of San Francisco or Los Angeles becomes a Catholic because of this movie, is it not worth it?”

    Not if they’re getting a distorted view of Catholicism. Is it possible that further down the way they might be led to the right path? Sure… but until then you have a duty to preach the truth. Distorting the faith to ‘trick’ people into converting is nonsense.

    Could the Da VInci Code lead people to the Church? Sure, that’s also ‘possible’ in an extreme sense that they might take a brief interest and then stumble upon a proper apologetics site, but you’re talking about a minority when in more practical terms the film is more likely to misinform weaker Christians and others about the faith and plant destructive seeds. It’s not a chance worth taking.

    Ultimately, no-one can stop anyobody else from seeing this so the point is moot. But we sure can make enough noise so that at least people get the message that this is not a “film (that) is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.” It is a blasphemous distortion of the relationship between God and man, and Christians nd Catholics should not continuously continue bending over so that Hollywood can savage our faith and our saints. Don’t sit back and allow this film a ‘pass’ and then wonder why nobody respects your religion. THey don’t give a fig because we don’t.

    Fr Martin Fox:

    There is a difference between taking liberties with film adaptations while trying to respect the source material and then taking liberties with the personal intention to distort it for nefarious purposes. This is what the new Noah film repeatedly does, even going out of its way to do so. It’s a poison that can’t be compared to artistic liberties taken in previous films.

    This is especially nefarious when one wraps SIGNIFICANT errors within that are intended to be digested unwittingly by a naive audience. Hollywood knows most Christians are suckers not informed in the basics of their faith. Sadly most Christians and Catholics are willing to let this slip by because it’s Old Testament stuff and many themselves don’t accept it as authentic historical accounts which it is. So the OT is fair game for distortion. Were this same treatment given to the Gospels, EWTN and others would be singing a different tune.

    Another more detailed analysis worth reading is here from a Protestant source:

  53. pj_houston says:

    @Fr. Martin Fox,
    I’m not sure how exactly I “disrespected” Mr. Greydanus. I simply stated after his glowing critique of the movie “Inception” that I no longer trusted his reviews (there were several other reviews of his I disliked, but that was the final straw). There was no personal attack against him, I even said he’s probably a nice guy. So you liked “Inception”, great! It just means I probably would be hesitant to trust your review of “Noah” as well.

  54. PostCatholic says:

    Perhaps someone could give the 100% accurate interpretation of the biblical story in which God destroys his whole creation by flooding all the land on the orb of the earth, sparing only two of every animal and one man’s family? I’ve always thought that this was allegorical literature, not meant to be taken literally. In fact, that is what I was taught in Catholic collegiate seminary. Perhaps wrongly, I know; there are very few diocesan seminaries of which the readership here approve.

    Also, for what it’s worth, we have a chapel on our country property.That’s a grand name for an unheated, uninsulated one room tiny building that the former owner erected, but it’s pleasant and most often used for yoga.

  55. PJ Houston:

    Well, perhaps I simply misunderstood the point you were making. My mistake.

  56. Priam1184 says:

    @Fr. Martin Fox:

    This isn’t a question of ‘trashing’ people because they ‘liked’ a movie. The Scriptures are the sacred story of man’s relationship with his Creator, and messing around it and fundamentally altering its purpose is an entirely different than putting the wrong kind of Mauser in the hands of a fake German soldier on a movie screen. And when you claim that your mission is to “share the splendor of Truth” and you do not point out the significant errors of a film that seeks to concern itself with an aspect of that Truth, then you should cease making claims like that about yourself. Point out the errors, all of them, and don’t cover them up. Then let people make up their own minds; who knows maybe a lot of them will still go to see the movie and may even enjoy it more than they otherwise would have since they knew all of what was coming. There is such a disrespect for the basic Truth of human life in our day and time and that is at the root and core or so many of our problems. And those who are in prominent position on that Ark of Truth (which Noah’s Ark was a precursor to by the way Father) seem to want to spend all day hiding the fact that the Catholic Church contains the ONE TRUE FAITH that is a gift of God to men through Jesus Christ because they want to sit at the cool kid’s table. The Catholic Church is it, and there is no other. When we remember that then our problems will disappear.

  57. SPWang says:

    When reading comments on Fr Z’s blog, I scroll through until I see red.
    They’re the best comments.

