Movie Review: Noah (2014)

Posted: April 4, 2015 in Drama


Noah (Russell Crow) troubled  by visions from God, builds an ark for two of all the animals of the earth, himself, his wife Naamah  (Jennifer Connelly) and his sons, Shem (Douglas Booth) Ham (Logan Lermen) and Japheth (Leo McHugh-Carroll)  as a life-killing flood descends upon the earth.

The trouble with the Noah story from a dramatic standpoint is that there is not much of a narrative in the Bible, so in order to make a two hour epic based on the Noah story, writer/director Darren Aranofsky has to embellish, a lot.  He makes the Nephilim, angels that are a mix between human and God, giant rock like creatures, he makes major characters out of Methuselah and Tubal Cain, and invents others.  He changes the story to make it more appealing to mass audiences, and indulges in the violence that God is sending the flood to destroy.  Most importantly, he portrays Noah as a religious zealot, bordering on the insane. This isn’t the story of Abraham and Isaac, but Aronofsky blends elements from that story into the Noah story. He stretches the story so much that at one point, Noah is retelling the creation story and the story of Adam and Eve in the middle of the voyage.  All of this could have been forgiven, but the film is astoundingly boring, that is the biggest sin of this movie.

I like Russell Crowe but in Noah, Crowe overdramatizes Noah to make up for the lack of a cohesive script, never removing the intense scowl from his face, and going from prophet to religious eccentric.  Connelly plays his wife as a long suffering woman, putting up with his eccentricities, until she can no longer deal with them.  Logan Lerman is largely wasted as Ham, portrayed as overly covetous.  Emma Watson is also wasted as Shem’s wife Ila.  Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah as a wise old sage, but comes off more as old than sage.

Aranofsky tries to make Noah a big budget action film, and fails miserably.  The giant, walking stone angels are almost laughable, and exponentially reduce the chances of this movie being taken seriously. There’s conflagrations, and fire, a lot of violence, and finally about an hour into the film the flood.  The pacing is horrendous, that first hour felt like it was about two days long, and after that there was still an hour and 20 minutes left.  Finally, despite all the special effects, there are no iconic visual scenes, like the parting of the Red Sea in DeMille’s Ten Commandments.  I liked The Wrestler, I had mixed feelings about The Black Swan, but Noah is just plain bad.

Noah:  It’s raining, it’s pouring, the audience is snoring.


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