In another overly British production loosely based on Biblical events, Noah and his family are depicted as an angry, dysfunctional unit fighting to survive on their agricultural incomes in a world full of atheists and hedonists. They’re also the only white people around. Noah, the unquestioned but mostly aloof patriarch, is told by an angel that a flood is going to sweep across the planet and destroy everything. Therefore, he needs to build a boat for him and his family—and a whole bunch of other random people—to be saved. Also, there’s apparently no call for any animals to board the ark at all. Despite opposition from his family and the people ‘in town’, Noah and his wife build the massive lifeboat almost singlehandedly before scrambling around and getting on the ark just as the flood waters rise. Good thing they were able to fit about thirty people and no animals on that giant vessel before the hurricanes overtook the planet.
Production Quality (.5 point)
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we didn’t particularly like this film. But we will begin with this film’s one positive quality—most of the characters seem authentic most of the time, such as actually getting dirty and muffed up. But otherwise, there is nothing good to say. There are too many modern nuances and costumes. The camera work is just okay—there are too many outside shots ruined by poor angles that catch too much sunlight. A majority of the time, dialogue is indiscernible due to unusually loud and annoying background music. The editing is terrible, with tons of wasted time and useless scenes, which we will see more of next. In short, The Ark isn’t even partially redeemed by professional production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (-2.5 points)
There’s plenty of real content in the Scriptural narrative on Noah that can be expounded on, yet this creative team chose to ad lib and transpose modern family struggles on top of the story. Noah’s relationship with God is replaced with odd conversations with an angel. If Noah’s family isn’t shown eating that mysterious pizza from The Bible miniseries, then they’re having childish skirmishes and fistfights with each other. Noah’s fictional fourth son has a very large role, including his nightly illicit activities. As a character, Noah is inaccessible and lofty, a typical Bible character error. Abstract philosophical discussions that fit in more in modern Great Britain replace meaningful dialogue. If someone wants to complain about ethnocentrism in modern Western film, look no further than Bible films. In short, The Ark barely attempts to stay true to the historical truth. While some Bible movies commit small inaccuracy errors, this one uses the characters and invents a primitive soap opera transposed on top of a natural disaster plotline.
Acting Quality (-1 points)
Did we mention these actors are British? They’re British. Not only that, but it seems to suggest that the white characters, primarily only Noah’s family, are the ‘good’ characters, while the multicultural characters are the ‘bad’ ones. The truth is, we can’t really be sure what ethnicity any of these people actually were—likely nothing like what we have today—but the least that could have been done was at least attempt to use primarily Middle Eastern actors and actresses. As it is, the cast that has been assembled here is overly dramatic. Women are portrayed as mostly silent kitchen helpers. In short, there is no end to this movie’s problems.
Unfortunately, it cannot be effectively said that Christian-led Bible films are better than mainstream Bible films. The truth is that truly watchable Scripture-based films are very few and far between. People need to know that the Bible isn’t just a bunch of silly mostly-untrue narratives. Movies like The Ark only contribute to this cultural storyline, and perhaps purposely so. But Christian film makers have nothing to say about this unless they are going to make meaningful, accurate, and professional Bible-based movies that can overshadow movies like this one with better overall quality. The world is waiting.
Final Rating: -3 out of 10 points
How would you differentiate this movie from Risen which also uses British actors for most of the roles? Why were you not as harsh on those producers?
I did chastise the Risen casting for being too British. However, Ark takes it a step further with overt ethnocentrism and white-washing.
The BBC is especially bad about whitewashing historical and Biblical narratives. In this film they take that propensity to an absurd degree by having the characters reference modern cultural tropes and even units of measurement like miles. It is offensive and totally ridiculous that they could not at least try to be accurate in these areas. The book of Genesis even tells us that cubits were a unit of measurement used at the time, how hard would it have been to do a little research and use that instead?
This is just one example of how little effort was put into this movie by the writers. It is really sad how bad many Bible movies are. There is no reason to recommend these kind of movies to anyone as they only make the Bible into a laughingstock.
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According to some of the articles that I read, this movie was not intended to have the Christian genre. It appears that Noah’s Ark was released as an inspirational drama and later labeled as Christian. Even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark.