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Noah Way, Jose – A review of Noah
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Run Time: 138 minutes
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins
Summary: The Bible contains a plethora of stories that would resonate on the big screen, but even the venerable book can become victim to Hollywood’s excess and rewriting of a classic tale of sin and retribution.
Why does Hollywood always feel the need to change the outcome of every book or story it rewrites?
Far too often, whenever Hollywood writers and directors get their hands on a book or short story, they routinely change the ending (or sometimes the entire tale) in their efforts to promote originality for their movie going audiences.
After all, what fun is it when audiences already know the ending of the story, right?
On the other hand, when we’re familiar with the ending, it doesn’t always detract from the movie going audience’s experience. Case in point: We all knew Titanic would sink, but the movie was still incredibly popular.
So, now, along comes Darren Aronofsky, who was the creative mind behind the uber-chilling Black Swan a couple of years ago that turned Star Wars teen queen Natalie Portman into a disturbed psycho.
Now he’s managed to turn a venerable tale of biblical sin and retribution into a morality play about the failings and frailty of the human condition.
More attention is paid to the efforts to redefine the story of the ark as an environmental parable than the simpler and morally less ambiguous story that we have come to learn from in the classic biblical story from the book of Genesis.
Russell Crowe is a strong and accomplished actor who one could almost believe could be the savior of humanity. That is, until the supernatural elements of the concocted story enter the picture.
To my recollection, Noah and his family built the ark to save humanity and the animals. Here, though, he is assisted by a host of stone giants who are actually fallen angels consigned by the creator to live out their lives encrusted in solid rock.
In that essence, the story is one of redemption, not only for humankind, but for the fallen angels as well.
However, the story deviates from the biblical variant far too significantly once the rains begin to fall and the ark is loaded with its precious cargo. In the biblical story, we know who is on board the vessel. Here though, the passenger list aboard the ark is significantly altered from what we know of history.
I will say this much. The casting is quite impressive. Crowe admirably handles the abortionalized material with gusto and Jennifer Connelly reunites with her A Beautiful Mind co-star with the necessary reverence to portray Noah’s wife Naameh.
It’s not likely that many actresses could believably stand up to Crowe and the creator to voice their own opinions in a tale such as this, but Connelly manages to pull that off with integrity.
Emma Watson plays adopted daughter Ila who is attracted to eldest son Shem, thus establishing one of the younger generations of saved humanity. However, in one of the story arcs, allusions are made that wives must be found for younger siblings Ham and Japheth.
That unfortunately is one element that is not satisfactorily dealt with here. Or perhaps I’m just thinking that the solution is disquieting at best.
Ray Winstone’s character Tubal Cain comes across almost as a caricature of evil in the story. He’s been added as a footnote that the story required someone misguided onto which to hinge the failings of humanity but his character is sorely underutilized.
And Anthony Hopkins, who plays Noah’s grandfather Methuselah is also almost an afterthought. He comes and goes through the first part of the story as a plot exclamation point, adding no true value to the character or the storyline.
The visuals are certainly impressive, but when it comes to the retelling of this story which we all must be familiar with, having heard it at some point in our lives, personally, I say skip this version and read a Good Book instead.
I give Noah 2 out of 5 stars.