FLOOD stories seem to have occurred in many cultures long before
being pressed into service by the book of Genesis. That remains a
tale that we keep on telling; and Two by Two (Cert. U) is
but the latest example.
Most films, including this European cartoon version, seize on
the biblical account featuring Noah and his ark, as did the Russell
Crowe vehicle (Arts, 4 April 2014); but, whereas that was primarily
an action-adventure story, Two by Two, like many previous
ark movies, plays it for laughs. This is not necessarily a bad
thing. There is a world of difference between being solemn and
being serious. Many a true word is spoken in jest.
A lion announces to the animal kingdom that earth is about to be
flooded, but "a very nice human called Noah" is building an ark,
and they had better hurry up and fill it - which they dutifully
Whereupon we encounter the animation's first theological point.
Apparently, God's salvation is far from universalist. Not all
creatures great or small are welcome aboard. The ungainly nestrians
are a case in point. So, Finny and his father, Dave, become
stowaways. The inevitable corollary is that, without a mate,
nestrians are doomed to extinction unless they learn (Lesson No. 2)
to love a fellow creature enough to procreate.
No sooner are they afloat than Finny and Leah, a grymp with whom
he has teamed up, accidentally fall overboard. They struggle to
reach a patch of dry land as the waters keep rising. It transpires
they are not the only animals excluded from the ark. Hungry
griffins pursue them, and while Leah is agile, Finny is not.
The weak display strength of a different kind; and there is
nothing quite like the end of the world for concentrating the mind
wonderfully. The spiritual message is that we may have to lose
ourselves before we learn to place our trust in powers previously
unknown to us. It is as near as the film gets to asserting that all
our hope on God is founded.
The adults also undergo a journey of sorts, discovering kindlier
ways of settling disputes than simply eating one another. Noah, in
being totally absent from view, becomes a God-like entity. I
suspect that his deputies interpret his wishes more harshly than he
This enclosed little world for ever teeters on the verge of
chaos. Yet somehow it survives. Although elements of the Genesis
story, such as divine judgement, human sinfulness, and covenantal
providence, are missing, Two by Two remains a thoroughly
moral tale, full of dire warnings. It is amusingly told with a
voice cast we are unlikely to recognise, with the exception of
Chris Evans as Stayput.
On current release.