For my project, I decided to look into the reasons why certain Muslim countries like Egypt and now China have decided to ban the movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Before I go into that information, I’m going to give my own review of the movie since I saw the movie over Easter Break. I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting when I went to go see Noah with my mom, but I know I wasn’t expecting how…Hollywood the movie seemed to me.
There were some special effects in the movie that kind of disoriented me because I felt like it took away something from it. I’m not a religious person, but I do know the story of Noah’s Ark, and while I thought that Mr. Crowe did a wonderful job acting as the title character, I felt that there was something missing from his portrayal. Now that I’ve given my own personal opinion on Noah, I ask this question: how much does religion play into the Muslim countries’ decision to ban the movie?
Noah tells the story of Noah, a man who at a young age lost his father to the descendants of Cain. When he was older, Noah and his family, who by the orders of God, needed to build an ark to shelter all the animals on the Earth and themselves as God was going to flood it. God, or otherwise known as “The Creator”, believed that the people who now inhabit the Earth are not fit to walk on the land that they had destroyed. God chose Noah to create the ark because he knew that Noah would be able to complete his task.
There are many different Muslim countries that have banned the movie from playing. For example, according to Al Arabiya News, Egypt’s Al-Azhar had banned the movie from premiering because “the film contained ‘personal characterization’ of Noah, which is ‘prohibited’ in Islamic Shariah… and constitutes a clear violation of the principles of Islamic law stipulated by the Constitution”. There are a few Arab states that are banning Noah from premiering as well.
The most surprising country that has decided to ban the movie is not a Muslim state; it is China! China had decided not to give Noah a chance in theatres, and some have speculated different reasons. According to LA Times, the Chinese government has a few ‘sensitivities’ concerning religion issues. However, a spokesperson from Paramount Pictures thought that the reason for China not giving the movie a chance was because of commercial concerns.
Reading about all these different Muslim countries (besides China) who have decided not to let Noah premiere to the public for the sake of their religion makes me think that they are quite dedicated to keeping their religion as how their religious text portrays the event. I can’t say much about China’s beliefs, but I have to say, I quite admire the way these countries state their unwavering decision to keep their religion as how it is portrayed. I don’t know if I would have done it if I were in their place.