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Baumgarten: The movie is never like the book

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This week I decided to go to a movie that was based on a popular book. I have heard multiple things about it, including the statement that it was nothing like the beloved story it was based on. Others have said it has the potential to be one of the best films of the year.

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No, it’s not “Divergent,” though as an avid moviegoer I am excited to see it. It’s a film that has people protesting on social media networks, saying it is the “WORST MOVIE EVER!”

I’m talking about “Noah.”

When it comes to movies, I am attracted to controversy. I have to see a piece if people absolutely praise it or say it’s awful. Why? I want to see if there is some reasonable explanation for such heated discussions. And since comments on this biblical adaptation were flooding my Facebook feed, I wanted to see if I could find a rational reason people hated on the Darren Aronofsky film — not to mention that I’m a huge Emma Watson fan.

After sitting in the theater for more than two hours, I found there was a reason to hate “Noah,” but not for the ones everyone was citing. Granted, this is just one girl’s opinion, and everyone has a right to their opinion.

Just be warned, I’m going to give out some major spoilers. It doesn’t ruin the entire film, but stop reading if you don’t like spoilers. Not that you don’t know the ending already.

With that said, I think people claiming the film is horrible because it doesn’t follow the Bible are overreacting. When was the last time a director followed a book down to the last period? I can’t think of any. There were too many parts to count in the Harry Potter series that were cut out. Francis Lawrence added a few scenes and left out others in “The Hunger Games” films. And I’m pretty sure Hester Prynne from “The Scarlet Letter” did not take as many baths as Demi Moore did in the 1995 movie.

I can see why people are upset. Aronofsky took quite a few liberties. He made angels fall from grace and formed them into giants after they tried to help humanity. One may think of this as a comparison to the Greek Titan Prometheus, who gave mankind fire and then was banished from the heavens, bound to a rock.

Noah’s sons in the Bible had wifes. Watson, who plays the only potential wife — meaning she had children out of wedlock — may have made several religious people upset, understandably.

The director also makes “The Creator,” or God, seem like a being that, at best, ignores man and, at worst, wants to destroy them. Noah is portrayed as a cruel man that cares for everything but his fellow man, even going as far as contemplating killing his grandchildren. Anyone that has read the Bible or has heard the story of Noah knows that this didn’t happen. And that’s what has everyone’s blood boiling.

To be fair to Mr. Aronofsky, I don’t think he had any intention of making an accurate portrayal of the ancient story. In fact, I can almost guarantee it. The point of this movie was to simply make money and produce a Hollywood hit. Otherwise, Paramount Pictures would not have gotten behind it, let alone cast such high-profile actors like Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Watson.

By the way, Crowe fell flat with his acting, almost trying to seem too cruel and emotionless. But this film made us see that Watson is no longer the sweet wizard she played for a decade. This shows she can handle anything and sell it for what it’s worth. She deserves any award she gets for this film.

There is one lesson from the Bible that this film tried to play on. “Noah” clearly shows that there is not only cruelty and evil inside of man’s heart but also kindness and justice. The movie blurs the lines between good and evil, making us question what is truly right or wrong. Even Noah, who respects life, is torn between saving the world or risking it for the love of his family.

It also explores the idea that God gave humans a choice, just as he did with Adam and Eve. He doesn’t answer to humans or even Noah because he doesn’t want to interfere. He wants mankind to make the choice rather than rule with an iron fist. And that is why he allowed humans to survive instead of destroying them with fire.

But in the end, it is just a movie.

“Noah” isn’t supposed to be an accurate depiction of the Bible. It’s meant for entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.

So please find something better to talk about other than the fact that glowing giants didn’t exist or that Noah’s fashion is ahead of its time. There must be something better to talk about on Facebook, like taking quizzes or looking at pictures of cats or something.

Baumgarten is the assistant editor of The Dickinson Press. Email her at abaumgarten@thedickinsonpress.com. Read her past posts on her blog at baumsaway.areavoices.com.

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April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined The Dickinson Press as the assistant editor in January 2014 and was named news editor in October 2014. She helps lead a team of top-notch news reporters and plays a role in coordinating design for western North Dakota's award-winning newspaper. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican, where she helped the two newspapers win numerous awards.   
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