How far you can sink depends on the amount of water

The legend of Noah has to be considered the most symbolic of all the biblical myths. After all, it is possible to wake the dead (hospitals do it every day all over the world) and cars slide on water, if not walk. But the amount of water necessary to cover the earth up and above the summit of Mount Everest is so staggering that it’s simply ridiculous. Therefore: symbolic. Cleansing the world from sin? The isolation of the righteous in a wicked world? I don’t know, but whatever the symbolism is, it blatantly disregards important aspects. Some of these are superficially taken into account in the over-expensive crap-movie ”Noah”, starring an over-paid Russel Crowe. The story is… well, you know the story, goddammit! Added to the old myth are fallen angels called ”The Watchers”. These Watchers serve as an excuse to hire fx-guys with big computers. They have, we are told, aided the line of Cain in building a wicked industrial civilization in the east, thereby calling down the wrath of the almighty Dork on the rest of mankind, in particular Noah and his tiny tribe, consisting of his family. The Watchers, disappointed by the betrayal of Cains descendants, decide to aid Noah in building the arc. Various miracles take place and before you know it the arc is ready, the animals are calmly resting in its belly, and the vicious line of Cain, coincidentally led by the man who murdered poor Noahs father, demands a place in this emergancy-craft, turning Noah into an early-day member of the crew of the Titanic: ”No, no, first class passengers only, that is: my family.” As is typical of this kind of story every thread has to be accounted for, Noahs father being murdered by a complete stranger would leave the revenge-aspect undealt with, and that wouldn’t do. No, Mr Murderer even remembers the incident, despite the fact that he must have murdered a few fathers. Tight and neat, self-contained and utterly predictable and boring.

No matter, onward to the grand story. Which is never exciting since everyone’s read the damn story. Which is never interesting since the moviemakers refuse to deviate in a relevant way. When Ham (Noahs son) starts to plot with the vicious murderer Tubal-cain in order to stop his more or less insane father, we know that he will turn back in time and instead ”become a man” by killing the bad guy. Yaaaaaaaaawn! But wait! Noah insane? Isn’t that interesting? Absolutely, but we know he will snap out of it in time. We know he won’t kill his infant grand-daughters. We know it, it happens, we yawn.

This illustrates an enourmous weakness with ”genre”-culture. There are rules for it, and the rules must be obeyed. It could have been a provocative movie. Why not, for example, fokus on the absence of Noahs tribe? Remove the Watchers and you are left with a question: Who built the arc? Noahs tribe of course. They are never mentioned in the bible, even though you might argue that they are his ”family” and therefore don’t need to be mentioned in particular. The society of Noah was, after all, a tribal one. Family equals tribe. But assume, for the sake of argument, that it isn’t that simple (which it never is). What, then, happened to those poor boat-builders? Drowned! Imagine that story: Noah, the biblical chieftain, starts to hear voices and in his hubris he is convinced that the almighty Dork is speaking to him, and to him alone. Blinded by his insanity (yes, hearing voices is a sign of mental disorder) he orders his people to build the arc (yes, it would require a few hundred people) and then, obeying the convenient command of the Dork, he leaves them to die in the deluge. That’s a story! That would be interresting to watch!

Granted: there is a segment where Noahs family tries to persuade him to save at least some of the dying people outside the arc, but that particular conflict is soon pushed into the back-ground and never has any real consequences. The grand-daughter incident has consequences (the above mentioned attempt on Noahs life), but if Noah truly wanted to erase mankind it would be smarter to keep quiet about it and murder his family in their sleep.

Other issues that could have been interresting: the massacre as the evil line of Cain desperately tries to conquer the arc is depicted as a struggle betweeen the ”good” Noah and the ”evil” Tubal-cain. Tubal-cain is, after all, a man who tries to lead his people in a desperate struggle for survival. Has he failed in his previous leadership? Obviously! But he refuses to give up. A positive portrayal of him would have made the movie more relevant. Combine it with the insanity-diagnosis that Noah so clearly needs and you have an even better story.

Or how about this: What kind of fascist piece of garbage accepts this divine mission? The story of Noah illustrates the problem of obedience. The Dictator gives an order, the servant obeys. And before you object: any powerful entity that decides to kill off an entire race of people because of what their fore-bears have done is an insane dictator; whether he or she is also a god is beside the point, and definately not an excuse. How about adding the story of those bronze-age chieftains (yes, bronze, although Noah clearly wields a steel-axe) who heard the calling of the almighty Dork and REFUSED to obey: ”What? You want me to build an arc and save a few people but leave the majority to die? That’s un-ethical, Dork! I won’t be party to that!” And thus the divine entity in question went from village to village, and wherever he came the answer was the same: It’s unethical! But lo! Then he came upon a tribe led by an inbred retard named Noah …

All these concepts could have been combined. Instead we are left with this illogical drivel. I mean, just taste it: The line of Cain has built a powerful industrial civilization, spanning the globe. Why, may I ask, are they using swords and axes when they fight? Why have they no aeroplanes, no oceangoing ships capable of withstanding the deluge? They ran out of food, and their civilization crumbled! someone objects. Why, then, haven’t they been able to succesfully cultivate the earth? Because they are wicked! No, I’m sorry, it’s not enough. Noting makes sense, and it isn’t supposed to. It’s just a matter of catering to the plebs. The only question asked is: How stupid can we make this entertainment vomit before the average idiot refuses to pay for it?

This is what happens when you simplify too much, when you focus on short-term entertainment rather than long-term quality. ”Noah” should never have been produced, like so many other pop-culture-stories, but now that it’s here, let’s unite in ignoring it from now on.

About cgripenvik

Jag är litteratör och gav ut min debutroman "Broder själ, syster flamma" 2014. Den följdes av barnboken "Emma: Flykten från träsket" 2015. Den här bloggen handlar om mitt försök att förverkliga min dröm och om min syn på litteratur i allmänhet.
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