I walked into the theatre knowing that Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was only very loosely based on the Bible story about The Flood. I was ok with that. I knew it was not “Christian” or “Biblical,” and I was ok with that, too. I did find it impossible to leave comparisons at the door, however; I know the Biblical story so well.
I walked into the theatre expecting a completely different story. I was, however, hoping for a good story.
Let me say upfront that the acting was great – especially Russell Crowe (I’m not a Russell Crowe fan. I always feel like someone needs a bath after watching a Russell Crowe movie), Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins. For me, the rest of the experience was very unpleasant.
The cinematography was frequently nauseating and bordering on seizure inducing. I had to literally look away or close my eyes more than once. Understand now, that I watched Gravity in IMAX 3D and did not get motion sickness. It was a huge distraction.
The story… I’m struggling to find a descriptive word… ok, it was terrible. I understand the appropriateness of illustrating the total depravity of mankind. They were, after all, about to be annihilated because of their extremely evil deeds. Not only were they depraved toward each other, they had also managed to scorch the earth (they were industrialized) — so much so, in fact, that I’m still not sure how Noah and his family, who lived outside of these cities, managed to stay alive. They were vegetarians, and there was very little vegetation. How did they make the ark, you might ask? They planted a magic seed (from the Garden of Eden) that grew a forest practically overnight. Oh, and they also had help from these rock creatures that were very reminiscent of the Ents from Lord of the Rings. And Noah’s wife came up with some herbal concoction that when burned, the smoke put all of the animals to sleep… all of them… every species of bird, every mammal, every reptile… all of them… except humans.
The story plunges into the deep end of dark once Noah and his family are on the ark. Tubal Cain (the king of land) manages to stowaway on the ark, makes friends with Noah’s middle son, Ham, and stays alive by eating some of the animals. Yes, he is the lowest of the low. We get it. And Noah decides right before the door to the ark shuts that The Creator doesn’t want any people to survive. He and his family were just there to make sure the animals survived. There were no wives for his younger two sons and his older son’s wife was barren, so they’d all just die out and then the Earth would be pure again. But Shem’s wife Ila gets a blessing from Methuselah right before the flood waters burst over the earth, and is no longer barren and becomes pregnant. Noah proclaims that if the child is a boy, then fine, he can live. But if it’s a girl, he will kill her immediately.
Somewhere around this point in the story I was seriously considering walking out. Between the cinematography, the story and the greasy potato skins I was munching on, I was not feeling well. But I took a deep breath and convinced myself it would end soon.
Shem and Ila try to escape on the life raft (yes, really), but Noah destroys it. Ila has not just one girl, but twins (wives for Ham and Japheth?). And while Noah’s wife is trying to hide Ila and the babies, Shem prepares to kill Noah to protect them, Tubal Cain decides now is a good time to attack and kill Noah (with Ham’s help) and take over (and set about completely ruining the new world like he had the old one). No spoiler; it doesn’t work. Noah finds the babies and is ready to kill them, but at the last minute has a change of heart and spares them.
Fast-forward a little… they are on dry land now. Noah thinks he’s a failure and gets totally drunk and naked. Ham sees him. The other two sons cover him up and tend to him. Ham packs up and heads out on his own. Ila has a heart to heart talk with Noah and tells him he did the right thing. And then there are a bunch of psychedelic rainbows… and lots of animals with babies. And everything is green and lush.
There is one other positive thing… we went to a cheap show and got the senior discount, so we didn’t spend much money on this movie.
My recommendation… go see some other movie.