Saturday, March 29, 2014

Noah review

In the beginning there was nothing. And then there were movies, and they were good.
Noah tells the age old story of Noah's Ark. God makes man. Man turns evil. God entrusts Noah, the one good man, to build a boat and save all of the animals. Noah builds boat. God floods Earth. Humanity starts anew. We've all heard the story a million times before, and it's been made into numerous films. Why would anyone want to see it rehashed again? Believe me, if it weren't for the guy directing Noah, I would never have even considered seeing it. Darren Aronofsky is a pretty great director. I haven't seen everything he's done, but I've seen enough to know he's talented as hell and can make a damn good movie. Requiem for a Dream was the best anti-drug film I've seen since Trainspotting, and the most effective one I may have ever seen. Pi was weird, but also a work of sheer genius. Therefore, I trusted Aronofsky to make a decent film without just repeating what's already been said a million times before. Basically, I was looking to Mr. Aronofsky to do more than just tell the story. Which, despite some issues, is exactly what he has done. The film starts out in the beginning. The VERY beginning. Before everything. It goes on to tell the basic history leading up to Noah himself. God creating the world, Adam and Eve eating the apple, and Cain killing Abel. Cain spawned a whole civilization load of ancestors, all of them horrible criminals and barbarians. Only Seth, Cain's other brother, was able to have some decent offspring. The last of the line of Seth, is Noah and his family. They are an honest and devout people in a strange world of scavengers, cannibals, and warriors. Noah's family lives a life of wandering, just getting enough food to survive. All while fighting off bandits and various undesirable people. That is, until Noah has a dream. In the dream, God tells him to build an ark. So, he does. Noah builds the ark with the help of some giant fallen angels, called The Watchers, and after some intense battles with some of the sons of Cain, the Earth floods and he sets sail. Obviously, at this point Aronofsky needs to create some real story. Noah just chilling on a boat for two hours wouldn't really cut it. So, he adds in some drama like having Noah's adopted daughter get pregnant. And there's a stowaway on the ship. All that does feel a tad contrived, but it's not for naught. While uneven feeling at times, these events move the story along at a quick pace and allow for the movie to go places where it really does need to go. The plot can get messy, but Aronofsky is skilled enough to clean up what he can towards the end. Plus, his near flawless direction helps a lot. There's also a sub plot involving Noah's son Ham that I found to be fairly interesting and well done. Noah relies heavily on CGI for its visuals, but Aronofsky uses the CGI very well. CGI in the wrong hands can result in something like Transformers 3 or the Star Wars prequels. Darren Aronofsky om the other hand, uses his CGI to make beautifully striking images of the vast and expansive ocean that covers the Earth and the universe that lies beyond. He handles this movie more like it's a fantasy epic, and less like a Bible story. Which in turn makes it more interesting and much more admirable. Anyone can adapt a Bible story, it's been done since movies were invented. But I've yet to see someone be so creative and brave when making a biblical film. It feels incredibly clunky at parts and it's messy at times, but in the end it's kind of astounding. I walked out of the theater feeling hopeful. Not necessarily for humanity, but for the movie industry. Noah is a project Aronofsky is obviously passionate about. Because of his deep commitment to the project, and the amount of money he was given, Noah has become something more than a Biblical epic or church movie. Something else entirely. Aronofsky has humanized the character of Noah. He's made him angry, and scared, and a little bit insane. He's not the Bible thumping do-gooder portrayed in those Sunday school cartoons. He's a damaged man holding on to the weak threads reality, like many of the characters in Aronofsky's films. That's what makes this movie so powerful and so awesome. Russell Crowe gives a stellar performance in the title role, which certainly helps. Noah building his ark is a portrayed as a massive undertaking that takes a lot of faith, passion, and time. The film is a lot like that, with Darren Aronofsky as Noah. Unsure of his success, he goes forth with the massive project of making something grand. I think it's safe to say he has succeeded. Whether you're a devout believer or not doesn't matter, Noah is much more than a Bible movie and can be experienced as so. It's far from perfect, but it's the best job that probably can be done. I applaud Aronofsky for his skill and effort. Noah isn't his best film, but it's his most ambitious and it's certainly his biggest. I can congratulate him on ambition alone, the fact that he has succeeded in some sense is really astounding. So yes, the movie is good. I give Noah 3.9 out of 5 stars. Happy Viewing. If you haven't done so already, you can follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at      


  1. Spot on review, Whit. Glad you enjoyed this one, as did I. :)

    1. Thanks man! I thought it was pretty great also.

  2. If you go in with an open-mind expecting anything, then I think it'll be worth it. It's just a strange film. Good review Whit.