Noah (Russell Crowe) is tasked with building an ark to save the innocents (animals) in this Biblical epic.
Noah is an interesting film, to say the very least. As I watched it, I couldn’t help thinking that this was the story of Noah’s Ark told via The Road Warrior and Waterworld. Honest to The Creator, that is the vibe I got. This is more post-apocalyptic film than Biblical epic. It is a very strange beast, to be sure. I do have to admit, though, that I enjoyed it, despite it’s eccentricities, though I feel the film would have been better served sticking to the original story and avoiding rock monsters (more on these creatures a bit later) and a cannibal, warrior king.
The first ‘mainstream’ film by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan), Noah is a big-budget, CGI-filled monstrosity of Hollywood epic filmmaking. Yes, it is a Frankenstein’s creation. Large, meandering, and violent. It clearly just wants to be loved, though, despite the thematic elements put into play, including allusions to cannibalism and the horrors of over industrialization. Yes, the film is heavy-handed. If you can suspend your disbelief, though, you will find plenty here to enjoy. When you suspend your disbelief, also suspend everything but the basics of the Biblical story you know. There are some dramatic steps of artistic license taken with this film . . .
Noah, of the line of Seth, is chosen by The Creator, to build an ark to save the innocents of the Earth after the line of Cain (of Cain and Abel) has laid waste to the planet by over-industrialization. Noah receives a vision that the world will be purged by water and reborn. After speaking to his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), he begins construction an a gigantic ark, with some help from The Watchers, fallen Angels who have been turned into gigantic rock creatures when cast to the Earth by The Creator. Soon, as the purge draws near, a group of men, led by Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) attempt to attack Noah and take the ark to survive the coming flood.
So, we have rock monsters in the film. In the story of Noah’s Ark, we have rock monsters. Rock monsters who helped build the ark. An interesting choice, to be sure. Two days after watching this film, I am still unsure as to why we have gigantic rock monsters. Did they detract from the overall film? Not even a little bit. Did their creation make sense? Yes, it did. I’m just a little flabbergasted by their inclusion, even though they did serve a purpose in the story. They just seem a little too Lord of the Rings for a Biblical epic. A little too fantasy for what is supposed to be a story of the cleansing of men. *Scratches head with a dubious look*
As I watched this film, I couldn’t help but think about how Bible purists are going to hate this film. While I personally feel the film stayed true to the overall gist of the Genesis story, the film does include, aside from the aforementioned rock monsters, evolution. As I have said, the film is a strange amalgamation of ideas, presented through the lens of a , questionably, visionary director.
I watched this film two days ago. I have still been pondering it. What I am pondering, though, is less the Biblical implications and my faith, but more of the decisions Aronofsky made while crafting this film. The inclusions of The Watchers as rock creatures, the cannibalism of the followers of Tubal-Cain, the industrialization. These things have made me consider that this film is nowhere near as original as it attempts to be. The under pinning of the Mad Max films, Waterworld (the obvious comparisons are there, despite the lack of Dennis Hopper), and the Lord of the Rings films make me wonder why Aronofsky didn’t just stick to the basic text of the Bible and create a typical Biblical epic, the type of film we haven’t seen for years. Instead, this feels like a very expensive art film with amazing CGI.
** 1/2 out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- Production Budget: $125 mil. Domestic Gross: $101,200,044. Lifetime Gross (Domestic + Foreign): $359.200,400.
- No real animals were used in the film, at all.