Noah – A Flood Of Controversy, But Not Worth It – Review

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Russell Crowe Noah

Photo Courtesy Paramount

And, on the 8th day, it was declared, “Let there be controversy!”

Russell Crowe stars as Noah – a descendant of Seth, who was the other kid from Adam and Eve who wasn’t named Cain or Abel. While the descendants of Cain went off and created the industrial world with all sorts of sin and depravity, Noah and his family are living in the desert.

Noah is an environmentalist vegan (and I bet he wears a robe made out of hemp) who wants to keep his family separate from all of that trouble. Plus, the descendants of Cain want to kill him.

One night, Noah has a vision of death and flooding and blood and stuff, so he heads off to see his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), to learn what all of this means.

To help clarify it all, Methuselah roofies Noah, which leads to the hippie environmentalist vegan having another vision which makes it clear to him that The Creator wants him to build an arky arky because there is going to be a floody floody.

Is this flood supposed to rid the Earth of humanity or save it?

Just to see Noah, I had to wade through a flood of controversy. According to whom you believe, either Paramount didn’t want me to see it, or someone needs to learn how to properly use email. I just wish it was worth all of the hassle.

Noah starts strong, and director/writer Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel even toss in a bit of a prologue to explain creationism for all of those who only attended public school (I kid, I kid!). However, once on the arky arky the story gets a bit ploddy ploddy and scary scary.

Maybe if I paid more attention in church I would better know what parts of this were in the Bible, and what was made up for the movie (had to do plenty of post-movie research for this one).  Just call me a blasphemer or heretic if you must. Yet, knowing your Bible or not, it’s kind of obvious Noah is a big, bloated movie with the blessings of some good scenes and some good actors who can’t overcome the left turn the whole story takes.

In a nod to being a big blockbuster kind of movie with lots of action, the special effects do amaze at times. The massive scene of people and animals all heading to the ark as the storm begins is on a scale unlike what you would expect, and the opening sequence introducing Noah and his beliefs sets the stage well for the main conflict that will be waged. And, you never have to wait too long for the fisticuffs to fly!

Crowe is good, even when Noah starts to go mad and become the kind of religious zealot that would be starting his own cult (and maybe he is by putting his whole family on the ark, while humanity is condemned). It’s an extremely dark turn for the story, and Crowe is an actor who makes the commitment to go there, which magnifies how out of place it all feels.

Don’t blame Crowe. He’s a good actor who fills Noah with the kind of gravitas needed to be a hero, ferociousness to kick some booty when needed, and nuttiness when we see Noah becoming unhinged.

I blame Aronofsky for wanting to use the Noah brand name, but not embracing it.

I can hear some people screaming about how this movie is not authentic because it doesn’t stick to the Bible story, even having characters avoiding the word “God” (many of my critic pals say the name God was uttered once, but I missed that fleeting moment). Mostly, The Creator is substituted for God, which is only one way it feels like Aronofksy and Handel are walking some thin line between wanting to embrace the Bible story to heighten interest in the film, but trying to distance this movie from it as well by adding stuff that is not from the Bible and altering some of the characters by giving them motivations that were not present. I can understand creative license and all, but this is going a bit too far.

Noah is portrayed as some big action hero most of the time in a movie that wants to be more of a big spectacle than inspiration for the worshippers. I guess how much you like the movie depends on what you expect to get out of it.

2waffles_sml2 Waffles (Out of 4)

Noah is rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.

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