Evan Almighty may be a retelling of a Biblical tale, but one of the messages in the film apparently is a twenty-first century problem: global warming. Although you wouldn't know it from the trailers, the sequel to Bruce Almighty is most definitely connected to efforts to arrest climate change.
So let me get this straight: left-leaning Hollywood is using a traditionally right-leaning religious tale to promote a left-leaning environmental message opposed by many right-leaning politicians. That is funny.
Indeed, Evan Almighty is promoting itself as a "zero emission" production. Cast and crew members were encouraged to bicycle to work. They donated lumber, glass and landscaping from the sets to Habitat for Humanity after production. They even held a "green carpet" premiere to promote an environmental message.
Most notably, the film is the primary vehicle for the Get on Board Campaign, a collaboration between NBC Universal and The Conservation Fund. The website has environmental information and tips, and asks for people to "plant a tree" by donating five dollars. Everyone who donates will get their name added to the Evan Almighty DVD when it's eventually released.
Now I'm not against efforts to stop global warming, as I DO believe there's evidence of global warming, but Noah's Ark seems like a strange story to use. I'm not a religious scholar by any means, but I do know a few things about the story of Noah.
I know it's a story about evil. God decides to destroy life on earth because of the "wickedness of man." Noah is spared because he is a "just man" and he "walked with God." It's also a story about obedience. Noah and his family are saved after they do everything the Lord commands. And finally, it's a story about a promise, a promise made by God that he will never destroy the earth by flood again.
I'm a little surprised that the Christian community isn't a little more upset in anticipation of this film. Bruce Almighty was an obvious mockery of the Scriptures, and Evan Almighty is a blatant ridicule of a primary Biblical parable. While the film may try to offset the disparagement with lessons of humility and love, the contempt for some core Christian beliefs is still there.
Maybe there is tolerance of such satire because of an intentional religious outreach associated with the film. The movie recently teamed up with the Gospel Music Channel to sponsor a "Rock the Boat" concert featuring Switchfoot, Relient K, Jeremy Camp and other Christian music groups. The concert benefited Habitat for Humanity, a Christian ministry that builds houses for the needy.
Or maybe I'm just being too critical. I actually think Evan Almighty looks pretty funny. Even if there is nothing funny about wiping mankind from the face of the earth. Or global warming.
Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.