As usual, God only speaks to men.
Film Review © 2014 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Darren Aronofsky; Screenplay by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel.
Starring: Russell Crowe (as deeply troubled, Noah), Jennifer Connelly (as "I'll do whatever you say because I'm just a woman, God never speaks to me, and I have no mind of my own," Naameh, Mrs. Noah), Ray Winstone (as the "evil" Tubal-cain), Emma Watson (as the "desperately waiting to become pregnant," Ila), and Anthony Hopkins (as the "old as hell," Methuselah); and a CGI cast of thousands of people, places, animals, and things.
This story sucks. After sitting for nearly an hour, I really, really, really wanted to leave; but I waited and waited and waited eventually hoping for Charlton Heston, as Moses from "The Ten Commandments (1956)" to come out and part the Red Sea, but that didn't happen. So, I waited for Steve Carell, as Evan Baxter from "Evan Almighty (2007)" to come out and shepherd people onto his ark, but that didn't happen either. So, I had no choice but to watch this murky crap about one man's unique "vision" compelling him to respond to God's will and build an ark. Charles Manson had visions too.
Given the technical ability of Hollywood to create any kind of special effect, here was a golden opportunity for the filmmakers to accurately visualize, word-for-word, the story of Noah, as recorded in Genesis 5:32 to 10:1. Reportedly, Industrial Light and Magic said their work on the film represented "the most complicated rendering in the company's history." Okay, so the film had fake animals, fake people, fake water, yada, yada, yada. So what. This is a pretentious film, attempting be a profound religious spectacle without the necessary parts: story, acting, and "astonishing" special effects. As presented, the technical aspects of the film clearly exceeded the story and acting. The biblical account is the story, but they didn't tell that story.
Genesis 5:32 - And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Where was the time-lapse sequence showing Noah and the earth aging, and what about the rest of the world? Plus, the entire fiasco with Tubal-cain (before, during and after the flood) was not "aged" properly. Where was the film's continuity expert?
Genesis 6:5 - And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Okay, "man" was wicked; got that, but this PG-13 film didn't show it, and it should have. Why? Because man was supposed to be evil, so show us "evil." There was more graphic evil upon Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's 2004 religious epic, "The Passion of the Christ" than anything you'll see in Noah. Plus, what about women, children, animals, nature, etc.? Were they simply guilty by association? In fact, given the ongoing occurrence of overt killing, raping, and destruction of men, women, children, animals, and nature happening in 2014, the film should have been set in 2014. Oops, that movie, a comedy, "Evan Almighty" was made in 2007.
Genesis 6:15 - And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Simply put, why didn't the film show the actual biblical verse and subsequently show Crowe building a life size replica of the ark to God's exacting schematics, or at least show a computer generated version? In fact, the producers spent more time developing the web-based "Ark Experience" (ark exterior, mammal desk, reptile deck, avian deck, etc.) than the actual screen time given to showcase the ark in the film.
Genesis 9:28 - And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. Again, where was the time-lapse sequence showing Noah aging?
Instead, the film provides the following disclaimer, "While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide." Translation: "Look, this is just a movie, and as you know, of course we made this crap up, just to make some money! We budgeted $125 million, and so far you suckers have paid us $359,200,044 million. Thanks!"
Casting by Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu was subpar. We've seen the Crowe and Connelly tag-team before in "A Beautiful Mind," and they offer nothing new to Noah. Instead of casting Nick Nolte as only the voice of Samyaza (what? you missed that?), Nolte should have been cast as Noah, because his grizzled persona and distinctive voice would have given greater emotional context and depth to the role. Likewise, instead of casting Frank Langella as only the voice of Og (what? you missed that too?), Langella should have been cast as Methuselah, because although Hopkins and Langella are the same age, Langella doesn't look as "old as hell" and therefore he would have given more "life" to the role.
Film is poorly directed by Darren Aronofsky, with a lumbering, uneventful running length of 138 minutes, and should have been trimmed by at least 95 minutes. That's right, at best this is a made-for-tv 60-minute mini-move trimmed to 43 minutes leaving 15-minutes for commercials (and the commercials would be more interesting). "Noah" did not merit a theatrical release.
Special effects and technical aspects were uninspiring. which was necessary given the poorly written script.
Recommendation: In a word, "Netflix" it, or wait and grab a copy from the $5.00 bin at Walmart.