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Darren Aronofsky's Noah is sailing its way to being a major hit for Paramount Pictures, pulling in $179 million worldwide in just 11 days. Though film critics have widely praised the film, audiences have been notably divided. (Noah received a Cinema Score of "C" because 65% of those polled gave the film an A or B, while 15% gave it a D or F.) The most vocal of Noah's detractors have been conservatives on television. So, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the titular host called out these critics, pointing out how flawed and flat-out misinformed some of their arguments are. You can watch his argument in full above. Surprisingly, the matter of rock monster angels never comes up.
As someone who covers movies on a daily basis, I can't even pretend to be surprised that some are so outraged over the choices Aronofsky made in Noah. First off, fans of any book tend to become so attached to its story and characters that filmmakers of an adaptation are guaranteed to get some flack for changes they choose to make to the source material, be it chopping subplots, combining minor characters, adding entirely new ones, or casting a performer who doesn't look like fan's expect. Add to this inherent backlash the matter that Noah drew its inspiration from a book that countless people worldwide consider to be the word of God, and obviously the outcry is more impassioned.
However, the greatest problem with these criticisms of Noah is that so few of them appear to have actually seen the film before leaping to conclusions about its representation of the biblical tale. I've ranted on this before, but I'll say it again: If you haven't seen a movie, your opinion on its message is at best misinformed, at worst stupid. I say this as someone who actually didn't like Noah (I found it boring), but who feels film criticism should be left to people who actually took the time to see the movie.
To that end, I'm turning to Glenn Beck, who initially condemned Noah site unseen for its "rabid environmentalism" and "no mention of God." At the time, he cried, "I hope that Noah is a massive failure. I hope it is a massive, massive failure." However, Paramount contacted Beck and offered him a chance to attend a private screening of the film, and he went. His updated review--delivered after actually seeing the film--said in part:
"I would love to be able to come and report that the movie is great, but I can’t. It is awful, but it is not for the reasons that the reviewer said on Friday. It is awful for 100 other reasons.
Friday, we talked about the review. And in the review, it says it was a heavy-handed environmental movie and there was no mention of God… The review made it sound like this was a godless climate change movie. I believe that it is not a godless climate change movie. It’s more like Sinbad the Sailor meets Shining and Friday the 13th, with a sprinkle of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."
Beck goes on to take issue with Aronofsky's take on the character of Noah, citing examples from the movie. He mentions and mocks the rock monster angels. And you may or may not agree with his assessment of Noah, but I got to hand it to Beck, at least he saw the movie. That's progress.