It’s no wonder that Warner Brothers canned the remaining press screenings of Point Break and moved the embargo break date to Christmas Day. They want to bury the reviews for this remake-gone-amok in a festive avalanche of holiday cheer. So long as word doesn’t get out that Ericson Core‘s completely unwarranted remake of Kathryn Bigelow‘s action-packed breakout hit is indeed a completely unwarranted remake, they might still stand a chance of picking some unsuspecting pockets. Read More
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone
Glenn Beck has spoken. “Noah is just ridiculous,” Beck preached, going so far as to call the message contained within Darren Aronofsky‘s biblical blockbuster “danger disinformation.” Wise words from a man defending a story involving “the Creator” committing genocide against humankind, save for a 600-year old hero and his family (Genesis 7:6). For the creationist talk show host, ridiculousness exists only outside the confines of the Bible. But Beck is onto something.
No matter which side of the religious fence you fall on, you gotta admit that the story of Noah is more than a touch on the absurdist side. Even those interpreting the text at face value have to scrunch their face at Noah’s epic longevity. I mean the oldest man recorded on Earth weighed in at a whopping 123-years old and he can barely move, much less build an arc the size of the Empire State Building. At over five times that age, Noah puts your buff gramps to shame.
In what is one of the most well known Bible verses, Noah actually sets sail in his iconic arc on his 600th birthday. In Aronofsky’s film, Noah is played by 49-year old Russell Crowe, who during the duration of the film rifles through four different hair styles (a ploy to maximize action figures, I hope). Though 21st century scientists claim that a vegetarian diet will help you live longer and healthier lives, I’m seriously doubting that Noah’s hardcore vegan sensibilities led him to such preposterous supercentenarian status. Then again, his contemporaries do tear live animals apart by the chuck and seemingly consume them raw. Let’s just say, it’s a rough society.
Seeing that people are such dicks in Noah’s day, “the Creator” (who is never actually referred to in Aronofsky’s film as “God”) decides to put an end to the experiment that was humans. While his plans to cleanse the Earth with a devastating flood are explicitly stated in the Bible (“I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” Genesis 6:13), this Noah’s communion with God involves more foreshadowing nightmares and less bright light and disembodied voices. Noah even has to visit grandpappy Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) and trip out on some mushroom tea to realize “the Creator’s” design. Again, Crowe’s got it much harder than the Noah of the bible, for whom God lays out a list of materials and all the dimensions needed to build an arc capable of surviving his super hardcore flood. Apparently, God is quite the carpenter. Like father, like son.
But while Noah’s passage in the bible lasts only a handful of paragraphs, Aronofsky’s film stretches past the two-hour mark, allowing him ample opportunity to probe themes of good, evil and redemption. Though Genesis’s brief layout of Noah’s saga makes no mention of what actually went down in the year-long period where Noah and his family vegged out on the arc or how a guy six centuries old and his small, nuclear family could construct a boat big enough to house not only every single animal on earth but two of them, this is where Aronofsky gets imaginative.
With so little information to draw from, he’s got a license to frill. And though his interpretation may be hard to swallow for Bibleites and non-believers alike, remember, Aronofsky’s is a thematic fable. Rock monsters may invoke cries of nonsense in the real world but have their place within the framework of Aronofsky’s tale of redemption. Without the word of God whispering how to turn a magical forest into a big ass boat, it’s no wonder that Noah’s final product looks more like a wood shipping container than the arc of lore. Even the titular hero himself is a far cry from the bent-back and bearded saint from story books and Veggie Tales VHS’s. Instead, he’s a victim of his era, traumatized and dangerously devout.
From the grassroots inception of the film, Aronofsky talked at length about how he saw Noah as the world’s first environmentalist and environmentalist he is. Thanks to the lack of communication between Noah and “the Creator,” we see a man driven mad by his interpretation of His superior will. One could make the argument that Noah’s an eco-terrorist. Just about willing to commit infanticide for the good of the animals, the guy would make a great PETA president. He’s a man caught between divine will and his own humanity and the crossroads takes its toll. In this trademark reveal of fleeting sanity, Aronofsky puts his stamp on an ageless story.
Even though Russell is shown up at times by co-star Jennifer Connelly, and the film (like Noah) could use a good shave here and there, Aronfoksy and his crew of technical wizards are never off the mark from a visual standpoint. The tested and proved time lapse shot is often effective for imbuing a sense of passage but what they’ve done here is next level: painterly and epic, an epitaph to natural beauty. Even the CGI is used in fitful splashes, more the result of necessity than Aronofsky succumbing to overkill.
Noah lacks the signature claustrophobia of Aronofsky’s finest work but the eerie character turns we’ve come to expect from him are most certainly in play. His auteur touch and rich investigative storytelling gives life to a tale that could have been as dead as the bloated corpses we see polluted the sea. As Aronofsky tries to make sense of an emotional parable, often achieving such in stunning visual terms, Noah is a messy, disaster epic that works as a character study and red-blooded fantasy both.
Noah suffered a bit of a leak yesterday with a handicam version of its trailer ravaging the web (thank God its nothing as serious as a leak in an ark). In a response to that leak, Regency has released the long awaited trailer for a saga centuries in the making. Based on the Biblical story but without an overwhelmingly religious bent, Noah stars Russell Crowe as the bible hero who receive word from God that the time of man has come to an end and he and his family alone must build a massive arc to survive the coming flood. Noah’s family is made up of Oscar-winners Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife Naameh and Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah, young stars Emma Watson and Logan Lerman as Noah’s children and Ray Winstone as a wrathful villain set to stop Noah.
To execute his epic vision of an epic story, Darren Aronofsky worked on a budget of epic proportions with production reportedly costing a bit shy of $130 million (before marketing.) Known only for little independent projects, Aronosky has never worked with a budget over $35 million, which he got for his failed passion project The Fountain, Noah is a whole new ballgame for the auteur.
His last film, Black Swan, was not only a critical darling but it made nearly $107 million dollars domestically on a $13 million dollar budget. Aided by a massive overseas push, the film grossed just shy of $330 million total, making Black Swan a triumphant success. For that staggering financial win that saw a nearly 3000% return, Noah was his reward.
And us audience members are in store for our own reward with this totally sweet trailer for Noah. I haven’t watched the whole thing because I don’t want to spoil too much but just peeking around it, it looks nothing less than amazing.
Noah is directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Kevin Durand, Douglas Booth and Dakota Goyo. It storms into theaters March 28, 2014.