The new film Noah is nothing if not controversial. Some people say it is "terrific." The Telegraph calls it "astonishing and miraculous." Others are less kind. The Independent called it "underwhelming and frequently silly." The Observer's film critic called it a "preposterous but endearingly unhinged epic."
The director, Darren Aronofsky, is often described as an atheist. (Humanist would perhaps be a better description. "I think I definitely believe," he says. "My biggest expression of what I believe is in The Fountain. And that kind of sums it up. It's hard for me to put it into words to describe. I made a movie about it. . . I still subscribe to the ideas in that movie.")
A lot of the story in the film is not in the Bible. Jewish-born Aronofsky and his co-writer use apocryphal writings and Jewish mysticism as well as the Bible for their sources."There is a big part of the population in America who don't want anything to contradict their view of the Bible and are never going to be open to this type of interpretation," he says.
Answers in Genesis, the creationist organisation, says: "The way in which Aronofsky's Noah blasphemes God, maligns the character of a righteous man, adds pagan and mystical elements, and twists the biblical narrative has prompted AiG to alert the church and culture about this unbiblical movie."
AiG president Ken Ham said the film was "boring," and "may be the worst film I've ever seen."
Meanwhile, the blockbuster continues to rake in its millions at the box office. The proprietors of YouVersion Bible app report that during the three-day opening weekend of the film, the story of Noah from Genesis was read or listened to 389,794 times. That doesn't account for people using other gadgets or reading the Bible story in print.
A word of advice. If you decide to see the film, find out before you do what the Bible says and what it doesn't.