Screenwriter Brian Godawa has read the script for director Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” project, starring Russell Crowe as the patriarch, and a thrill definitely did not go up his leg. In fact, the film appears to be a cross between The Book of Eli, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and An Inconvenient Truth.
In other words, crap.
Seems that the latest retelling of the biblical story of the man who remains faithful to God’s command despite the ridicule of his neighbors and the apparent absurdity of his situation has been reworked as a tale of environmental depredation, with Noah as a Bronze Age Unabomber:
Having got a chance to read an undated version of the script for Noah I want to warn you. If you were expecting a Biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God you’ll be sorely disappointed. Noah paints the primeval world of Genesis 6 as scorched arid desert, dry cracked earth, and a gray gloomy sky that gives no rain — and all this, caused by man’s “disrespect” for the environment. In short, an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming. How Neolithic man was able to cause such anthropogenic catastrophic climate change without the “evil” carbon emissions of modern industrial revolution is not explained. Nevertheless, humanity wanders the land in nomadic warrior tribes killing animals for food or wasteful trophies.
In this oppressive world, Noah and his family seek to avoid the crowds and live off the land. Noah is a kind of rural shaman, and vegan hippy-like gatherer of herbs. Noah explains that his family “studies the world,” “healing it as best we can,” like a kind of environmentalist scientist. But he also mysteriously has the fighting skills of an ancient Near Eastern Ninja (Hey, it’s a movie, give it a break).
Noah maintains an animal hospital to take care of wounded animals or those who survive the evil “poachers,” of the land. Just whose animal rights laws they are violating, I am not sure, since there are only fiefdoms of warlords and tribes. Be that as it may, Noah is the Mother Teresa of animals.
Though God has not spoken to men or angels for a long time, Noah is haunted by recurring dreams of a rainstorm and flood that he surmises is God’s judgment on man because as Noah says, “At our hand, all he created is dying.” The trees, the animals, and the environment. “If we change, if we work to save it, perhaps he will too [save us].” Or as grandfather Methuselah reiterates, “We have destroyed this world, so we ourselves will be destroyed. Justice.” Oh, and I almost forgot, they kill people too, but it’s not really as important. In another place, “We have murdered each other. We raped the world. The Creator has judged us.” The notion of human evil is more of an afterthought or symptom of the bigger environmental concern of the great tree hugger in the sky.
Meanwhile, Noah has himself become a bit psychotic, like an environmentalist or animal rights activist who concludes that people do not deserve to survive because of what they’ve done to the environment and to animals. Noah deduces that God’s only reason for his family on the boat is to shepherd the animals to safety, “and then mankind disappears. It would be a better world.” He concludes that there will be no more births in this family so that when they start over in the new world, they will eventually die out, leaving the animals in a humanless paradise of ecoharmony and peace. As Noah says, “The creatures of the earth, the world itself, shall be safe.” (Except for slamming intergalactic meteors, non-anthropocentric global warming, ice ages, sun spots, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and that “survival of the fittest,” eat-or-be-eaten thing. But other than that … “safe.”)
His ethical reasoning? The same as all environmentalist activists: The ends justify the means. “We must weigh those [human] lives against all creation.” Shades of Malthus and Al Gore.
At least if Cormac McCarthy had written the screenplay, the animals would have eaten Noah, then turned on each other, but one of the children would have lived on to wander the earth with a supermarket cart and a necklace made of human teeth. Kinda like hope and change.
We can only hope that the “undated” screenplay that Godawa read has undergone extensive rewrites, perhaps by Aaron Sorkin, and Noah will wind up a conscience-stricken lefty news reader or something.
I wouldn’t get too exercised over any of it, however, as it’s unclear whether Noah’s ark, which was parked in Oyster Bay on Long Island, survived 48 hours of Hurricane Sandy — never mind 40 days and 40 nights.
I only wish God could sue for copyright infringement.