Just last week, we posted a blog titled "Will Evangelicals Watch the Noah Film?" on our sister site ReligionToday.com. Judging from some of the comments (ex.: "Of course we'll watch it. If we don't support these Christian films so money is made on them, we won't get any more"), we may have taken a little too much for granted that everyone is familiar with the controversies surrounding the film.

Setting aside the idea that a film based on a biblical story or character is automatically a 'Christian' film (Jesus Christ Superstar or The Last Temptation of Christ, anyone?), there are, admittedly, some things about Noah, in theaters March 28, that give me pause: 

  • It's directed by an atheist. Not that I have anything against Darren Aronofsky as a filmmaker. I thought his Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan were highly original and deeply challenging, though not without controversies of their own. Certainly anyone who saw (or knew enough to conscientously avoid) these films would ponder the angle such a storyteller would have for handling a treasured story from Scripture. My thought when I first got wind of this project: "Hmmm. What's his game?"
  • Jewish and Christian test audiences are reported to have grumbled. Another 'hmmm,' but one that possibly has led to a reworking of objectionable elements in the final cut.
  • It's been rumored Aronofsky has hijacked the story to tell an Environmental Morality Tale (see the link below). This is a legit concern. If the film tries to make the case that The Almighty is more heartbroken about what humans have done to the Earth than what we've done to each other and our own souls, that's not gonna fly any further than the first dove Noah sent out.

And these are just the highlights. If you have Christian friends on Facebook, chances are you've seen the article "Russell Crowe's Noah Film - A Warning for Christians" in circulation. It's a long read that touches on even more questions, such as the Nephilim, "Watchers," magical forests, and Methuselah as a sort of shaman.

But even with such ponderables and warnings floating around, many believers are cautiously anticipating seeing Noah on the big screen in a few weeks. Here's why:

1. It's the Year of the 'Christian Movie'. We're at the start of a year in which many biblical and Christian stories are coming to the screen. Earlier today in fact I posted Christian Hamaker's review of Son of God on Crosswalk, an imperfect but fairly well-executed telling of the life of Christ. We'll also see Heaven is for Real, Exodus, and Mary, with possibilities for Cain & Abel and Pontius Pilate on the horizon. This is an intriguing trend. It may turn out to mean nothing, or it could be the start of another golden age of biblical epics. Those of us who are deeply interested in themes of hope, love, sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness in film, and who have been disappointed by the quality of many works of 'Christian art,' are invested in finding out.