"Noah" Film Inspires Flood of Religious Freak-Outs

| Thu Mar. 27, 2014 6:01 AM EDT

The new Darren Aronofsky movie Noah is pissing off quite a lot of people. The outrage over the film—which retells that famous biblical tale of Noah, his ark, and God's wrathful flood—is international and diverse in its stupidity. And it goes without saying that the majority of the people saying mean things about the film haven't yet seen it (Noah hits theaters on Friday, and stars Russell Crowe and Emma Watson). "It's always kind of silly that somebody puts their voice and opinion to something when they haven't seen it, based on an assumption," Crowe said in an interview with Access Hollywood. (Crowe has been trying to get Pope Francis to endorse Noah. That won't be happening.)

Aronofsky has dubbed his $160 million epic the "least biblical biblical film ever made." (Word on the street is that it promotes some pretty "aggressive environmentalism.") Here are some lowlights in the ongoing permutations of Noah hate:

1. Noah is actually banned in some countries because it depicts Noah. Censorship bodies in United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Indonesia have banned national releases of the film. This prerelease backlash stems primarily from a conservative Islamic prohibition on representing holy figures in art and entertainment. (Al-Azhar, a top Sunni Muslim institute in Egypt, also objected to the film and released a statement declaring that it would hurt the feelings of believers.) Also, there's a sense among certain government officials that Aronofsky's film doesn't play it straight: "There are scenes that contradict Islam and the Bible, so we decided not to show it," Juma al-Leem, director of media content at UAE's National Media Center, said.

"If there is a fear that the film will cause unrest and protest from some groups then the government should create a situation conducive to people growing up instead of always limiting them to a narrow-minded condition," Joko Anwar, an award-winning Indonesian filmmaker, told the Jakarta Globe.

Noah
Paramount

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2. Glenn Beck hates Noah because why wouldn't he? Beck (of course) lashed out at the movie: "If you're looking for a biblical movie, this definitely is not it," the right-wing commentator declared, having screened the film with Paramount executives. "I don't think it's an environmental thing as much as it's just so pro-animal and anti-human, and I mean strongly anti-human."

In one of Noah's less favorable reviews, Beck opined that there is "no redeeming value" to it.

Here is the rest of the segment, in which Beck does his best Russell Crowe:

3. Christians on Fox News are upset that the word "god" isn't uttered in the film. "That's like writing an American history book without mentioning George Washington," says Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt. However, the word "creator" (which means, you know, god) is used many times in the picture, thus invalidating the Fox segment's point, and yet they carry on:

4. A religious group tried to smear Noah with a dubious survey. Faith Driven Consumer (a Christian group that also started a petition to support Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson following his homosexuality and Jim Crow-related comments), posted a survey that found 98 percent of more than 5,000 religious respondents were unhappy with Noah and other biblical Hollywood films. The message was that Christians wouldn't buy tickets to see this movie because of secular Hollywood. The survey was picked up by Variety and got a lot of play, which prompted Paramount to release their internal research and dispute the soundness of the polling.

So, Faith Driven Consumer didn't enjoy the film—but at least the Pope doesn't seem to have a problem with it or its star

Emma Watson
Paramount

Well, if Noah could survive Hurricane Sandy, then perhaps it will survive these spurts of bad publicity. If you care to see it this weekend, click here for tickets and local showtimes.

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