Sometimes you wait for the dollar theatre because you suspect that a movie won’t be worth the full price of admittance for a first run movie. Noah was one of those for us. We’d heard conflicting reviews from friends and family, though the Rotten Tomatoes score was decent. It definitely wasn’t one on our ‘must-see’ list. But the wife and I wanted a cheap outing the other night and Noah it was.
I went in wanting to like the film. Darren Aronofsky is a talented guy and the backstory of the flood has always held a deep fascination for me. So, as a few initial misses piled up, I was still hoping for a decent experience as the movie went along. Instead the pile up became a wreck of immense proportions. Let us count a few of the mangled corpses along the way:
Joy- its compete absence. I suppose that the death of the vast majority of the human race isn’t exactly ripe for joy, but a monotone of base despair doesn’t exactly make for a scintillating movie experience. Russell Crowe’s Noah starts his story of the movie watching the casual murder of his father from hiding and just goes downhill emotionally from there. Storytelling is creating studies in contrasts and this movie had little hope attempting to resist the downward gravity of its base premise.
Character Arc- similarly Noah experiences little to no character progression in the film. Other than experiencing despair and barely struggling out from under it, Noah is a one-note character study in grief.
Villans- Ray Winstone as Tubal Cain has a certain flair for evil, but again is monotone and monotonous. While impressively persistent, he exhibits no progression or change over the course of the story. He delights in his mastery over others and power of the world but his two-dimensionality rivals a paper doll.
Anthony Hopkins- while his Methuselah seems to be the only one in the movie having any fun, he in the end is still wasted on this role.
The Watchers- the ridiculous animation of these mysterious figures of scripture renders any possibility of taking them seriously impossible. In an otherwise well rendered film visually, these creatures are saturday morning cartoon fare pasted into a Hollywood blockbuster.
Ham/Logan Lerman- Ug. The ridiculous narrative around this character made it a tough acting job, but Logan made it appear as painful as possible.
A few things stand out from the surrounding dreck to be somewhat enjoyable. Emma Watson makes the most of her role, though the called for emotional range is narrow. A few of the special effects, especially with the water, were very interesting and visually arresting. Some of the outside shots were dramatic and the natural beauty of Methuselah’s home was spectacular. But thats about it. Not much to like here.
And the thing is, my wife liked it substantially less than I did. Easily worst movie of the year for her.
Considering the talent and money that went into this production, it stands out for it it’s inability to translate those assets into any kind of compelling narrative. Big two thumbs down from us.