  58. Cavaliere says:

    If the script were really that disrespectful of people’s beliefs, Russell Crowe, who built his own chapel on his estate, would not have touched it with a bargepole.

    And Mark Wahlberg is also considered a good Catholic and yet have you ever seen some of the trash he is involved with, like Ted? Or Entourage?

    Mel Gibson has a chapel too and his films are a mixed bag of good and bad.

    Someone should do a sequel to Noah entitled “Sodom and Gomorrah.”)

    It’s funny Hollywood hasn’t done this yet, or maybe its in the works. After all we all know that the sin of Sodom was not what we think it was but in reality the sin of being inhospitable towards guests. Heck they could reprise the role of the rock monsters as the visitors to Lot. And Lot could be dressed in nice rainbow colored garments. We could spend a couple hundred million and create lots of great action scenes and cinematography. And then tell people to just go see it, even if its not theologically correct, we can use it as a starting point for evangelization. What’s a bit of harmless fun. And if you do go to Hell don’t worry, “it’ll only feel like an eternity.”

  59. Kathleen10 says:

    I must have missed EWTN being trashed or the hateful comments. Somebody questioned Raymond Arroyo’s interview. That’s fair. God bless EWTN, Mother Angelica, and Raymond Arroyo.
    @Supertradmum and Fr. Martin Fox, good point about The Ten Commandments, a film that I saw at 13 and which made a significant impression on me. Thinking about that film and the scenes mentioned, it’s true, they were treated with dramatic license I guess, elaborating on a supposed theme of love or lust, between Moses and Nefertiri. One could say that dramatic license is similar to the treatment Noah apparently got in this new film. But, in The Ten Commandments, the relationship between Moses and Nefertiri is not the main idea of the film, or the focal point of the mission of Moses. It was dramatization in order to make a more human and interesting Moses. It doesn’t change Moses, although we can’t of course know what he was like or what happened in his life before he appealed to Pharoah. “Noah” alters Noah’s mission, to build an ark based on what God told him to do, regardless of how foolish he seemed to others, if it makes Noah a biblical environmental activist. That is pure distortion.
    I didn’t need to read much about “Noah” to be suspicious. I noticed they used the photo of Emma Watson, the young lady from Harry Potter fame, in the promos. Does anyone think of beautiful young women when considering the story of Noah? I know I don’t. One could assume they are going to play up the sexual angle in replenishing the earth. This would seem to indicate a silly movie. Everyone is free to see it or not of course, but if Hollywood wants my money, they can either do it right or I’ll stay home and watch TCM.
    Good discussion.

  60. JKnott says:

    So glad Father put this out. Also thanks to Isclerkin for the link to the review by Barbara Nicolosi.
    Johnno, I also listened to the review at Answers in Genesis link that you provided. I think that panel did an excellent job. All three of these approached the movie from different perspectives and came to the same conclusion.
    Most movies, especially loud noisy visuals with empty human interest and gaudy special effects don’t interest me; my curiosity level is quite low.
    My plan is to spend a couple of hours in humble adoration, and reparation before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and ask the guardian angels to preserve their impressionable charges from the corruption of error implied in the movie.
    The only special effects before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament are beautiful silence, Truth, peace and the whispers of His grace. And the tickets are on the house.

  61. Lori Pieper says:

    An amazing amount of comment from people who haven’t seen the movie. Yet another example of some Catholics leaping on everything in the press, fearing the worst.

    I’d highly recommend Steven Greydanus’ Noah movie page. Check out especially his “Noah movie controversies Q & A.” This is from a very good Catholic reviewer who has seen it. Twice. (Some spoilers involved).

    The whole EWTN segment is up on their YouTube channel. I’d recommend especially the movie clip about 15 minutes in where Noah talks to his kids about the animals in the garden of Eden and their mission with the ark. This and other clips I’ve seen of it have intrigued me more than any film in a long time. I hope to see it this week.

  62. robtbrown says:

    Augustine Thompson op says,
    Funny, I thought that the only chapel builder was Mel Gibson . . .

    He also seems to have his own marriage tribunal.

