Noah (2014) (PG-13)
This review contains SPOILERS!
Before you go into "Noah" you should realize one thing: you are about to witness a horror film. Darren Aronofsky has often delved into the psyche of humanity and pulled out an idea; but here he goes deeper and comes out, arms outstretched towards the audience....empty.
Besides the story of Christ, Noah and the ark is one of the most universally known moments from the Bible. As such, even if you've told your audience and your producers that your aren't adhering to the religious book, you can't just thrown random things in and expect people to be okay with this.
Case in point: rock monsters.
I really, really wish I was joking.
Yes, there are rock monsters. Living, walking, talking, breathing, helping, moaning rock monsters!
Anyways...more on that later.
From moment one, which gives us a quick overview of how we get to Noah...there were two people, Adam and Eve, who were in the garden of Eden. They had three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth...Cain kills Abel so the only other brother that remains is Seth. Seth's and Cain's descendants become enemies. Cain's offspring only want to be selfish and further their own desires while the children of Seth are the more godly.
In the first five minutes of the film, Noah's father is about to pass on his birthright when he is interrupted by The Men. These descendants of Cain slay Noah's father and Noah is left in the wilderness alone.
Flash forward twenty or so years and Noah has a wife and three sons. He is out scrounging for the mold off of rocks, chiding his sons for plucking the flowers, when he has a premonition of something evil. Later on in the day he dreams that water will flood the earth. He decides that he will seek the advice of his grandfather, Methuselah, to better understand what "the Creator" meant by this dream.
He packs up his family and they start trekking toward grandpa, who lives in the dark, black, dusty land of Mordor...oops, I mean, um...Earth?
Once they reach the wise old man, who it turns out has magical abilities like an InstaSleep Thumb and and InstaBarrenWombHealer Hand, they find him to be a quirky and likable sage-like character. He gives Noah some tea laced with drugs which makes him sleep some more, which in turn tells him that he needs to build an ark to save all the animals...the pure souls.
Lost so far? Don't worry, it gets better...I lie.
"Noah", which is heavy with themes like justice versus mercy and faith without justification (I knew that one was coming), forces the idea of vegetarianism down the viewer's throat like a nice piece of kale. Animals are the true essence of God's creation, they are above everything else. The flood is meant to wipe out all of humanity (Noah and co. included) so that the age of the beasts can continue...what?
Yeah, whatever...it gets better...I lie.
While accompanied by a rock monster (who, it turns out, is a fallen angel), Noah and his family start to build an ark. But how do you do this in the land of Mordor? Crap, there I go again....
The answer is simple, you take a seed from the Garden of Eden and you plant it and wait three hours, have another dream, make corny dialogue and voila it's an InstaGardenOfTreesThatWillHelpYouBuildAnArk...patent pending.
Aided by a group of remaining rock monsters, the ark is built fairly quickly, but not before The Men return again.
Noah will now have to finish the ark, defend his family, and remain loyal to a God who keeps Himself veiled behind the clouds.
First of all, after the problem with the CGI, which looks crude and unprofessional, "Noah" is a story that hinges on the movements and whims of its characters, chiefly its title character. Mood swings, hallucinations, gory imagery, and insanity help guide us with the character development. Yet there is something incredibly gaudy about the way that Aronofsky parades his characters around.
To avoid the incest that would pop up with a family of five, destined to repopulate the Earth, Noah comes across as small girl who is wounded when she is very young. He raises her as his own and she falls in love with his oldest son, Shem. Too bad a little scratch she had as a small child will make her barren...bummer.
"Noah" is shocking and horrifying, and not in the good ways. It has such offensive romanticism which is often destroys just for the sake of annoying the viewer...it's not a fun movie to see. This, plus the fact that I don't understand how this movie eked out a "PG-13" rating. Though it isn't gory per se, "Noah" is very disturbing and often crosses a line of self-indulgence.
For the first half of the movie, it's Peter Jackson. For the second half, it's just crazy town.
Aronofsky treats the story of Noah like a fanciful fairy tale which he can bend to his whims. There is no reverence here, not that there should be, but his strive for creative liberty has led him down a path to the garden of sheer goofiness.
Two-thirds of the way through the movie, Aronofsky pulls off the gloves—anything goes. What does ensue is an orgy of stupid ideas, piled on top of one another like the mound of dino crap in "Jurassic Park". There is not a real animal to be found in "Noah", they are all computer generated, and all look fake.
In its bad third act, it descends into madness, this is where we see Aronofsky's true colors.
Still, the psycho-ness wasn't what sunk "Noah", what damaged the movie beyond repair was the clumsy script and the poorly defined characters.
I don't think even Aronofsky knew what he wanted to make with this movie.
The acting is good but so misguided in the film. Russell Crowe has a range of emotions and motives that no actor should have to be put through. The only decent actors in the film, not damaged by the story, are Jennifer Connelly and Logan Lerman. Lerman in particular does a good job, but that's not saying a lot.
If I haven't been scathing enough, let me clear up a few things: "Noah" is a terrible movie. It's by far the worst thing I have seen in theaters in years...and yes, there are rock monsters.
Score: ½ a star out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones