NOAH - Review Lite & Photos

NOAH - Narrative Outlaying Aronofsky's Humanism

After the initial rollout of Noah appeared to be mired in controversy over it's bastardization of the Biblical text, the producers understood that unless the criticisms were not quickly mollified, the real disaster about to be played out on the American screen would be a 150 million dollar box-office flop.

Though money cannot guarantee a blockbuster success, the marketers of Noah wisely reasoned it could be invested into helping persuade the mavens of Christendom to appreciate the broad-minded perspective of it's creator, Darren Aronofsky. If schmoozed and treated just right, they might find their way to seeing Noah not as originally crafted by its creative moguls, but as Aronofsky so desperately now needed them understand what he intended all along...

Now, the last thing I want to be accused of is alleging that friends like Hugh Hewitt, and too many like him, drank liberally from Aronofsky's Kool-aid chalice. Regardless, the marketing ploy worked. It did on me anyway.
I am embarrassed to say that I listened to and was persuaded by those who were, let's say gullibly taken-in, and plopped down my $20 to see Noah on opening day. And by the opening weekend receipts, it appears I was far from alone.

As many of you know, I was anxiously waiting for the release of Noah. After so many men and woman I greatly respect offered their praise of the film, I was all the more motivated. I too wanted to add my voice to the throng of the enlightened who extolled the creative license of Aronofsky's adaption of the short narrative in Genesis.

Furthermore, from what I read, I was all but certain that the greatest challenge in reviewing Noah would be in selecting just the right superlatives. Regrettably, I could not have been any more misled. Borrowing a line from A Fish Called Wanda, disappointed!

First the good. 

The flood is astonishing. I don't recall ever seeing such an accurate and thrilling orchestration of God's deluge and the ark consumed by its furry. If this extravaganza alone is worth the price of a ticket and munchies, Noah will not disappoint.

Acting was grand to sufficient. Russell Crowe, who never founders, was magnificent. The remaining cast gave acceptable performances. I was especially impressed by Ray Winstone as Tubil-cain. Love this guy!

So much for the good.

If you're anything like me, and need something more than thrilling special effects and good acting, like possibly a plausible story and a hero you actually like (let alone root for), Noah is going to be a grave disappointment. 

It's not that Noah is bad, it's downright dreadful.

Let me say right off that the only reason my wife, Kari, and I stayed to the farcical, annoying, bitter end of Noah was because I was asked to write a review. Mind you, of thousands of movies I've gone to, I've only walked out on maybe a dozen. A film has to be horrendous for me leave. Between looking at our watches and giving each the the look of WT*!, it took resolve of purpose to stay in our seats.

Among the closing scenes, stock footage was inserted depicting contented animal pairs against the backdrop of bucolic fields and gentle breezes. I don't know what was worse, these bunglingly mawkish green-screen clips or the clownish animation sequences. Regardless, all were painful to watch. 

Watching Noah reminded me of observing a sinewy yet shoddy boxer. While the fighter seemingly possessed all the attributes of a fit and able boxer, as the match wore on, so did he, falling apart and KO'd before the third bell.

So then, what's so awful? I'm somewhat at a loss to say. It's not that I'm confused as to what makes Noah a plodding, pretentious film, but rather struggling with the degree of the monstrosity, which begs the question, where does one begin? Had I the time and interest, and didn't respect your time, I'd write volumes. But this is a blog post. So, I'll make a few pithy observations and call it a review

You'd think for all the contentious aspects over the retelling of Noah that the controversy might be the reason it's a terribly crafted film. But it's not. 

What makes Noah so comprehensibly horrendous is that it is appalling storytelling. It's not that the writers are faulted for being unskilled, but rather for concocting unconvincing character motivations and then clumsily weaving a tumefied agenda into the fabric of an already message laden narrative.  

For instance, of all the diverse wickedness a movie might expose regarding the depraved proclivities of a culture (for which God is enraged and will soon annihilate them as punishment), which might you think are at the fore? Okay, get your mind out of the gutter and feast your eyes on what Aronofsky contends is the single most cogent rationale for the obliteration of man: they're carnivores! That's right, the greatest depiction of this evil in Noah is that man eats other beasts.

The other unforgivable immorality Noah extracts from the pages of Genesis is not only that these malevolent hordes eat meat, but they wage war on women. How? They exchange woman for animals, which they then viciously eat (not the woman but the animals). 

Obviously, commoditizing women is immoral. However, it was plain that Aronofsky was not so much telling us a tale about Noah as he was dipping us in his well of leftist politics. Odd that I kept seeing flashbacks of Avatar while watching this behemoth disaster. 
The Ad Campaign the fooled me into seeing Noah. 

