I want to preface this review by saying that I would never have gone to see a film like this if I had had to pay for it. I knew from the trailers what my reaction to this movie would be, and I wasn’t disappointed. Part of me actually was hoping to be surprised by this film, but nope, it lived down to my expectations and then some. With the director of this movie being a pretty good director, I was hoping for something better. Alas, this movie was just as bad as I thought it would be, and then some. All the critical praise I’m seeing from people I think is from them not wanting to piss off the psycho-fundie crowd, but I do mean to explain why I don’t like this film, so it doesn’t just sound like I’m bitching. Without further ado, let’s get started.
So, the plot of this film takes a lot of liberties with the biblical story (that was already flawed to begin with, I mean, why are almost all the marsupials in Australia? But I digress…). It tells the story of Noah and how he has himself a vision about a flood and decides to build a boat. They gloss over his age, which is a major plot-hole in the source material (for real, a 600 year old man does not make an ark), and have him coming into conflict with a local tribe who thinks that Noah is building a fortress of some kind. There is also a sub-plot involving Emma Watson’s (whose talent is wasted in this movie) character and her infertility, which is resolved in one of the weirdest ways I have seen in a long time.
So, what did I like about this movie? Well, the music was great. For real, the composer for this film knew what they were doing. It lent some of the passage-of-time scenes a lot of believability due to just how expertly those scenes were handled. When I look at the rest of the cinematography in this film, seeing something this good is pretty surprising. Which is another thing to add – the scenes with the changing seasons are actually really good. It shows of potential that this film would have had, if it had been in the hands of a director who had more balls than Aronofsky.
Now, on to the negatives. First, the visuals. A lot of critics are praising the special effects in this film. In fact, that seems to be one of the biggest selling points that keeps coming up. Like they can’t think of anything outside of that. And I can see why. For real, it reminded me of all the praise that was heaped on the visuals in “Avatar,” which was another film that sucked. Ironically, that story was a religious allegory to a story in the Bible. Neat how that works. But for me, the visuals were so over-the-top. It didn’t look good. I can at least acknowledge that Avatar looked amazing. For real, it did. But with this film, the fake water and the fake everything just go tedious after a while. The set designs were boring, so there wasn’t really anything to look at outside of the water that suddenly just bursts from the ground for no reason, except to move the plot forward.
Then there is the story. I won’t spoil anything for you (even though there’s nothing of value to spoil), but this film was really weird in its depiction of how God works. And this is Old Testament God. Granted, both of them are totally nuts, but I don’t get how this would work even with Old Testament God. Next, there is the fact that Anthony Hopkins’ (another person whose talent is wasted in this movie) character is a wizard. For real, they never explain where his magical powers come from. I mean, I could assume that it’s God, but they never really explain, which makes the fact that he has really random and weird powers just that much more confusing. But he isn’t even the worst character. Oh, and the entire plot with the evil bad guy was totally pointless. For real, it served no purpose and could have been edited out of the film.
The worst character in this film, by far, is the titular one. Noah is a complete psycho in this movie. For real, this guy goes off on some crazy and really evil tangents, in association with Emma Watson’s character. I could just spoil it for you and say what his evil tangent is, but if you really want to, it’s something you have to see to believe. But yeah, for being a really holy man, I am really skeptical of how good he actually is. Especially after what he threatens Emma Watson’s character with. They also tie it in to both gender-bias and God in a really weird and kind of creepy way. It is kind of off-putting how they justify this tangent and makes God sound even more wacko than he already does, deciding to murder all the men,women, children and babies of the world to get back at himself (for real, he’s mad at himself for making man, so he kills everyone to get back at himself. The logic is just…amazing).
This movie also tries to dabble in science. For real, they have some things that show evolution, but they cut it off at a weird point, leaving one to wonder – are you just not showing this because of the negative press that evolution gets? If so, why are you having it at all in a story about Noah’s Ark? If we’re just supposed to accept this flawed premise at face value, why put it in there? For real, the scene served no purpose and would most likely alienate the bulk of the audience it was supposed to appeal to. Or at least, the people who would like it more than I do, because it still has all the problems of the biblical story and how insane it is.
I said before that I think the reason that this film is getting a lot of great press is because of the ties to religion and film critics not wanting to piss those people off. Much the same way as a lot of critics were loathe to say bad things about “Passion of the Christ.” But take it from me, this film was painful to sit through. I like Darron Aronofsky as a filmmaker. I really do. But this was just garbage, from start to finish. See at your own risk.
3 out of 10