Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Russell Crowe plays the titular character, a 600-year-old “action-hero" of a madman with delusional visions of the end of the world, by way of a massive flood caused by rainstorms and all the springs of the great deep bursting forth. According the conversations with the creator that he has in his dreams, only he and his family are worthy of being saved as only they among EVERY HUMAN ON EARTH are “righteous in this generation.” So he builds a HUGE 750ft long boat from magically appearing cypress trees and prepares to fill it with mating pairs of EVERY ANIMAL, BIRD, and BUG on Earth, and with the help of seraphim shaped like rock golems, defend the ark against the evil cannibalistic humans led by Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) that wish to take the boat from him.
Ok, firstly the story of Noah in the so-called Old Testament is pretty short, pretty sketchy, lacking in any real detail and rife with contradiction. It makes specious, even ridiculous claims that are by all logic and good sense, absolutely impossible. It’s not history, it’s utter fantasy. This movie is also fantasy. But who cares! If Aronofsky wanted to make a movie based on the biblical account, it would be a very short movie indeed, so some “padding out” was certainly required of the source material.
Yeah, so… where to begin… apparently this ancient civilization of humans has quite a modern sensibility to them. Their clothes, though roughspun, are quite well tailored, and they also seemed to have quite a wide knowledge of metallurgy to create not only fabulous swords, daggers and spear-tips, but also welder masks, shopping carts, machinery of some kind, and oh yeah rocket launchers. Yes rocket launchers. I shit you not.
It does have a few good ideas however, like how Noah and his wife (Jennifer Connelly) figure out how to “drug” the animals and put them into a state of hibernation for the voyage, is a good way to explain away the obvious problem with the biblical story of how does one feed so many animals for the year or so that they reside in the ark. It also makes sense that there would be some people (The army led by Tabul-Cain) that would find Noah, and attempt to escape the deluge with him either through cooperation, or by force. And with the exception of a few moments of scenery chewing, and over-acting, the performances are solid, and the flick is shot beautifully thanks to the work of director of photography Matthew Libatique.
Aronofski’s flick, in its attempt to be all things to all people ends up missing the mark on all fronts. It not only alienates Christians and Jews by dismissing their mythology as nothing more than magical fantasy, but also by making a movie that in the end amounts to nothing more than a mediocre actioner, Aronofski alienates movie fans in general. Honestly, if I wanted to watch an overly long senseless action flick with wall-to-wall CGI, I would have watched Transformers: Age of Extinction. It’s a bit of a shame that this wasn’t a better film because I absolutely loved Aronofski’s The Wrestler, and enjoyed his hauntingly beautiful Black Swan, and wonder if there wasn’t some studio interference in the making of Noah.
The good news is, now that Paramount has the “rock monster” digital assets, maybe they’ll let William Shatner borrow them to so he can finally “fix” his ending to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier!