After all the floods of the last few weeks what more apt film to hit our cinemas than Evan Almighty - the tale of a modern day Noah? Talk about culturally relevant contexualisation of an Old Testament theme!
The Hollywood film is the sequel to Hal Almighty that you might remember starred Jim Carrey. After that success, Hollywood got the taste for another biblical blockbuster with a high feelgood factor.
Our hero, newly elected senator Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell), is visited by God (Morgan Freeman) and is told to build an ark of biblical proportions to save people from the impending flood.
The movie cost $175m and is thought to be the most expensive comedy ever to be made. It has also been seen as a gift to the Church. Well, this is what the producers hope.
I have discovered that Universal Pictures have hired a PR firm to target church ministers, Christian publications and websites and promote different ways to use the film.
Apparently, there have already been a dozen “priest screenings” around the country. One Christian magazine Christianity changed its cover at the last minute after seeing a preview of the film and followed it up with 3,000 words inside. It explored its theology, as well as looking at sermon and discussion for group themes such as salvation and judgment.
There is no doubt that Hollywood and the Bible have enjoyed remarkable success over the years. I guess lately most notably being Mel Gibson’s neo-catholic interpretation The Passion.
Although UK critics have given the film mixed responses, it is still probably a good film to take your kids and their friends along to this summer. Whether I was a Christian or not I think I’d enjoy it.
In the trailer there is a bit where god appears in the back of Evan Baxter’s car where he nearly jumps out of his skin. God responds to Evan’s screaming and says, “Let it out, son, it’s the beginning of wisdom.” A nice little reference to Proverbs 9.10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Who says the Old Testament can’t be fun?
As religious films go, it is hardly going to have the same gravitas as The Passion or Jesus. I doubt either whether it will win any gongs, but it does look quite entertaining. Besides that, there are worst things to do than go to your local cinema on a wet Saturday afternoon this August when the kids are bored having run umpteen snail races.