Noah & GodWe went to see Evan Almighty last night – and I had an emotional reaction to the film way out of proportion to the films purported content.

I’ve been trying to figure out why, and I think its because of the inherent power of the story of Noah. The film is true to the biblical account in all the important aspects. The film’s power has absolutely nothing to do with the CGI disaster at the end. It has to do with the inherent charm of Morgan Freeman portraying a loving laughing God. Key line: “Remember, everything I do, I do because I love you.” It also has to do with the dynamic of the relunctant prophet, chosen by God and finding he can’t do anything in the end except obey and eventually becomes flint-like in his determination. There’s as much of Jonah in this story as there is of Noah.

Finally, there’s the sub-plot of Noah’s family taking on the building of the ark as a family project. Again, Morgan Freeman delivers the homily that is anything but trite: “If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or opportunities to be patient? If they pray for courage, does he give them courage, or opportunities to be courageous? and if someone prays for their family to grow closer together…” Watch for it. This little gem is worth the price of admission.

Also keep your eyes open for the line from Evan that makes God laugh.

Noah’s ArkBut back to my disproportionate emotional response. Perhaps its because I’ve spent a lot of time with the Rien Poortvliet book, “Noah’s Ark.” The images of Noah building the ark, of the animals gathering and waiting patiently, of Noah and his family caring for them in the ark, and especially of Noah exercising his adamic dominion over the natural world are VERY powerful.

This isn’t just a nursery tale. This really happened. And the character of God really is very well portrayed by the writers and Morgan Freeman’s presence.

I did not find the environmental preaching at the end that so many reviewers have referred to. The bad guys are guilty of corruption, cutting corners, and scheming to do commercial development on national park land. You don’t have to be a follower of Al Gore to know that all of that is just plain wrong.

I think those who did this film know something about the power of the story elements that they are dealing with here. They never divert for a cheap laugh. I think the critics are almost all wrong. This may not be one of the great films of all times – but its a very worthwhile way to spend a couple of hours. And ought to provoke some very thoughtful conversations afterwards. Take your friends… and talk about the film afterwards.

Take your kids. The film is rated PG.

-Rob Shearer
  Director, Schaeffer Study Center