Screen Gems Movie Reviews with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!
March 28, 2014 Noah
Studio: Paramount Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.
If you ever went to Sunday school, or have at least a passing knowledge of the Bible, chances are you're aware of the story of Noah.
In the Book of Genesis, Noah is chosen by God to build an ark to save his family and preserve the animals of Earth from a great flood that is coming.
In this version, director Darron Aronofsky, a self-professed atheist who brought us "The Black Swan," uses the Bible story as a jumping off point for his vision.
Noah (Russell Crowe) still receives a warning about the flood, but it's from "the creator," not God. However, he still has to build a huge vessel to survive the oncoming disaster.
While Noah and his family are busy building their boat, the descendants of Cain are wreaking havoc throughout the world. They're the reason the creator wants to reboot the planet. They eat meat, destroy the land, and generally are not good stewards of their environment.
The evil ruler Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) notices what Noah is doing and decides he wants the ark for himself.
Although the framework of this story is similar to what is in the Bible, its tone is radically different. This is not a monument to faith. Instead, Noah is portrayed as good man, who descends into madness after the flood hits. Crowe is razor sharp in both halves of the film. He gives the movie weight with his presence and his unhinged Noah goes to very dark places.
Noah's wife Naameh (Jennifer Connolly) and his daughter-in-law Ila (IEmma Watson) are also lynchpins to this movie. Their strong presence counterbalances Crowe's whirlwind with quiet strength and resolve.
The bible's oldest man even makes an appearance. Methuseleh (Anthony Hopkins) is Noah's grandfather, and when he's not tripping out in search of berries he's handing Noah drug tea to send him on a psychedelic journey on his own. Hopkins moves with a glimmer in his eye and mischief in his heart. He is a a nice addition.
If this wasn't a story ripped from Christianity's holy book it would be a perfectly non-controversial movie. But, that's not the case. Aronofsky takes some pretty big liberties, including The Watchers (one which is voiced by Nick Nolte). They're fallen angels who become stone creatures and help Noah both build the ark and defend it from Tubal-Cain and his followers.
If you approach this as a typical action film, you'll probably like if. If you're looking to be lifted spiritually, you'll probably be very disappointed.
It is uneven, with two very different halves. I mostly enjoyed it, mainly because of the acting and the spectacle of the visual effects. However, it does have some glaring faults, which are mainly the result of Aronofsky taking a left turn with some off-the-wall choices.
Originally, I graded this movie as a "triple," but upon reflection the storytelling roller coaster of ups and downs probably doesn't deserve that good of a mark.
So, after thinking it over, on my rating scale "Noah" earns a DOUBLE. Still entertaining, just not great.
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