The recently released Hollywood blockbuster, Noah, appears to have stirred up the peace among religious minds and perhaps sparked anger among Muslims, Jews, Christians and others to whom the story is of value. The Darren Aronofsky feature starring names such as Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, among others, was recently banned in Indonesia.
The controversy surrounding the film does not appear to have come as a surprise to the creators, and many have looked back to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ for a related example. In addition, the recently awakened debate between Creationism and Evolutionism and the reconstruction of Noah’s Ark by the organization Answers in Genesis, might suggest that the world might be experiencing a chapter of a second renaissance.
What appears to be the main source of the controversy and potential anger among religious communities, surrounding movies such as Noah and The Passion of the Christ, is the approach to the topic, rather than doing it in the first place. Some religious scholars appear to be questioning a factual accuracy to the accounts in their texts, while some might be opposed to their sacred words being touched and reenacted altogether. Though Bill Nye and his Evolutionist side of the scientific community might debunk the credibility of religious texts as references for facts, Ken Ham and other Creationists still hold it dear as the fundamental source of truth.
While the approach to the cultural and religious heritage of some cultures seems to cause heated debates, several other cultures and belief systems are not left untouched by Hollywood or entertainment in general. The countless revivals of Greek and Roman myths appear to have been approached with a bit of creative license. The Marvel comics and movies might also be an essential example to look at, as some scholars of Norse mythology would perhaps argue that the Asgardian world has been dismantled and relocated out of context. Movies such as Thor to name an example. In spite of that, there seems to be little opposition from those religious communities.
As for the Paramount production of Noah, there seem to be conflicts between the biblical accounts of the events and the documentation of the same events in the Koran. Being an adaptation of the biblical accounts, some Muslims seem to fear it may be misleading. In addition to these voices from Islamic scholars, several Christians criticized the film during its early screenings for not being accurate enough to the biblical source story. Some of the more conservative of those critics are since reported to have come around to praise the film.
What might surprise some people about the production of Noah, is that it was shot in Iceland. An arctic island playing the role of the lands around the Middle East might call for some recognition and celebration for movie magic among some film enthusiasts, but a question might arise whether that could go to further add to the line of opposition. Much like most movies, Noah meets its share of criticism, though perhaps mostly for its controversy, as it may have become a potential cause of anger among some conservative religious groups. The screening ban enforced by some countries does not seem to come as a surprise to the films creators.
By Halldor Fannar Sigurgeirsson