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“Noah”

Having been in one of those Billy Graham evangelistic movies nearly 50 years ago, I consider myself qualified to provide a legitimate review of a Christian movie. The movie is “Noah.”

Since there was so much buzz about the film, I anticipated big crowds. We purchased tickets online to avoid long lines. It appeared to be a good choice when we drove into the parking lot; all the handicapped spaces were taken. That only happens at Christmas or if it’s raining.

Before talking about the film, I need to make one thing clear. This is not a Christian movie. I don’t think the movie producers intended to make a biblical epic. If that had been their goal, they failed. I did not anticipate seeing a biblically accurate movie.

If you plan to see “Noah” to confirm your faith or to be a spiritual blessing, don’t bother. You would be better served to see “The Book of Eli” with Denzel Washington.

It also means you shouldn’t get all hot and bothered if it doesn’t conform to your biblical theory.

During the trailers we were introduced to the upcoming attractions of “Hercules” and a new “Transformers” movie.

Obviously, these movies were chosen on purpose because the “Noah” movie is like a marriage of “Hercules” and “Transformers.” Perhaps the subtitle should read: “Ancient warrior joins forces with futuristic robots to save the world.”

Starring in the role of “Yoda” was Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah). The character of Jim Jones of Jonestown fame was played by Russell Crowe (Noah). Nick Nolte had the role of a fallen angel (Samyaza), which might be evidence of typecasting.

Numerous features of the movie seemed out of place. Remember, the setting was somewhere in the ancient world of the near east.

The villain, Tubal-Cain, used some type of firearm to shoot Nolte. There were also some highly developed uses of metal and concrete at various times during the film as well as a spring-loaded animal trap that probably did not originate for thousands of years.

Near the end of the movie, Noah’s son constructed a log cabin. It was more reminiscent of Abe Lincoln than anything from the near east. And what was with the fireballs that acted like supercharged matches?

There is at least one redeeming feature of the movie, and I’m not sure the movie creators did it on purpose.

In the film, Noah tries very hard to please God. Several weird dream sequences reveal how Noah knew the Creator’s wishes.

By the time the flood arrived, Noah had obeyed completely and everything was ready.

Sure enough, all mankind was destroyed, except for Noah’s family and one stowaway on the boat. Yet, Noah’s complete obedience led to a problem.

Like many of us when we have obeyed God, we are tempted to believe that we are qualified to act on behalf of God.

It seems that obedience easily leads to arrogance. Noah knew that God asked him to construct an ark to save the animals while God destroyed mankind.

But then Noah was faced with what to do with his unexpected twin granddaughters.

His conclusion was that he needed to do the work of God and kill the babies. Noah had never been asked by God to kill anyone.

However, based on his understanding of what God wanted, he took it upon himself to do God’s work for him.

If we are honest, we must admit a tendency to do the same thing ourselves.

For example, we are convinced that God is going to punish sinners so we take it upon ourselves to punish them on his behalf. We’re not content to allow God to do his own work.

Noah was instructed to build an ark to save the animals and his family.

However, that was not enough. Instead he took on the work of God and set out on the task of eliminating his own family, not something God told him to do.

This is a great lesson. Our responsibility is to do what God instructs, but make sure we don’t creep over into the territory he has reserved for himself.

“Noah” is a movie you might enjoy, but not if you expect a spiritual experience. Personally I wasn’t so that didn’t bother me. I just didn’t like the movie. I’m not a big fan of robots and apocalyptic movies.

The highlight for me was the pizza with slices of potato at the Pizza Inn buffet afterward. I do love potatoes.

Terry Austin is one of the pastors at Bread Fellowship church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also the principal partner of Austin Brothers Publishing. A longer version of this review first appeared on his blog, Intermission, and is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter: @wterrya

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writers: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel

Cast: Russell Crowe: Noah; Jennifer Connelly: Naameh; Ray Winstone: Tubal-Cain; Anthony Hopkins: Methuselah; Emma Watson: Ila; Logan Lerman: Ham; Douglas Booth: Shem; Leo McHugh Carroll: Japheth.

The movie’s website is here.