The 2014 film “Noah” is a loose adaptation of the story of Noah’s Ark – “loose” being the operative word here. Whilst one cannot argue that it was an epic and spectacular couple of hours, the film has faced a lot of criticism from religious viewers, and we believe that it was justified. Here are the ten things that Noah got so spectacularly wrong (warning – spoilers!):
Abraham and Isaac parallels
Most of you are familiar with the story of Abraham’s sacrifice. The film seemingly draws parallels between that story and the story of Noah – Noah considers sacrificing his two granddaughters (Emma Watson’s character’s kids) to God. There’s no mention of this anywhere in Genesis, however.
According to Genesis, Noah most certainly did not drink any hallucinogenic tea to help himself hear God. In fact, Noah’s shaman grandfather wasn’t really involved in the original story, and God’s plans of the flood were revealed to Noah directly, without any assistance from any drugs or hallucinogens.
Na’el was the wife of Noah’s son Ham, in both Genesis and the film. However, Genesis confirms that all of Noah’s sons’ wives joined Noah on the ark, whereas Noah turns Na’el into a plot point. Noah forces Ham to leave her behind, which sets off a sequence of events that make up an important, but very untrue to Genesis, conflict of the film.
Noah being anti-repopulation
This is one hundred per cent director’s invention. Genesis Noah did not believe that God wanted humanity to cease – quite the contrary, he understood that it was on his family to repopulate the earth. Threatening to murder his twin granddaughters to prevent repopulation, which is what Noah has him do, is the opposite of the Noah that religious community has gotten to know.
As we’ve said earlier, Noah communicated with God directly, sans any drugs. However, the film paints quite a different picture – not only Noah needs hallucinogenic tea to talk to God, but he also hears things from “the Creator” in strange prophetic dreams. In Genesis, Noah never needed to rely on prophetic dreams – him and God were quite close and communicated directly.
We’re all familiar with the story of the serpent who tempted Eve, and given the repercussions that followed, it is quite unlikely that Adam and Eve’s descendants would choose snakeskin as a talisman. However, Noah shows the titular character do just that – he uses snakeskin to bless his family. Some say that the director borrowed from old Jewish mystics that favoured Santa over the God of Genesis. Either way, snakeskin talismans are the last thing one would call “biblical”.
This subplot was most likely included to add some drama which was, in our opinion, quite unnecessary. Evil warlord who was the son of Cain sneaks on the board of the ark in the film and recruits Noah’s son Ham to kill his father. Ham is on board (pun intended) because Noah wouldn’t let his wife come with them – another deviation from Genesis as you’ll see below.
The director’s invention of the Watchers – stone giants who helped Noah – is based on a Jewish myth about angels turned into giant rock creatures. However, Genesis makes no mention of the Watchers anywhere in the story of Noah’s Ark. Genesis’ disobedient angels were banished to hell, not to earth and they certainly didn’t walk around looking like stone giants and helping people.
Genesis tells us that all of Noah’s sons had their wives join them on the ark. However, according to Noah, only one of Noah’s daughters-in-law – Ila, wife to his son Shem, played by Emma Watson – accompanies them. The wives of Japheth and Ham didn’t join them.
The villains in the film mined for some sort of a “fairy dust” that was called Zohar. Genesis makes no mention of the element which Noah explains to be the source of light. However, the term does appear in the Old Testament and it’s also the name of the foundational work of the Kabbalah.