Saturday, April 05, 2014

Noah movie is a deluge of disappointment

There are many ways to ruin a great story and I think that the creators of Noah managed to hit all of them. In the generally accepted story of Noah and the Great Flood is that the world has gone evil and God wants a relaunch.

God chooses Noah and his family, tells them they better build an ark before it rains and sends the animals two-by-two to board the vessel. Rains come. Life as they knew it is washed away. The earth is cleansed. God puts a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His covenant to never again destroy all the earth. Noah and his family repopulate the earth. (Okay, I did say nutshell version. If you want the whole thing, look it up in Genesis in the Bible.)

I think that director Darren Aronofsky should be ashamed of himself for duping us into thinking his rendition is anywhere close to the source material. It is expected that "artistic license" will be taken with any Hollywood movie. I get that. Really, I do. Seeing the movie drove that point home.

Noah movie creators took the story line, tweaked it and then vomited it up onto the big screen.

The result is 138 minutes of stench that will take years to wash off. The apocalyptic proportions are there, a few characters share the same names but after that the film takes a sharp left and keeps on going.

Now that we have the highlights out of the way, lets get down to the nitty gritty.
  • The story line differs significantly from the Biblical account. (Did I already mention that?)
  • Opening segments place the film in a post-industrial setting that allegedly takes place only a few hundred years after the creation of the earth.
  • God as a central character is missing from the movie. 
  • Pick axes, exploding fireballs and metal hoes are too advanced to be workable in the movie.
  • Battle ready stone transformer-type beings are the "fallen angels" who take on the challenge of helping Noah build the ark. The beings (called "Watchers") also do a pretty good job of protecting the ark and Noah's family. 
  • Methuselah has the wizard-like ability to heal the barren but cannot find berries.
  • Metal bear traps are used in the movie that are oddly similar to those manufactured today.
  • There are sluggish times in the middle of the Noah when you think the movie will end, it doesn't. 
  • Noah was billed as being inspirational, it's not.
  • I believe in reducing our carbon footprint but the environmental message included in Noah gets old fast.
  • Then there is well, you get the idea ...
Let's move on to the positive aspects of the film.

Positive aspects...

Let me see ...

Oh yeah, there were a few going points...

Actors did a great job overall. Emma Watson (Il-la) does an admiral job. The scene where she is begging for the lives of her daughters while standing at the top of the ark is well done. Russell Crowe (Noah) is Russell Crowe at his finest. Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah aka "Grandfather") and Jennifer Connelly (Naameh) give fine performances as do the rest of the cast.

These actors are almost always worth the big screen ticket price and almost succeed in rescuing this film from the sludge that it languishes in.

Special effects are very good to excellent. The team created scores of animals that were drawn to the ark. Scenes of the evildoers being washed away and other effects give Noah and the kind of feel that made "Lord of the Rings" famous.

A "Lord of the Rings" feel just doesn't work for this movie. It's a deluge of disappointment that fails as science fiction, as a Biblical retelling or as a good summer movie.