  63. Xmenno says:

    I’m late to this party, as usual, but here’s my two cents. Not long after “The DaVinci Code” came out, two life-long Catholics told me they were glad they had seen the movie, because they had learned so much from it. I find Catholics so incredibly ignorant of scripture and Catholic teaching that they cannot recognize heresy staring them in the face. The imagery and hyper-sense assault of movies conveys its own “truth,” and becomes part of the totality of memory in most people’s minds. The result is a skewed idea of scripture far from the Church’s interpretation. Indeed, the Bible, without the Church can become anything one likes, even a story with rock people.

  64. scarda says:

    @Cavaliere Someone did make a movie called ‘ Sodom and Gomorrah’, must have been in the 50s or so. It was shown on television in the mid-60s, so you can be sure it was a whole lot cleaner than one would likely see in any modern version. And I knew a few school kids who actually dusted off the family Bible to read up on the event. So perhaps, as @Supertradmum suggests, some good may come even from a crummy ‘Noah’.
    Not that I am going to waste my time. The last movie I saw in a theater was Herzog’s ‘The Cave of Forgotten Dreams’. Well worth seeing.

  65. Priam:

    If I’m understanding you correctly, you don’t seem to be allowing for the possibility that any good Catholic can see Noah and not be appalled. Since I haven’t seen the movie, I can’t really decide what to make of that, other than to say I’m skeptical of that position.

    I didn’t see Da Vinci Code because that was pretty clearly an intended, direct assault on the Catholic Faith; I don’t see Noah in that category, but again — I haven’t seen the film.


    While Supertradmum mentioned some scenes, I don’t think I did? In any case, I’ll identify one area where The Ten Commandments gets it wrong, and it’s not just one scene, but the entire film. And I would illustrate it with a question: what is the Exodus — the liberation of God’s People from slavery in Egypt — about?

    The movie emphasizes human liberty, which I’m all for; even to the point of having the Liberty Bell ringing at the very end. But that badly mangles what the Bible says.

    If you look closely at the story of the Exodus, you’ll notice whenever Moses presents himself to Pharaoh, he says some variation on this: “Let my people go that they may worship me.” Every single time. Every single time.

    Then notice how much of the story is about building the tabernacle; and then about how their movements were always governed by the movement of the Presence of God.

    While I’m not saying God doesn’t care about liberty, or justice for the oppressed, the point of the Exodus was that they would be a holy, priestly people consecrated to God.

    Now, I don’t expect Cecil B. DeMille to get that. He’s not a bad man because he chose to emphasize other things. But in my judgment, the entertaining story he gave us still does badly distort what Sacred Scripture says. That’s what most Bible movies do.

    Now, Noah may be uniquely bad; but I haven’t seen the movie. But I’m skeptical.

  66. Michael says:

    The whole story of Noah is silly enough as it is in my opinion. I think (at least hope) that everyone would agree that the Noah spoken of in Genesis probably never existed and that there is no solid evidence of a global flood ever occurring that wiped out all of humanity except for a few individuals, therefore creating a genetic bottleneck and therefore condemning the human race to extinction.

  67. cajuncath says:

    I have seen it and simply did not walk away with this degree of negative assessment.

    First, as has been stated, it’s a movie, not a biblical or theological documentary. Other biblical movies have played fast and loose with facts and have obscured overall themes.

    In Noah, there are certainly any number of liberties being taken. But I failed to see some voracious anti-religion agenda at work. In fact, I was impressed by the heavy contextual emphasis on the fall and man’s sinfulness and wickedness. Yes, Noah becomes an overly zealous figure willing to do whatever he believes God has called him to do, including ensuring that his children are the last humans on earth. He also comes to realize his error, while continuing to strive to obey and serve God. Describing the Noah character as being depicted on a par with Stalin or Hitler is simply not accurate.

    Putting it plainly, if you are concerned about how Christianity will appear to others, you should not be overly concerned with a Noah figure who did not set out to kill off nearly all of humanity. Rather, you should prepare your apologetical efforts for the fact that it is God who does that in the movie. And that comes directly from the bible.

  68. KateD says:


    What I liked in the movie: the prayerfulness of the character of Noah. You could really sense an intense and very real and personal relationship between God and Noah. Noah was portrayed as an honorable and just man. A good husband and father in a world that had become depraved. In Noah’s family, you see the image of a traditional family lovingly living and working with each other and with the father leading the family. The father in turn is steadfast in following the will of God. The wife and children are respectful and obedient to Noah, even into adulthood. For Ham, who goes astray, there are consequences. I didn’t feel walloped over the head with an environmental message. The movie depicts the wickedness of man at the time. “That every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 5), toward other men, animals, and nature. The movie dealt with this well. The destruction of the natural environment was just one element that illustrated man’s viciousness and his total lack of regard for Creation. My children thought the way that they showed the original unfolding of Creation was superb. There was almost no sexual content. There was one scene near the beginning where Shem kisses his girlfriend on the lower abdomen, and that was the extent of the sensuality, if I’m remembering correctly. Violence is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings.

    While it was good that they made clear the fact that all men are wounded by original sin, I did not like that Noah was portrayed as believing that it was therefore God’s intention to destroy all of mankind and that he and his family were only allowed to live so that they could build the ark in order to save the animals. This is what other people have referred to as the “homicidal maniac” part. In the movie, the character of Noah is portrayed as believing the Creator does not want mankind to continue and he tells his family that they will live and work in the new world and when the youngest passes that will be the end of man on Earth. When Shem’s wife is found to be with child (made possible by a miraculous healing through Methuselah just before the flood) Noah’s character makes the statement that if it’s a boy it will live, but if it’s a girl who could have more children, the child will be killed at birth. Of course this is all purely from the misinformed imagination of the filmmakers. It struck me as more of a parallel with the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac than “homicidal maniac”, though. Ultimately, twin daughters are born and Noah cannot bring himself to harm them as when he looked at them, “he had only love in his heart for them”. Ten months on an ark with a bunch of animals and the total destruction of every living thing in the world might make a person a little nutty. Perhaps this was the filmmaker’s way of expressing that?

    What I did not like: The departures from the Bible. The Tubal-cain as stowaway scenario was, again, purely fictional. I did not like Ham’s betrayal of his father by clandestinely working with the villain to lure his father into an ambush with the intent of killing him. Bad, bad, bad.

    The “watchers” are a misinterpretation of what fallen angels are and what the Nephilim were. I don’t think any of us really understand what Nephilim were, and so the filmmaker comes up with this idea that some angels pitied man after the fall in the garden and tried to help mankind. As a consequence of their disobedience, God threw them to the earth where they became mired in mud and turned into rock creatures ala 1970’s Godzilla style special effects. It was really a bad piece of movie making, and obviously bad theology with regard to the demonic. In my opinion the attempt to garner sympathy for the fallen angels is the most dangerous element of the movie for the theologically challenged.

    Many of the errors in the movie may stem from a lack of understanding of salvation and the promise that God made at the time of the fall. Jesus is the piece of the puzzle missing for this filmmaker. Let’s pray he finds Him. (No, really. Isn’t that what we Catholics do when perturbed with someone? Let’s pray for this poor soul’s salvation: Darren Aronofsky. ).

    I saw the movie because I want Hollywood to understand that there is a market for God themed movies. I took my whole family and we have subsequently been reviewing the biblical version of Noah and his ark.

    My husband gave his review midway through the movie by responding aloud in the theater to the line, “God is punishing them”. He said, “No, He is punishing all of us in the audience. I WANT MY TWO HOURS BACK!” So there you have it.

  69. Johnno says:

    PostCatholic –

    The 100% accurate recording of Noah is in Genesis. It’s only a few paragraphs long, so there’s plenty of room for artistic license. Yet the film still goes out of its way to screw that up eve in the minor details. Also correct theological interpretations have been given by Christ, the Apostles, the Jews and the Church as to its message which ultimately culminates in the establishment of the Church as the new Ark.

    The account of Noah is NOT allegorical. It is historical as attested to by Our Lord Himself and the Apostles. The idea that it is just a made-up story is modernist nonsense trying to accommodate BS fairy tales like the theory of evolution and to cater to skeptics who couldn’t care less about our religion in the first place, accuracies or not.

    Michael –

    There is plenty of evidence that a global flood occurred. The entire fossil record for one where we also find sea life buried on top of mountain ranges. Every ancient culture and religion on Earth also maintains records of a Worldwide flood right up to even naming Noah and his family in different variations. Everyone from the American Natives to the Australian Aborigines, the Hindus, the ancient Chinese etc. Our intellectual godless elites who lie about there never being a worldwide flood on Earth, a planet where the majority of its surface is water, are hilariously trying to claim a global flood happened on Mars, where there is no water, but they are convinced there had to be because of the formations on the surface which appear to them as if they are made by water, which they base on what they know about Earth where the same formations exist all over it’s surface too!!! But oh noooo! No global flood happened here! That just might mean those there Christian fundies might be right and maybe Hell might exist after all!

    I recommend this Protestant site for more information:

    cajuncath –

    How would you like it if I were to make a film based on your mother but completely change her character and motives to something horribly distorted, and then claim “this isn’t a documentary about cajuncath’s mother, it’s just a movie for entertainment, so relax!” Would you be okay with that?

    The errors of the film are that the fallen angels are portrayed as helpers of humanity and that even fallen angels can be saved. That’s a pretty big flaw right there.! It portrays God as some being who only speaks in visual riddles instead of plain words face to face with Noah as He did to Moses and before Israel. Noah was also a righteous man, almost perfect along with Methuselah. You understand the standard of perfection we’re discussing here? The film is a complete distortion of him. It would be almost tantamount to making a film about Mary and portraying her as having human temptations of lust and struggling with the hard choice of whether to accept or abort her child, our Lord, because we need to ‘humanize’ her situation. Ridiculous! Finally as com mentors say about the end, Noah’s decision to spare the children is placed upon him as making the choice himself in defiance of God who never painted a clear picture of what He was asking Noah to do in the first place! Again a blatant distortion of God. These are serious things that you need to consider more clearly about this blasphemous portrayal of God.

    You say, “Rather, you should prepare your apologetical efforts for the fact that it is God who does that in the movie. And that comes directly from the bible.”

    Indeed! People should know that God did do it, but also WHY He did it! God wasn’t concerned for the environment; making no sense of the plot that he’d destroy the Earth to save an Earth that is already being destroyed? Huh? Shall you explain the film’s logical plot hole here? Which nutty environmentalist is going to claim today that Noah’s time was more polluted than ours anyway???? God sent the flood to punish mankind for their sins against Him and for the wickedness they did unto each other. And He WILL DO IT AGAIN, only this time it will be by FIRE! If mankind wants to avoid that they better shapen up!

    But there is good news, there is the Church, the NEW ARK! And we can be saved if we only got on board! Another big thing missed by the film: The Ark WASN’T JUST FOR THE ANIMALS! There was plenty of room on the Ark for many other people to get on board. The doors were left entirely open and mankind knew the warning of God’s coming chastisement and knew what they had to do! But only Noah and a few others got on! When time was up, God Himself closed the door afterwards! The Ark is a symbol of the Church! The Church, like the Ark was there to save those who would freely come on board and accept God’s means of salvation on His terms! Where is that message in the film??? As usual, once again mankind is more inclined to ignore God’s warnings and continue to go on with their lives right unto the time the doors of the Ark finally close and its too late. This particular thing is A MAJOR DISREGARD OF GOD’S MERCY by providing the Ark with ample room for many people to also go on board. Instead the film portrays the Ark as being crowded with animals with no room for anyone else, completely contrary to the moral message of Genesis and the Tradition of the Jews and the Church!

  70. q7swallows says:

    I like to eat brownies.
    Brownies are comprised of these foods: butter, flour, sugar, cocoa, eggs, vanilla flavoring, & leaven.
    Dog excrement is not food for human beings because it’s full of harmful bacteria and pathogens that make war on our bodies.
    If dog excrement is introduced to the composition of a batch of brownies and I get wind of it, I should not of my own volition eat those brownies for free or pay for them or eat them to make a point about my love for brownies.
    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. above nailed it in two words:

    interior corruption.

    A brownie made with dog excrement is a (bodily) lie.
    A movie that claims to be about God but tells lies about Him & His Story is a (spiritual) lie.
    Our Lord told us we should value our souls over our bodies. We should not therefore jeopardize our immortal souls by freely subjecting them to the spiritual pathogens of the devil.
    We must not ally ourselves with deception when we find it, however attractive its presentation.

    KateD: Agreed; let’s pray for the director and all who had a hand in the twisting of the original, Biblical & Traditionally understood script.

  71. acricketchirps says:

    As for me, I thought it was Russell Crowe who built the chapel on Mel Gibson’s estate. But it might have been Hugh Jackman. I get them mixed up.

