Lazy Movie Review: Noah

Russell Crowe as Noah

Premise:  As Noah descends the mountain on a solid gold unicorn, trying to outrun a tidal wave with god’s face embedded in it, he pulls the reigns and abruptly turns towards the water right as god’s wave mouth is about to wrap around his body.  Noah stabs upward with his glowing Methusela fire sword with an unfathomable amount of blind faith.  At the foothill of the mountain, Hermione frees herself from the clutches of the three-headed minotaur, exhaustedly points her wand at the holy destruction and shouts “Glacius!”  All of the sudden, the wave turns to ice, and its weight falls upon Noah’s sword, causing it to shatter into a trillion pieces, leaving Noah unharmed.  The triumphant soundtrack blares as two of every animal parade out of the arc, each giving a subtle nod to Noah as they pass by; with a grizzly bear stopping for a moment to say in a comically deep Lousiana accent “Thank you fo stoppin that there flood, Noah!  Naw you make sure ta visit mah creole ressaraunt in Nawlins, ya hear!” Noah gives but a brief smile, “Of course I will, Brother Delacroix.”  ROLL CREDITS.  I don’t think any of that actually happened in the movie, but, ya know…  WHATEVER.  I guess my screenplays aren’t good enough for Hollywood.

 

Pros:

-It looked pretty.  In a bleak kind of way.

-I really dug the rock monsters.  Oh yeah, you didn’t know?  ROCK MONSTERS are an integral part to *most* of the plot.  They were created with some pretty cool puppet work, and at times, it felt like I was watching a Labyrinth-esk 80’s movie, which I won’t complain about.

-Some of the individual little visual sequences, which in a way felt like they were totally shoehorned in there, were freakin’ amazing.  The “creation of Earth” one, in particular, could have been an award-winning short film had it not been wedged into a 2+ hour biblical film.

-The acting was alright, I suppose.  Nothing special, but also nothing that hurt the film.  I guess I can’t tell Ray Winston apart from John Favreau anymore, because I thought the villain was Favreau through every trailer and commercial I saw, up until about halfway through the movie when I was finally like “…wait a minuuuuuuute…”

-That one scene where all the poor boatless people were screaming for their lives while clinging to the last rock sticking out of the ocean was appropriately terrifying.

-I’ve got to think that the one animal on Earth that god must favor is the shark.  They not only didn’t face any penalty for this apocalypse, but they were rewarded with the largest possible food supply they could ask for.  I like sharks, so this is a pro.  Maybe god is part shark?  YOU DON’T KNOW FOR SURE.  NO ONE DOES.  It would explain a lot, though.

 

Cons:

-I didn’t understand most of the characters’ motivations and/or purpose.  Character development was pretty sloppy overall.  They especially did a poor job developing the villains.  They were just mindless clods.

-It has a structure issue, where every cool thing happens in the first half of the movie (and a lot of it is really neat), and then the second half is reduced to weird family drama.  If you weren’t expecting adopted half-siblings to bone down, you can expect it now.  From the wisdom of Royal Tenenbaum, “It’s still frowned upon.  But then, what isn’t these days, right?”

-I almost fell asleep in the second half, and I wasn’t that tired when I went into the film.

-The CG wasn’t all that great.  In the scenes when millions of animals are flocking towards the boat, you can see things like a zebra doing a repeating head movement, and then you can look about 20 animals over and see another zebra doing the same head movements in sync with the first zebra.  I understand that animating that many animals on one screen is hard to do, but considering that I could spot it in about two seconds, it made it seem a tad less impressive.

-Just from a basic logic standpoint, it’s a dumb story that makes no logical sense.  I know that this film wasn’t striving for realism (maybe it should have), but it’s pretty much a poorly designed fantasy movie told within the constraints of an allegorical bible story about an impossible amount of animals living in a very small space for a long time with basically nothing to eat while every other human on Earth supposedly dies except one family thus implying that the world was recreated entirely out of this family having relations with each other and also assuming that the carnivorous animals on the boat wouldn’t kill everything including the humans immediately upon waking up.  Enjoy that run on sentence, GOD, you deserve it.

 

Final Thoughts:  I think the studios may have been hoping for a big, religious (financial) success story with this film.  Like, they were hoping that there would be a Passion of the Christ level of people flooding towards it (no pun intended).  But Darren Aronofsky didn’t really make a religious movie.  He made a fantasy film, where people have magical swords and fallen angels fight battles, where you are forced to suspend disbelief that Noah pretty much knows martial arts.  I don’t think church groups are going to be dropping people off by the bus load to see this.  At the same time, I don’t think a hardcore fantasy dude is going to be all that impressed with the fantasy elements, either.  It’s a complicated middle ground that leaves the whole project giving me an odd taste in my mouth.  And that’s not just the watered down orange soda I was drinking during the film.  There are a lot of little things I really liked about this movie, but the sum of all the parts was kind of underwhelming.  Probably worth you renting one day, just for the cool stuff.  But maybe if my sunday school teachers told me about the multi-armed rock monsters battling people in a desert wasteland, I might have stuck around a little longer.

7 out of 10

 

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