A Disaster Of Biblical Proportions
Thanks to Paramount Pictures, we had the chance to experience Darren Aronofsky’s Noah before its Australian release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
The film follows Noah (Russell Crowe), the last descendent of Seth, who was the lesser known of Adam and Eve’s three sons. Noah and his family live far away from any town or village, as the world is dominated by the cruel and violent descendents of Cain. Noah is constantly harassed by nightmares in which the world is destroyed by water. These dreams seem to be a message from “The Creator”, reason enough for Noah to take his family (Played by Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and young Leo McHugh Carroll) on a journey to find his hermit grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins).
During their trip, Noah and his family rescue Ila (Emma Watson), a young girl injured by savages, and make her part of their family. Noah’s path really changes once he enters the forbidden territory of The Watchers, who are giants mentioned in Genesis. They once were angels, but now they have become rock giants. This was their punishment for coming to Earth against the will of “The Creator” to help men, who ended up corrupting the world.
After meeting with Methuselah, Noah understands his mission, as he must build an arc with the help of The Watchers to save all the species from total extinction, by bringing together a male and female of every single species. Noah has to do so before “The Creator” destroys the world, leaving it free of men, in order to restart all once again. This won’t be an easy task however as Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), “The King of Men” and descendent of Cain, finds out about the Arc and sends his army to take it over and save mankind.
Like every film that touches a Christian topic, Noah hits cinemas surrounded by controversy, as several conservative groups tried everything to avoid this film seeing the light, while none of them had actually seen the film but judged it only by its title and trailers. To avoid further controversy characters always speak of “The Creator” (we don’t recall anyone saying “God” during the film). In the end it doesn’t matter since Conservative Christians will be equally disappointed as regular viewers who just want to see a spectacular movie, as Noah is a mess of epic proportions. This film never clearly stipulates whether it is a sci-fi action film or a biblical movie. It also includes several underdeveloped subplots that make the two and a half hours of the film even more confusing and slow.
The tone of the film is set within minutes, as a weird digital animal is attacked in front of Noah, followed by the introduction of “The Watchers” (also computer generated), whose design look like a total rip-off of the Ents from Lord of The Rings and the Rock Eater from The Never Ending Story. The voices of these Watchers are so distorted they become extremely hard to understand, so you may be surprised to know that one of them is voiced by Nick Nolte.
A biblical tale suddenly becomes Lord of The Rings, when the Watchers start fighting against Cain’s followers in an epic battle to protect the ark. However, this battle is ridiculously delayed by sub-plots involving the annoying middle son of Noah, Ham (Logan Lerman), who throws one of the most annoying topics in every film in the mix: Daddy issues. Ham blames his father because he doesn’t have a female partner for the trip, while his older brother Shem (Douglas Booth) does have one, since he is in a relationship with Emma Watson’s Ila. Obviously Ham starts causing trouble by going to the camp of Tubal-Cain, where the young boy meets a girl who later on won’t get on the ark. That is reason enough for the kid to blame his father again and to help The King of Men.
The poorly made CGI animals look extremely fake, including some animals that should not even be there as they were already extinct way before Noah’s time, and even it’s obvious to see that there were many pairs of the same species more than once. We would dare to say that the animal’s arrival and the designs in general on the comedy Evan Almighty were better than these ones (Yes, for real!). What’s more, the way the animals are shown getting into the ark is so rushed, that you soon forget about them as they are put to sleep, in order to open the door for yet another subplot in which Crowe’s Noah goes crazy himself.
On the bright side, Russell Crowe’s performance is fantastic, and without him this film would not have any strong points. He is a perfect choice for the role, and his emotional changes across the film are fantastic, going from a merciful man to a totally insane believer capable to kill for his “Creator”. Also, the actual design of the Arc is well-made, its voyage perhaps being the most realistic part of the film, and there are some well-made animations to show the creation of man and the arrival of the Watchers on Earth. However, all that does not make up for the bland script, that makes Noah look more like a failed Sci-fi film than an epic biblical tale.
Noah is now showing in Australian cinemas