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Sunday, March 30, 2014

DIVERGENT NOAH

While the above title refers to two films, Noah's personality seemed Divergent.  I saw what will most probably be the two most popular flicks this weekend.  Noah will be #1.

Incidentally, two months ago I posted on "What was the Shape of Noah's Ark?"  Read the details, but the movie and previous artistic speculations were probably wrong.  The shape probably was round, with a diameter of six London busses.

We all know the story of Noah:  God tells him to build an ark to save land creatures, two by two.  Almost any biblical film is controversial when not entirely representative of The Bible.  The storyline is close to what is written, with departures.

One of my problems with The Bible is that time is relative.  Noah (Russell Crowe) lived to the age of 950, while his grandfather  Methusela (Anthony Hopkins) died at 969.  The Flood came around 2500 BC, or 4,400 years ago, and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, something Honolulu went through in the spring of 2005.  Mount Waialeale saw 7.5 feet of rain during this period.  However, I might note that Egyptian civilization has been continuously recorded for at least 5000 years, with no mention of a flood.  Also, marine life would have ceased to exist in this now almost freshwater, and there is a continuous fossil line going back hundreds of million years.  There are pine trees at least 5,000 years old.

Another unnatural aspect had to do with the Watchers:  rock monsters, which protected Noah.  There were other absurdities, as, for example, there were no trees in the neighborhood of Noah, so Methusela gave him a seed from Eden, which overnight became a forest.  The tree, from the Bible, provided gopher wood, something not quite defined.  This was probably a kind of Acacia (to the left is an Acacia growing in Turkey), and there are a thousand varieties.  The Koa tree in Hawaii is an Acacia.  A couple of decades ago a very rich man from Japan came to see me about using this tree to build a replica of Noah's Ark on the Big Island.  Never happened.

The Ark is surmised to have been built in the vicinity of Turkey, coming to rest on the mountains of Ararat.  Grown men and women take this seriously.   The ship was 438 feet long:


God showed Noah how to build this ark, so maybe a technology was provided to build a wooden boat that large.  However, till today, nothing built of this material has ever been close to this size because any wood flexes and leaks.  Zheng He (right) of China supposedly had a ship 538 feet long, but the latest information indicates this was an exaggeration.

Forget for this discussion that if all the moisture in the atmosphere turned to water, the sea level would only rise about an inch.  But if this somehow happened, and the flood rose as high as Mount Everest, the ice caps are insufficient to account for where this fluid went, for if they all melted, the sea would still be less than one percent of that height.  99+% could not have evaporated into space in 4,400 years.  The porosity of Planet Earth is woefully insufficient to have sucked up this missing liquid.


Anyway, back to the movie, except for the fact that I fell asleep for some length of time, I found the film reasonably entertaining.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave Noah a 76% rating, but only 49% of audiences liked it.

The book Divergent is #1 on the New York Times best selling list, BUT AS A CHILDREN' SERIES, although I think they meant young adults.  Veronica Roth (age 25) wrote two other books, Insurgent and Allegiant, so, of course, there will be two more films, and they promise the third will not be split to maximize revenues.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers only gave it a 40% rating, although 79% of audiences liked it, just the opposite of Noah.

Divergent occurs in a future dystopian Chicago (actually filmed in downtown Chicago), where, to maintain peace, there are five factions, where at the age of 16, citizens select and begin their initiation to join their chosen faction:  
  • Abnegation:  
    • selfless
    • the majority
    • takes care of the poor 
    • runs the government
    • wears gray and loose fitting clothes
  • Erudite:  
    • the intelligent
    • all wear at least one blue article
    • big on speeches
  • Dauntless
    • the brave
    • they serve as the guards
    • dark makeup and tattoos
    • their mind is controlled by the Erudite
    • wears black
  • Amity
    • the peaceful
    • kind, loving and free
    • artists
    • dresses in  red and yellow
  • Candor
    • the honest
    • leaders
    • truth is black and white, which is what they wear
There are two more classes:
  • Factionless
    • failed to complete the initiation into the above
    • lives in poverty and homelessness
    • janitors, construction workers, etc.
    • wears send me downs from the above
  • DIVERGENT
    • shows more than one trait
    • can't be controlled
    • Tris (Shailene Woodley) has three traits
    • her mother Natalie (Ashley Judd)
    • Four (Theo James) appears to be one, but in the third book is found out probably not to be so
    • his father Marcus (Ray Stevenson)
    • as they could rise up and control this Utopia, the leaders of Erudite (led by Jeanine, played by Kate Winslet, in her very first villainous role) and Dauntless have decided to terminate them
That pretty much sums up the movie, with the focus on the initiation of new Dauntless members, making this film somewhat similar to Hunger Games.  Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence represent the next generation of female movie stars.

I very much enjoyed this film and will go to see Insurgent (yes, there already is a pre-trailer).  They're all back for #2.  No, not Jennifer Lawrence (right), who, of course, will be in Part 1 of Hunger Games 3 later this year.

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There is a major cyclone, Hellen, at 150 MPH, just about to crash into the northwest coast of Madagascar:


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