  72. KateD says:

    Did the example have to be brownies? Couldn’t it have been, like,…..I don’t know, rhubarb pie?

  73. PostCatholic says:

    It is historical as attested to by Our Lord Himself and the Apostles. The idea that it is just a made-up story is modernist nonsense trying to accommodate BS fairy tales like the theory of evolution and to cater to skeptics who couldn’t care less about our religion in the first place, accuracies or not.

    Every time I think perhaps, perhaps the angry people commenting on this blog aren’t also the lunatic fringe, someone disabuses me of my error.

  74. Michael says:


    Wow, just wow. So tell me, what did the herbavores eat when they got off of the ark after all of the plant life was covered by mixed salt water for a year? Also what did the carnivores eat once they got off the ark? Also a great number of aquatic species alive today would have died due to the change in water salinity, pH. Let me guess…the answer is…magic? :)

  75. Cavaliere says:

    @Michael wroteAlso what did the carnivores eat once they got off the ark?

    Yesterday’s Gospel was the feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. I suppose you would call that “magic” too?

  76. cajuncath says:


    The movie’s portrayal does not constitute a complete change of character and motive of Noah. Nowhere in the movie, as I recall it, does it say that God is completely and permanently destroying the earth in its entirety.

  77. It may be too late in this thread to offer this, but…

    When people focus on the historicity of the story of Noah, and the various issues related to geology, weather, climate, etc., that arise, I think the author(s?) of Genesis must be shaking their heads.

    Do you really think that’s what he or she intends your reflections on that section of Sacred Scripture to be?

    Really, do you?

  78. Michael says:


    I would call that unbelievable. Why would you believe something that is so unrealistic and fanciful without emperical verifiable evidence to back it up? If I told you that I have a pet dragon living in my garage I better have some darn good solid evidence if I expect others to believe me. I suppose you reject all of the miraculous and fanciful claims found in other religions, e.g. Mohammed ascending to heaven. the Hindu milk miracle, people rising from the dead, &c.?

  79. cajuncath says:

    With all due respect, Fr. Fox, I think scriptural understanding is a pressing and important issue.

    As I have understood the theological gravity of the matter, we are doctrinally bound to any understanding of scripture that was held across the spectrum of church fathers. And that appears to include a very literal reading of the opening chapters of Genesis.

  80. Cajuncath:

    If understanding Scripture — among other essential components of our Faith — is “pressing and important,” then let’s engage in some careful reasoning here.

    First: what in my comments, which concluded with a question, calls into question the importance of “scriptural understanding”? In other words, your comment, prefaced with “all due respect,” suggests I called that proposition into question. Is that your contention? If so, tell me how I called that into question.

    Second: I posed a question. Is your comment offered as a reply? Because I’m not seeing how your response, directed to me, is in any way responsive to my question.

    Please understand, I’m not offended. But I don’t think you answered my question.

  81. StWinefride says:

    Re Scriptural understanding, paragraphs 115-119 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church deal with The Senses of Scripture:

    115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. the profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

    116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”

    117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
    1. the allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.
    2. the moral sense. the events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.
    3. the anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.

    118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:

    The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
    The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

    119 “It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God.”

    But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.

  82. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Do you really think that’s what he or she intends your reflections on that section of Sacred Scripture to be?

    Really, do you?”

    Well, it occurred to me that nowhere in the Four Gospels does it EVER rain. I thought that was a pretty interesting meteorological fact. Raining is mentioned only once in the New Testament: Acts 28:8. Weather is used as signs, especially (only) in the Old Testament.

    ” Wow, just wow. So tell me, what did the herbavores eat when they got off of the ark after all of the plant life was covered by mixed salt water for a year? Also what did the carnivores eat once they got off the ark? Also a great number of aquatic species alive today would have died due to the change in water salinity, pH. Let me guess…the answer is…magic? :)”


    a. There are plants that survive in salt water. Carnivores ate fish (the other flesh meat).
    b. Water salinity is a much more complex issue than you present. Rain water is low in salt, but the raising water would have leeched salts from the land, so, without knowing the geographic distribution of salt across the earth, it would be almost impossible to say how much deviation from 3% by mass the salinity would have changed. Certainly, adaptation would have occurred relatively quickly, so the food supply was probably not as dire as you hypothesize.
    c. The same problems exist with trying to get at a number for the pH.

