Movie Review: NOAH

THIS IS NOT. I REPEAT. THIS IS NOT A BIBLE LESSON!

I am not reviewing this film based on Biblical accuracy. To be honest in this case, it’s almost irrelevant because what Hollywood movie is a direct representation of its source material? I am analyzing Noah strictly from a perspective of whether or not it was successful as a film.

That being said, if I wanted to be one of those people on Facebook or Twitter outraged by the “liberties” taken by its writers, I only had issue with a couple of things, but first let me clarify how I view the word “ISSUES” in this case. I simply mean that after the movie was over I said aloud that I wish they would have done that differently.

1) All the sons had wives by the time they were on the boat.
2) “The King, Tubal-Cain” that opposed Noah was not a stow-away on the ark. (Gen. 7:13)

BUT THAT’S IT.

(gimme a second to step down from my soap-box…)

     As a film, I wasn’t really that impressed with Noah. But first, let me speak about the good things.

    When you go to see a film made by Darren Aronofsky, you should know exactly what you’re stepping into; a beautiful visual experience with vivid colors, large set pieces, gorgeous scenery and wonderfully made costumes. If you were to see it only for those specific reasons, you would not leave disappointed. The size and scale of the ark is massive and breathtaking. I actually wished it was in the film even more because so much time was dedicated in the minor details of its construction and it being as accurate as possible, you rarely found it onscreen long enough to appreciate it.

     I can easily say that one of the few things that I enjoyed was the way they visually told the  Creation story. I cannot begin to describe how they did it, but it incorporated live-action, stop-motion and probably some scenes stolen from the TV miniseries “COSMOS” which left me asking, “How did they shoot that? And who is the cinematographer?” It was truly an amazing interpretation told through the oral tradition of Noah being told the story and passing it onto his sons to do the same.

     I have to be completely honest as well, I did not like the “rock monsters” at first. I just didn’t get it. It was such a strange addition to the film I thought that Michael Bay did a guest director spot just for those scenes. However, after it was over, I slowly came to admire Aronofsky’s interpretation of the Nephilim and their existence within that world. I understand that they had to at least try to interpret that Biblical material and THIS is what they came up with. Still, it was strange (also something to expect when seeing an Aronofsky film). 

     My main issue that caused me not to truly enjoy Noah was it’s juvenile writing. It was just poorly done. Again, you would not expect that to occur based on its budget, the actors tied to the film and the Aronofsky steering the ship (see what I did there). It was awful. Jennifer Connolly was reciting lines like she was back in front of David Bowie in Labyrinth, which is not a good thing for those that have not seen that movie. Even Emma Watson appeared to be “over-acting” and while yes, she can tend to do so for most of her roles, I truly believe it was just her best attempt to wring out everything she could from the dialogue.

     The rest of the cast are just plug-in characters with little or nothing to actually care about. The exception to this comes with two people; Logan Lerman (Ham) and Ray Winstone (Tubal-Cain) and truthfully, I really didn’t even like Ham’s portrayal, but that had nothing to do with Lerman’s acting just a poor framing job around his character and the overuse and complication of inputting conflict between he and his father for absolutely NO REASON. In regards to Winstone, I just flat out love him as an actor. From everything from King Arthur to The Departed he’s just a brilliant character actor and he is able to actually make me sit up and pay attention when he is onscreen. His character, in the wrong hands, could have just been a paint-by-numbers villain that any old actor could accomplish, however, he makes it a truly vile and gruesome role.

     Russell Crowe did a fantastic job as Noah. He was not only invested in the character, but in his portrayal of Noah, you understood the weight that he felt that, “The Creator” had tasked him with growing heavier and heavier on him as the movie progressed by physically showing it. It was in the little subtleties of his performance that had me nodding in approval. However, that all derailed the moment he got it in his head that all human life would end with he and his family. Without ruining it, from there it just became a “The Shining 2: Lost at Sea” which I just couldn’t wrap my mind around. That was the moment if officially entered, “meh” territory.

     Maybe I should’ve just came out and said this from the beginning, but the Noah was just boring. It was simply a boring movie from start to finish. I wanted to like it. I truly did, but I was only able to take pieces away from an almost two and a half hour movie that I could say I enjoyed. Most of the time is spent on backstory and the build up of why the ark was made in the first place and very little is actually spent on the ark. By the time they actually make it that far, I was ready for it to end but still knew there was another 40 minutes left!

     What more can I say? By now, you’ve either let someone else’s diatribe on Facebook influence your opinion on whether or not to see this movie or you have already seen this movie. I’m actually looking forward to speaking with others that have seen Noah and enjoyed it because I’m secretly hoping they can persuade me to like it too. But for now, I just can’t get over the horrible writing for this film and until someone else shows me otherwise, Noah will remain just a boring film and a “miss” for Aronofsky.

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