Friday, March 28, 2014

Noah?...ah No!

Darren Aronofsky's Noah was released today. Widely anticipated but with many critics cautious about its cinematic clout at the box office, the wait is over and the result is underwhelming.

Instead of a clear account of the biblical epic, we have a mish-mash of many of the Noah/Great Flood narratives from across the world. Instead of some acceptable creative license for an admittedly lean story we have, for all intents and purposes, a completely new story that cannibalizes its origin. Instead of the anticipated return of the "biblical epic", we have a part-sci-fi, part-60's nature documentary, part-silhouette puppet, part-psycho-thriller, and part-bleak apocalyptic yarn. Noah, rather than the wise, faithful, strong prophet who spoke for God, was merely a delusional psychotic. And Methuselah, reported to be the oldest living man ever to walk the face of the earth, was reduced to a comical bit-part, as a berry-picking hermit.

This movie had so many mixed messages that it was clear that either this movie was an attempt to pander to all religions and cultures, including atheists, or it was just too afraid to pick one version of the story and tell that story.
God was called "The Creator" throughout as a nod to the Aboriginals and Creationists and the message for them appeared to be that nature was in control, possibly through a creator. Darwinism and "survival of the fittest" was introduced in an attempt to pander to the scientific atheists and the message was clearly the fittest will survive and that God, if he does exist, is a killer and not to be followed but rather, ignored. There was enough mention of Judo-Christian elements to suggest they were also trying to please that base but clearly they were not the main audience as they brutalized the traditional story and for the life of me I cannot see how any one particular group can come out of this pleased with the results. I suspect the familiar, faithful Noah was made a murderous madman in an effort to create a storyline for strong women to emerge from. But in truth, even the women still end up being the subject of infanticide, are left to die and ultimately, are only secondary characters.

The cinematography is both bold and bleak, helping contrast the old world to be destroyed with the new world to emerge. The acting is acceptable but never outstanding and while if you ask an expert, the special effects would likely be described as technically superb, visually I was never really wowed. And neither the cinematography or special effects were enough to save this cinematic ark from sinking.
So you ask me - should you go see Noah.
Ah?...That's a No!.


Bill said...

Great review Greg. We saw it last night and my departing comment was that the principle similarity between this movie and the biblical story is that both had a boat and a man named NOAH.

Essentially God destroyed the world because of mining and man destroying the environment.


Holden Days said...

Bill I agree and like your environmental assessment. Very true.