NOAH: THE REVIEW

NOAH just looks epic and I myself am off to see it this afternoon – cannot wait!! Kernel John hit up the screening on Wednesday night and reviews it splendidly for Salty. NOAH is rated M and runs for 138mins – with all this rain at the moment it is one appropriate film to be watching 🙂 I will say there is some irony in having aka Percy Jackson on the ark. The son of Poseidon will offer protection from the ravages of Christianity 🙂 It would also appear that, YAY, Russ is back!! Enjoy John’s review……………JK.

REVIEW BY

Most of us know the story of Noah’s Ark.  The tale itself occupies only a few chapters of the Book of Genesis and can be recounted fairly succinctly without too much loss from the original: God is mad; speaks to Noah; ark; two animals; flood; all life destroyed; 40 days; rainbow.  That is pretty much all there is to the tale of Noah right?

 

NOAH, NOAH MOVIE, NOAH REVIEW, DARREN ARONOFSKY, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Mark Margolis
NOAH: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – POSTER

 

WRONG!

Apparently, the Bible missed huge chunks of the story.  Enter director Darren Aronofsky (THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN) to help fill in the gaps with his biblical epic NOAH.  The film is co-written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel.  Handel had previously written with Aronofsky on THE FOUNTAIN and collaborated with him for both THE WRESTLER and BLACK SWAN.

NOAH portrays the life of the religious figure of Noah, from his birth, through to the Great Flood and the destruction of the world.  The film stars Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (GLADIATOR, LES MISERABLES) in the titular role alongside Academy Award winner (A BEAUTIFUL MIND) as Naameh, his wife.  Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth are played by (LOL), Logan Lerman (PERCY JACKSON), and Leo McHugh Carroll respectively, with Shem’s wife Ila played by of HARRY POTTER fame.  (EDGE OF DARKNESS) plays Tubal-cain, descendent of Adam and Eve’s first born son Cain, and Noah’s enemy.  Rounding out the cast is Academy Award winner (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THOR) playing Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather.

 

NOAH, NOAH MOVIE, NOAH REVIEW, DARREN ARONOFSKY, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Mark Margolis
NOAH: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – THE FAMILY OUTSIDE THE ARK

 

The film begins with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden through the symbolic imagery of a snake and an apple.  What follows is more symbolism depicting the story of Cain and Abel, Abel’s murder and mankind’s subsequent descent into corruption through Cain’s cursed descendants.  The descendants of Cain’s younger brother Seth continue to live in God’s favour and through the generations Noah is born.  A grown Noah receives an unclear vision from God about the impending flood and seeks the aid of his grandfather Methuselah in interpreting the message.  Methuselah reveals that God has given Noah a choice and that the decision to save humanity as a species or not, is Noah’s to make.  This is a departure from the traditional Bible tale where God gives clear instructions to Noah about what to do, what to save, and what will come next, even going so far as to submit specific dimensions for the ark.  As a result, the rest of the film plays out somewhat chaotically, with Noah torn between saving humanity as a species, or saving all other life, a mutually exclusive conundrum in his eyes as he does not believe humanity can ever live in harmony with nature.  As such, we are privy to a darker, deeper image of the man behind the myth.  A servant of God resentful in his duty.  A soldier of righteousness with no one left to fight for.  A survivor of annihilation filled with the pain and regret of those who perished.

 

NOAH, NOAH MOVIE, NOAH REVIEW, DARREN ARONOFSKY, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Mark Margolis
NOAH: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – RUSSELL CROWE

 

This burden of choice and consequences plays heavily on Noah as he begins a descent into madness.  Forced into a choice he clearly does not wish to take, Noah starts to turn against his own family as he resigns himself to what he feels he must do.  This is a dark and depressing turn for the film, like finding out your own grandfather was secretly Jack the Ripper, and while it was very in keeping with the overall theme and tone of NOAH, it was so foreign from the source material that I found it very hard to reconcile.  It would be akin to James Cameron having had Captain Smith purposefully drive his ship into the iceberg in TITANIC, or having Wallace Hartley and his band gleefully cheering instead of playing “Nearer, My God, To Thee” as the ship went down.  The overall narrative of the Titanic is preserved, as the ship still sinks, but the journey to reach this point runs jarringly counter to commonly held belief.  Considering what had just come to pass and the pressures placed upon him, Noah’s redemption and reconciliation at the end of the film seemed weak and undeserved.  With all that was going on in Noah’s life and with Aronofsky’s darker vision of the tale, I felt that Crowe’s depiction of Noah was subpar and bland.  The film told me that Noah was burdened through storyline and plot, but Crowe never really made me feel that Noah was suffering.

 

NOAH, NOAH MOVIE, NOAH REVIEW, DARREN ARONOFSKY, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Mark Margolis
NOAH: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – NOAH AND FAMILY MEMBERS

 

Significant creative license was also taken with the addition of the Tubal-cain subplot.  While Winstone’s portrayal of the ruthless king was wonderful, I could not help but feel that the inclusion of this entire subplot was done simply to personify the “wickedness” of the world, to justify God’s decision, and to flesh out an otherwise lightly detailed biblical story, more so than to actually progress the plot or challenge the protagonist.  An apocalyptic flood capable of extinguishing all life in existence is due any moment now, so we know Noah is pressed for time.  He does not really need a warlord planning to steal his boat to spur him on to greater speed or diligence.  Armageddon is motivation enough.  That said, Tubal-cain’s dialogue is dark and emotive, revealing the depths of human evil as well as its desire to survive.

Both Watson and Connelly are the standouts in this film.  They both produced magnificent and powerful performances that just got stronger and better as the film went on.  The deeper Noah’s madness grew, the more spectacular their portrayal of their characters became.  Ila and Naameh are two women determined to survive the coming calamity and will do anything to keep their family safe.  Their powerlessness in the face of what is transpiring and their anguish at the thought of losing their loved ones is heartfelt and incredibly emotional.  They most certainly made me feel their pain and sorrow.

 

NOAH, NOAH MOVIE, NOAH REVIEW, DARREN ARONOFSKY, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Mark Margolis
NOAH: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – RUSSELL CROWE/ NOAH GETTING ANGRY

 

The world of the Old Testament is often seen as a harsh and ruthless place.  God Himself is often depicted as merciless and unforgiving to those who oppose Him or His chosen.  This notion of cruelty and callousness is incredibly well portrayed in NOAH.  The world on screen is a barren and lifeless place, where humanity ekes out an existence amongst the scorched rocks and deserts they inhabit.  The strong survive only through force and the weak are trampled into dust with truly pitiless disregard.  Even Noah and his family scratch out a living in the wilderness, though they attempt to do so in as great a balance with the surviving nature as possible.  The oppressive character of this early world is fantastically portrayed through everything from scenery, to clothing, to character behaviours, desperation and greed.

The special effects are amazing, not just in the design of the landscape or in the flood itself, but in the depiction of the animals as well.  Seeing thousands of reptiles slithering out of the forest and into the ark gave me chills.  Much of the symbolism and story surrounding Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the creation of the Universe also made heavy use of special effects and was remarkable to witness.  The growth of Noah’s garden as well as the animation of the fallen angels were two brilliantly worked effects of note for me.

Overall, NOAH is a truly breathtaking film of scope and design, with a bold new take on the ancient story of Noah’s ark that sadly fails to really hit the mark, despite spectacular supporting performances and astonishing special effects.

 

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

3 Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE:

3 Pops