    The Chicken

  83. cajuncath says:

    Fr. Fox,

    My first statement was not meant to call into question the importance you assign to scripture and its interpretation, but was simply meant to underscore the importance of the subject, however poorly I may have done that here.

    My reply to the question, I supposed fully unpacked and reading certain assumptions, however correct or incorrect, into your post and question, is that whatever the author of Genesis may have thought or not thought our reflections should be is not as important as what the church fathers would have held is its proper interpretation and what that presumably entails as binding for our belief.

  84. Cajuncath:

    OK. Well, I won’t pursue the Q&A approach, that didn’t work.

    I will simply make an assertion:

    In my judgment, the human author(s) of Genesis did not compose Genesis to answer questions about geology, climate, and the like, or exactly how the animals were all accommodated on the ark; or whether Noah, in selecting various animals, delved down into the various sub-categories of animals that present day taxonomy of animals use (i.e., how many varieties of dog were assembled?). These are the wrong questions. This is not what’s important about the story.

    Also, the “literal sense” of Scripture is the foundation of all interpretation of Scripture. But there needs to be a correct understanding of what the “literal sense” is. This is a big deal, too many gloss over this.

    I think the Jerome Biblical Commentary gets it right: the literal sense is that sense the human author directly intended, as far as that can be deduced (my restatement, not a quote). This is common-sensical.

    Here’s an example, although more could be cited. In the Song of Songs, one of the lovers is called a “gazelle.” Does this mean he wasn’t human, but another species? Or, do you take it that the human author of Song of Songs intended the term to be taken poetically? I am guessing almost no one would argue the former, but would say the latter. In which case, that latter understanding — a “poetic” understanding of the text, IS the “literal reading” of Song of Songs. Do you follow that?

    So just what is the “literal sense” of Genesis? It is what the human author directly intended. So did that author directly intend to assert that Creation took 144 hours? (I.e., 24 hours times six?) Or did the author intend a different sort of meaning to be taken from the reader? Most exegetes say the latter. So reading it that way is the “literal” reading of Scripture.

    Now, the good news is, you are free to disagree. If you want to believe the world was created in 144 hours, you may and still be a good Catholic, and vice-versa. And the same is true, I would argue, regarding whether the great flood was truly worldwide, or a regional flood, or even if you believe the author wasn’t even asserting the historicity of the flood; but only taking it as a given, and reworking the story to make other points. Akin to places in the Gospels where our Lord refers to Jonah and the big fish (not “whale”); you can either take that to mean Jesus is affirming the historicity of Jonah being swallowed; or you can take that as our Lord simply working from the text as-is, without getting into the historicity of it.

    Are all parables historical? I.e., not that they were told but they describe, in every single case, actual human beings in actual situations? When he spoke of ten wise and ten foolish virgins at a wedding, does that represent an assertion that somewhere, there was one, specific wedding that included these detailed happenings — with Jesus simply omitting names?

    Again, if you wish to believe that the parables all refer to actual historical events, you may do so. Or the contrary. I am unaware of anything from Holy Mother Church that denies the faithful this liberty. No, not various conclusions published by the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I certainly can be wrong, but I don’t believe any papal documents have been so limiting. The pope and bishops have been rather more careful about such things, for reasons that shouldn’t need to be explained. The example I have in mind is the careful way Pius XII, I believe it was, delineated exactly what constraints we faced in reconciling Scripture with the theory of evolution.

    To return to the flood. My point was and is that worrying over the scope of the flood is the wrong focus. The story of the flood presents lots of other things more important to dwell on, as pertains our salvation.

    (And if you want to know what I think about the scope of the flood, or whether it happened…I am still working on that matter, because such a flood, like the narratives that speak of the Israelites being commanded to slaughter *everyone* without exception, raise questions that some people can pass over easily, but I can’t. So I ponder, and when I teach, I focus on what’s clear enough in these passages, instead of what’s not.)

  85. kinglehr says:

    I watched the movie. To me, it’s not a great movie. I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars judging it on strictly artistic movie merits. But I think ALL of the theological criticisms of this movie are either unfounded or exaggerated.

    If you feel that your faith is still at an immature stage, you should not see this movie. Or if you feel that you would be unable to process the artistry of a director like Aronofsky, then you should not see this movie.

    But for those of you who are confident in your faith and have a mind for art, there is nothing theological in this movie that should stop you from watching. Indeed, I quite enjoyed the artistic protrayal of man’s wickedness, stewardship of creation, justice, and mercy.

    The fact of the matter is that Aronofsky does take a lot of artistic license, but none of them go against Catholic doctrine. Yes, much of man’s wickedness is expressed in the destruction of the environment, but it is also expressed in the outright, indefensible, gratuitous violence and killing of each other (as well as animals), which the Breitbart review completely ignores. The environmental theme itself is a reflection of God’s command for man to be good stewards of Creation. It is not against Catholic doctrine. It’s not so much using the environment but abusing the environment that the movie goes after. You see this by the fact that the world has basically become a desert.

    Noah is a bit of a maniac in the middle third of the movie, but it is simply a phase he goes through as he struggles with the concepts of justice and mercy. Overall, maniac is not the proper descriptor for Noah’s character. Noah is a good man who simply struggled with God’s commands. How many saints do we know that have drowned in despair and debauchery and the like before finding God’s Truth?

  86. cajuncath says:

    Fr. Fox,

    May I ask you then what you think of and how you would respond to claims made by the Kolbe Center for Study of Creation and Faithful Answers?

  87. I am unaware of the claims made by the Kolbe Center, so I have no response.

  88. Charles E Flynn says:

    A Pauline Exegete Watches Aronofsky’s Noah, by Wesley Hill, for First Things. (note comments from Steven G. Greydanus, SDG).

  89. acricketchirps says:

    Rats, you had to mention Johah! Now I got the I. Gershwin lyric

    he made his home in
    that fish’s ab-dome-en”

    hopelessly stuck in my head.

  90. Charles E Flynn says:

    “Noah”: A Post-Modern Midrash
    , by Fr. Robert Barron, for the Catholic World Report.

  91. Charles E Flynn says:

    Noah: A commentary by Fr. Barron (video: 10 min. 15 sec.)

  92. Uxixu says:

    I again lament that Mel Gibson didn’t make more Biblical movies as the rest of Hollyweird’s homosexuals and atheist leftists just do not “get” the material enough to do it justice (as this Noah movie shows) and the independents trying don’t have the name recognition to pull it off.

    I really wish he had done an immediate sequel to The Passion of the Christ. I would have loved seeing Francesco De Vito going to Rome for example with flashbacks to Acts (reusing the same cast, especially Maia Morgenstern, Christo Jivkov, and Mattia Sbragia as Caiphas) as well as the Maccabees movie he planned (that since fell apart).

  93. Rachel K says:

    I found this review very insightful:

    None of the above comments or aforementioned reviews touch on what Dr Brian discloses here, that the movie is based on Gnosticism. He provides lots of compelling evidence that this is the case.
    He also chastises Church leaders and theologians for not recognising this for what it is.
    Good point…
    He says that lay people would not necessarily recognise this unless they know about Kabbalah or other esoteric practices.
    I was convinced by this as it clarified the peculiar aspects of the movie, such as the rock creatures, which had rung alarm bells in my Catholic mind, but which I couldn’t explain.
    In essence, this is not a film based on the Bible.

    On another note, I am always baffled by the high regard given to the “movie industry” by my brothers and sisters in the US. Your “movie culture” runs very strong and deep. Personally, I don’t do well with films, I can never concentrate until the end, being a bit hyperactive and fidgety, I find the noise levels physically oppressive, being a bit noise sensitive, and really, no matter how good the story I always have a vague feeling I would rather be doing something more constructive and creative with my leisure time.
    I think there is a need to think seriously about the subliminal effect of the images, noises and messages we take in via screen media. For our children especially this is so important. After all, we become as our friends are, and all the hours we spend with “screen friends” is influencing us, for better or worse.
    My message: skip the cinema, take up a creative hobby or a sport and offer up the sacrifice of not seeing a movie for some good cause.

  94. Charles E Flynn says:

    From the last lines of a letter by Steven D. Greydanus in the last lines of Greydanus on Noah, by John C. Wright:

    P.S. Dr. Mattson’s article alleging that Noah is thoroughly Gnostic is deeply flawed. It has been persuasively rebutted by my friends Peter Chattaway of Film Chat and Ryan Holt of I’ve Seen That Movie Too.

Comments are closed.