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The Battling Noahs or, The Titanic Film Comeback of Noah & His Ark
by Bill Berkowitz
Friday Mar 14th, 2014 10:33 AM
Hold on to your life rafts kids; in the coming weeks, two new films based on the story of Noah will be released.
The Battling Noahs or, The Titanic Film Comeback of Noah & His Ark

Who would have imagined that in 2014, Noah, yes the Noah of the Biblical story of Noah and his Ark, would be garnering so many headlines. A plan to build a Noah’s Ark theme park in the hills of Kentucky is once again under serious consideration. Conservative Christian lawmakers in Texas have apparently fallen for a Ponzi-like scheme launched by a fellow who claimed to have discovered remnants of Noah’s Ark near Mount Ararat in Turkey. And, hold on to your life rafts kids; in the coming weeks, two new films based on the story of Noah will be released.

The Ark Encounter project

According to myfoxny.com, “Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73 million. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.”

Ham, who recently held a high-profile debate with “Science Guy” Bill Nye, runs a ministry called Answers in Genesis. He also runs the Creation Museum, a highly successful tourist destination. A bond offering in the neighborhood of $60 million is funding the ark, which will be located about 40 miles south of Cincinnati.

Falling for Christian Ponzi schemers

In Texas, Raw Story reported, the Ponzi-like scheme “involves conservative Christian lawmakers and a man who promised outsized profits on energy trading software, milking lawmakers with his alleged Christian bona fides.”

Rep. Bill Zedler told the Dallas Morning News that he “ran into him at a conservative event. What he had said was he was in the Mount Ararat region and they had come up with some stuff. He may have given me a DVD.”

The battling Noahs

Meanwhile, even before the two Noah films are released, battle lines have been drawn.

The $125 million Paramount-produced special-effects laden Noah – “inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope” -- stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins, is directed by Darren Aronofsky, and is scheduled for theater release on March 28. The other, a much smaller budget film, is titled Noah -- And The Last Days, and is produced by Ray Comfort, who also directed the film, and Emeal Zwayne.

Although there’s plenty of money in Paramount’s promotion budget, the major battle for the studio is to convince evangelical Christians to embrace their film. While I doubt that the producers of Noah expect to gross anywhere near the $600+-million brought in at the box office by Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, it is likely sees the $23 million that Son of God recently brought in as a good sign.

Meanwhile, Comfort and company has crafted a different promotional strategy, one that is in part based on slamming Hollywood’s Noah for being totally unfaithful to scripture.


Russell Crowe’s Noah seeks out Pope Francis’ support

The official trailer begins with a longhaired Russell Crowe awakening from a revelatory nightmare: “He’s going to destroy the world,” Crowe says. Cue world-destroying music, Then, an aged -- and I mean really aged -- Anthony Hopkins tells Crowe, “My father said that one day, if man continued in his way, the creator would annihilate this world.” “I saw water, death by water,” says Crowe. More earth-shaking music. It’s time for Crowe to build an ark. There are those out to destroy Crowe before he can finish the vessel. Crowe defeats his assailants. It’s all in Crowe’s hands now: “It’s the beginning of everything.”

In his zeal to promote the film, Crowe tweeted Pope Francis several times, suggesting the Pope check out the movie. Crowe’s first tweet to Pope Francis: "Dear Holy Father, Noah film. Screening? The message of the film is powerful , fascinating , resonant."

He then tweeted his own 1.3 million followers writing, "given his environmental focus/scholarly knowledge, trying to screen #Noah for Pope Francis." Crowe asked his followers to re-tweet his previous message.

Noah – And The Last Days

"I'm really upset that Hollywood would make a movie that they say is biblical and yet paint Noah as a psychopath, when the Bible said that he was a righteous man," Comfort told OneNewsNow, a news service of the American Family Association. "So for them to say that it's biblical, it is just not true, and they are trying to get the Christian and Jewish audience to come to it."

On the website of Noah – And the Last Days, the synopsis is straight-up scary:

“In the time of Noah, people were going about their daily lives, not mindful of the impending destruction. Like them, are we ignoring warnings of God’s coming judgment?

“The Bible gives us clear signs of the last days. Did you know the Scriptures say we will see:

• Flippant use of God’s name
• Money-hungry preachers and rampant hypocrisy in the church
• Wars and rumors of wars
• An acceptance of homosexuality
• Denial of a global flood

“But surely no educated person could believe that Noah and his ark ever really existed. Wouldn’t it be impossible to fit millions of species of animals into one boat? And what evidence is there (if any) for a worldwide catastrophic flood? However...what if it did all happen exactly as the Bible says? What would that mean? Who was Noah, and why is the amazing account of his life so relevant to you in the 21st century? Don’t be caught unaware. Time may be very short. Will you be ready?”

Comfort is counting on demonizing Hollywood and discouraging evangelicals from seeing Noah. He has lots of company. However, there are also evangelical voices that are dissenting.

Phil Cooke, a filmmaker, media critic and adviser to some of the largest churches, ministries and nonprofit organizations in the world, and founder of the Influence Lab, is one of those. Cooke, unlike many of the film’s critics, has seen the film and is firmly advocating Christians see the movie.

Despite the buzz Crowe has generated with his tweets imploring Pope Francis to see the film, it is unlikely the Pope, who according to a Vatican spokesperson doesn’t see many movies, will check out Crowe’s Noah. At this point, it is unlikely that Comfort’s film will get a major airing. The curious, however, can order it at Comfort’s website.


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Says whom?meFriday Mar 14th, 2014 5:14 PM