Noah might’ve received high praise from some critics but for myself, I didn’t find much of this all that entertaining from the asinine storyline, the bizarre rock creatures who seemed to belong in a Peter Jackson movie and most of all a lead character who by movie’s end was rooting against. The film is also terribly bloated and a lot of material could’ve been trimmed or removed.
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
Paramount | PG13 – 137 min. – $39.99 | July 29, 2014
THE MOVIE – 1.25/5
Noah has to be one of the most excruciating, painful and dreadful movie I’ve had the displeasure to experience in a long while. Yeah, the production/sets, costumes and make-up is top-notch and even some of the acting isn’t bad, but my god (no pun intended) is it dull and a chore to get through; I can’t count the number of times I checked to see the time remaining. If only Bill Cosby wrote the screenplay for this one.
The story opens with Noah as a young boy who witnesses the murder of his father, Lamech (MARTON CSOKAS) at the hand of the ruthless Tubal-cain (RAY WINSTONE), descendent of the very same Cain who murdered his brother, Abel. Years later, the grown up Noah (RUSSELL CROWE) has a beautiful wife (JENNIFER CONNELLY) and three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth (older versions later played by DOUGLAS BOOTH, LOGAN LERMAN and LEO MCHUGH CARROLL respectively).
After Noah witnesses the growth of a flower out of nothing, as well as having nightmarish dreams, the family journeys to faraway lands to visit Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah (ANTHONY HOPKINS). Along the way they encounter a young girl named Ila (later played by EMMA WATSON) who is on the verge of death after an attack by scavengers and who also now are after the family because, well, they’re assholes I suppose and every movie, biblical or apocalypse alike, seems to have.
The family, with Ila in tow, make for the baron lands controlled by “The Watchers”, former angels fallen to Earth, punishment from God… err… The Creator… and who have turned their back on humanity over the years. At this point I was kind of on board with the movie but once I saw “The Watchers”, it went from tolerance to complete and utter stupidity as these former angels are in fact walking/stumbling rocks referred mockingly online as “Rock Transformers” which is an apt description. Anyway, with Noah having his way with words manages to get help from one such creature and escapes to a swatch of land.
Noah uses a seed, from the Garden of Eden, given to him by Methuselah and upon planting it in the ground, entire forests begin to grow to which the Rock Transformer’s take as a sign and agree to help Noah fulfill his calling to build an Ark because he believes that the Creator is set to cleanse the world of mankind’s wickedness and only the innocents will be spared from the animals to Noah’s family. So yeah, the Rock Transformers work for years on end helping to build Noah’s Ark.
Upon hearing of this ark, Tubal-cain rears his ugly head once again and is perplexed and angry that Noah will not allow him to be among the passengers (surprise, surprise) though thanks to the Rock Transformers, he and his army retreats waiting for the oncoming flood for him to make his move on Noah’s compound.
To be fair, there are some decent character moments such as the desire from Noah’s wife for her other two sons to have wives of their own with Ila having fallen for Shem and also a storyline concerning Ila’s inability to conceive due to her injuries as a child.
Alright, so Darren Aronofsky’s epic Noah flounders and thrashes with a bloated story, some hammy acting at times and just a storyline overall that is really dumb and downright stupid. Add to that you have a main character who, by the third act, I was rooting against and prayed somebody would finally kick him overboard. This isn’t really Crowe’s fault so much as, once again, a screenplay that somehow made it through studio scrutiny (though I guess with Aronofsky’s critical successes, studios are willing to overlook any shortcomings).
As far as the acting goes, Russell Crowe for his part is fine and frankly there aren’t many others who could’ve done it better all things considered; Jennifer Connelly is more or less filler but in the third act her line deliveries tended to be forced and even downright awful at times; and the kids/young adults are OK and honestly, as with Crowe, I’m not sure if anyone would’ve improved things…
All in all, I approached Noah with an open-mind and even taking away that it is a movie inspired by the Biblical story, it’s a mess of a film with elements that were either silly, stupid, melodramatic or downright confusing and when you toss in the rock monsters who serve only as manual labor to build the ark and you’ve got yourself something wild… and not in a good way when adding in the fact the story is already bloated to the point where the flood and ark-launch happen halfway into the picture
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover. Inside is the standard DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital Copy (both UltraViolet and iTunes).
In terms of actual features, there’s only about an hour’s worth of material which is limited given the scope of the production:
Iceland: Extreme Beauty (20:40; HD) covers the filming locales for the production providing behind-the-scenes footage and on-location interviews.
The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits (19:46; HD) and The Ark Interior: Animals Two by Two (19:55; HD) looks at the creation and building of the ark and just the amount of detail that went into it.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Noah rides the Blu-ray waves presented in its original 1.85 theatrical widescreen aspect ratio (MPEG-4 AVC codec) and sporting a visually pleasing 1080p high-definition transfer. Detail levels throughout looks excellent from close-up angles to even distant shots. Colors vary from scene to scene with almost orange glows in some (like on the ark) to a more saturated look outside and even over stylized visuals such as when the creation story is told, showing off Aronofsky’s style.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
The movie comes with a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track which helps showcase the array of audio the filmprovides from the quieter moments for dialogue-driven moments to the more action-centric scenes like when the flood and storms hit providing the track for some excellent depth.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Noah might’ve received high praise from some critics but for myself, I didn’t find much of this all that entertaining from the asinine storyline, the bizarre rock creatures who seemed to belong in a Peter Jackson movie and most of all a lead character who by movie’s end was rooting against. The film is also terribly bloated and a lot of material could’ve been trimmed or removed.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.