Some of Hollywood’s biggest names are currently contracted to direct or star in blockbuster motion pictures about major Biblical characters and events such as Moses and the judgment of Egypt, and Noah and the judgment of the entire world.
But do those involved in the films really believe these Bible stories are true and foreshadow coming prophetic events, or are they just looking to make larger-than-life action/adventure films and (potentially) a ton of money?
Steven Spielberg is working on a film about Moses and the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. The film, tentatively titled “Gods and Kings,” is expected to go into production in 2013. Given Spielberg’s Jewish roots and the powerful, authentic films he’s made about Jewish plots or subplots (“Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”), it will be interesting to see whether he endeavors to make a Biblically accurate film. If so, it could be tremendous.
Ridley Scott is also slated to direct a major film about the life of Moses. Scott is known for directing major blockbusters, like “Gladiator,” “Blade Runner” and his recently released “Prometheus.” He recently told a magazine, “What’s interesting to me about Moses isn’t the big stuff that everybody knows. “It’s things like his relationship with [the pharaoh]. I honestly wasn’t paying attention in school when I was told the story of Moses. Some of the details of his life are extraordinary.” The problem is that Scott isn’t a man of faith, is quite profane, and believes that “the biggest source of evil is of course religion,” [caution: this interview with Esquire is filled with profanity] so I wouldn’t hold your breath that he’s going to be true to the power of the Biblical text.
Russell Crowe is now set to star as Noah in a major Hollywood film about the building of the ark and the judgment of the global flood. The project is set to begin filming in July. “I’d like to thank Paramount and Regency for backing my team’s work to breathe new life into the biblical epic,” said director Darren Aronofsky in a statement. “I rejoice that Russell Crowe will be by my side on this adventure. It’s his immense talent that helps me to sleep at night. I look forward to being wowed by him every day.” The problem is that Aronofsky doesn’t seem to believe the Biblical story and sees Noah as the world’s first environmentalist. “I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet,” Aronofsky said in 2008. “So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character…..I don’t think it’s a very religious story… I think it’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film.”
That said, the “days of Noah” seem to have a growing appeal to Hollywood. The Crowe-Aronofsky project follows along the success of the 2007 box office hit “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carrell as a modern-day Noah, a film that grossed over $100 million. “Evan Almighty” certainly wasn’t Biblically accurate by any stretch (nor did it mean to be), but in a strange sort of way it did put the story of Noah and the Ark back into public consciousness here in the U.S. and around the in a way it hadn’t been in, well, a long time.
Bottom line: with the possible exception of the Spielberg film, I’m not expecting to be impressed by Hollywood’s attempt to re-tell the Bible. That said, perhaps the combination of the films will encourage people around the world to actually pick up the Bible and read it for themselves, adn encourage pastors around the world to boldly preach and teach these Biblical stories that are very relevant for our time. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ said this about His return in the last days: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:36-44)