Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Movie Review: "Noah" (2014)

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Director: Darren Aronofsky
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

The world has become overrun with sinners, those who are descendants of Cain, who only live to feed their primitive desires. Noah (Russell Crowe) and his family are some of the last descendants of Seth, and try to live a righteous life. Noah starts to have visions he believes are messages from “The Creator”. He believes The Creator is planning to bring judgment on mankind by wiping them from the Earth with a great flood. He has been told that he and his family are to build an arc in order to rescue all the land-dwelling animals of the world. This is a daunting task for such a small group, but luckily he has “The Watchers” to help. The Watchers are a group of fallen angels that have defied The Creator by trying to help mankind and have, in turn, been cursed to live as giant rock monsters. Noah and his family must build the arc, defend it from the descendants of Cain (who wish to claim it as their own), and eventually survive the flood itself.

Darren Aronofsky has taken on the daunting task of bringing his vision of the story of Noah to life on the big screen. Many people hate this movie, and many people like this movie, but regardless, there is a lot of controversy surrounding it. Throughout the 2 hours and 18 minute run time, the word "God" is never uttered once in the film. We don't understand why this is a controversy since "The Creator" is used in its place. The Creator obviously implies a divine being of some sort. Another source of controversy is the way Noah communicated with The Creator. Instead of conversing directly with The Creator, Noah has dreams and visions of the fate of man and how he is to save the animals. Noah is also treated as almost an anti-hero and a zealot at some parts in the film, mainly towards the end of the movie during the destruction of mankind. The biggest controversy of them all is "The Watchers," who have become giant rock monsters after defying The Creator. It is interesting to note that before this movie came out, we saw several trailers where The Watchers were omitted even in scenes where they appear. We are firm believers in watching movies and judging for yourself, and just like all literary adaptations, it is not a direct adaptation of what is written, but one director's vision of how he interprets what is written.

All of this aside, the movie is captivating, riveting and a visual treat. Aronofsky adds his flair and darkness throughout the movie. Also, he doesn't exactly shy away from the theory of evolution. In the middle of the film, when Noah is retelling the story of Creation, Aronofsky felt fit to parallel the Christian story of Creation with the Big Band theory and the theory of evolution. It was not only a fascinating scene but an interesting choice to make, considering the source material and pre-release criticism.

All of the animals are clearly CGI'ed, and this is probably one of the most glaring downfalls we think this movie faces. We have said before that it's hard to CGI something tangible and already in existence. Well, you can spot a fake snake from a mile away. That being said, things like the ark, the rain, the floods, and The Watchers were all done with magnificent CGI.

There is a lot of intensity and emotion throughout this film, and Russell Crowe delivers a powerful performance as Noah. Overall, we really enjoyed this movie, though I felt like it was a bit too long. People who are secular, as well as open-minded religious followers, will enjoy this movie if they take it with a grain of salt. It is not the be all end all. Just remember, it's only a movie. Enjoy it for what it is and we doubt you'll be disappointed.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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