As to the ad campaign that boasts Noah "is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," it is categorically false. It's not that Noah simply adds embellishments to augment Biblical principals, Aronofsky makes a pronounced u-turn and transmogrifies the story of Noah into neither the teaching or man we read in scripture.

Bottom line, Aronofsky preaches that man is more merciful than God. How? Aronofsky portrays God as the one who is the real sick old fart who can learn a thing-or-two from Noah's compassionate family. Although Noah believes God has required him to slaughter the innocent, twin baby girls born upon the ark (as well as his family, no less), he finally succumbs to family pressure, siding with "mercy"rather than God's justice. 

Thus, in one fell swoop, Noah is bigger and better than God, which of whom we get the feeling Noah made after his own likeness all along.  

This is humanism folks - plain and simple.

So, regardless of the what the filmmakers cite about being faithful to the "true essence" of the Biblical story, I'd venture to say that trusting in man's judgment and his sense of morality is not what the Bible has in mind when it  says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and rely not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5  

If you're the sort who appreciates overblown commentary aimed at meat-eaters, and preaching of man's innate sovereignty over his fate, you'll find Noah a delight. As my 1.5 Lens review suggests, I am clearly not one of them.

Noah - 1.5 Lens Review

Mark Jordan Koeff
©GOOGTOON - Observations on Life • Popular Culture • Politics • Entertainment • Public Figures

Noah - Dubious Animation - at least the fruit was not an apple.

Noah - Dubious Animation - at least the serpent was not portrayed as the Tea Party.

Noah - Cain murders Abel.

Noah - Dubious Animation - Hmm. Snake skin blessing is a bit too confusing for me.

Noah in a dream sequence where he thinks God the Creator is telling him something about his role in the destruction of humanity.

Noah - images from a dream sequence where Noah begins to discern all is not right with the world.

Noah takes a look above the pit his family is being held captive and let to die by rock monsters (Nephilim).

Noah - angels falling from from heaven who later become rock monsters (Nephilim ), who help Noah build the ark and fight off would be ark hijackers, like Ent Trees in Lord of the Rings. No joke folks.

Noah - Methuselah, no less, talking with Noah's son, Japheth.

Noah - building site of ark from perspective of two white doves. I only hope they build a visitor's center around it. I'd certainly pay to see it, if not spend a night or two.

Noah - building site. Notice pile of rocks on left? It's really a fallen angel rock monster (Nephilim)... No worries, they exist to help Noah build the ark and fend off evil would be stowaways. No, I am not making this up. It's as if Aronsofky reasoned that if anyone could actually believe the story of Noah, they'd believe anything!

Noah and son, Ham, arguing, as annoyingly usual.

Noah - the wicked hoards attempting to assert their authority over the ark.

Noah, midway into the story explains that the flood is not the end but a new beginning. It was also about this time when we began looking at our cell phones - would this movie ever end? 

Noah being comforted (or admonished) by Naameh, his wife.

Noah - first animals arrive on the scene. Very cool.

Noah - other welcomed guests arrive to the ark.

Noah - beasts of every kind making their way to salvation.

Noah - nice perspective of animals boarding the ark.

Noah visiting the evil hoards encampment where he discovers woman being treated as chattel and people in the barbaric practice of eating meat!

Noah feeling rain, presumably for the very first time.

Noah - the evil hoards letting it be known they will not be left behind. Hey, "left behind" - it's got a ring to it. Maybe the Rapture will be Aronofsky's next attempt at capturing Biblical truths on the silver screen. I'm cringing at the thought.

Noah fighting his way back to the ark after finding his runaway son, Ham, who went looking for a bride amid the forsaken, whom Ham found in an open trench of dead folk,  but upon escaping to the ark with his girl ran into a bear trap, at which Noah might have helped to save, but instead allowed her to get trampled by the rampaging hoards, for which Ham could not forgive Noah, allowing the evil king to hide aboard the ark, who then nearly killed Noah and would have summarily eaten all the beasts aboard the ark! Phew...

Noah - the primary reason for seeing the film and why it earned at least a One Lens review.

Noah, falling to his knees in utter astonishment that the film has yet to end.Either that or he's hiding his laughter at so many of us sitting behind him, paying good money to watch this farce.

Noah - the ark amid the flood, and the primary reason for the film earning at least a One Lens review.

Noah - can't recall Emma Watson's character's name and simply don't care. Nice lighting, however.

Noah - finally the new beginning and the long awaited end of the disaster...