Some moviegoers thought Noah had gone just a little too far on Friday. At 9:09 p.m. a 5.1-magnitude earthquake near La Habra, California shook movie theaters and patrons, who thought perhaps the movie was getting very realistic. Others perhaps thought Noah’s special effects were getting some extra assistance from above, or maybe from below.
Many people watching the movie thought it was just some super IMAX surround sound. Others thought it was an angry reaction from God over the controversial movie that has been banned in some areas of the Middle East.
At some theaters in the Los Angeles area the quake hit just after the flood did. It was almost exactly the time when the movie asked “Is man worthy of survival?” One Twitter message said the timing was “preeettty creepy.”
Messages with quake reactions flooded Twitter and Facebook. One post said there was nothing quite like having the end of the world scene in Noah start at the same time the movie theater began shaking from an earthquake.
Many theaters were forced to evacuate, but no major injuries were reported. However, substantial property damage occurred, along with power outages and general unease compounded by more than 100 aftershocks.
Seismologist Lucy Jones said there could be an even larger earthquake on the way. This quake was only a week after a 4.4 magnitude temblor rattled Southern California, shaking buildings but not causing serious damage.
At least seven water mains broke in Friday’s quake, leaving areas without water. Gas lines were leaking. Six residences and an apartment complex were damaged and red-tagged as being unsafe for occupancy. Most damaged residences were in northern Fullerton, closer to the quake’s epicenter.
The quake was felt as far south as San Diego. In another special effect, Disneyland attractions were halted, leaving some people literally up in the air, and perhaps needing a little assistance from above.
Noah has proved to be a divisive movie, including complaints that it challenges the teachings of Christianity and Islam. In The New Yorker, Noah director Darren Aronofsky called it the “least Biblical Biblical film ever made.”
Paramount Pictures released a statement in February explaining that, while the film was inspired by the Biblical story of Noah, artistic license has been taken. It is not intended to be a line-by-line retelling of the story of the flood in Genesis, but rather a dramatization of the major scriptural themes.
One review of Noah by Dr. Jerry Johnson, who is President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, said the environmental agenda was overdone. He was actually talking about how humanity was abusing the environment and killing the animals in the movie. Both of these actions are condemned as not the right thing to do in the Garden of Eden, and are a major part of what led God to send the flood.
Johnson noted that in the Biblical version of Noah and the flood the sins were wickedness, corruption, and violence, not abuse of the environment. However, given the timing of the earthquake, perhaps it could be argued that the environmental agenda in the movie version of Noah was not overdone in God’s opinion, but insufficient, leading to some special effects assistance from above.
By Beth A. Balen