Revelations: 'Noah' not quite what you think

When I exited the theater after watching "Noah," I didn't really know what I thought of the film.

I giggled slightly, and I'm sure my laughter did little to hide my raised-eyebrow confusion and sideways smiles.

"That was - interesting," I thought.

That's all I could muster. I couldn't explain what I felt, and I was confused about why I couldn't find words to express my feelings.

The film, the first blockbuster of the year, based loosely on the beloved story of Noah's Ark in Genesis, was certainly creative and cinematically shot very well.

But the director, Darren Aronofsky, a self-professed atheist, took a few too many liberties with the storyline, which, for me, proved distracting.

Instead of really concentrating on the story presented on-screen, I spent half the movie trying to work out the biblical differences from Aronofsky's version.

I spent another third of the film asking questions - in my mind - to the director about why he felt compelled to stray so far from the biblical version, already steeped in drama, death, devastation, miracles and the all-consuming love and wrath of God.

I'm not trying to persuade you against seeing the film - quite the opposite.

There are several moving and powerful scenes between Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe that capture the spirit of ancient humanity and remind us that man was once good, kind and a follower (and listener) of God.

It also reminded me about true suffering and the savagery of humanity that once was and still is in some parts of the world. And that maybe any suffering I have endured, by comparison, really wasn't so terrible.

I actually caught myself asking forgiveness from God silently during the movie for the wickedness man is capable of and for destroying and taking advantage of the Earth he provided us and for the stewardship of the precious creatures he placed upon its soil to assist, love and feed us.

But those moments were few.

I kept waiting for more explanation in the film to explain the story as I know it in scripture.

So be prepared for a modern version of Noah and the ark. And perhaps pick up your Bible and read over the story of Noah's journey and God's covenant with him before purchasing your tickets to this biblical epic.

And then enjoy the ride.

"Noah" is not quite what I expected, but I respect the filmmaker's efforts and his softened and respectful approach to Christianity onscreen.

It appears, at least to this Bible reader, that at the very least, he has a heart for humanity and some sort of deep respect for humanity's understanding of God's people and his creation.

That's probably the greatest achievement of the film and a lesson to Bible readers everywhere.

Jennifer Preyss is the faith editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss