The Movie Scab Reviews: "Noah."
"The scab you're picking at is called execution."
--American film producer Scott Rudin.
Monkey Boy gives Noah 1 Ack! out of 5!
Monkey Boy and I hated, absolutely hated, Darren Aronofsky's overrated, pretentious, predictable, so-dumb-it's-hard-to-believe art-house-crap-fest Black Swan. (Read my review.) It’s so awful it makes Noah look like Citizen Kane.
The things that saved Noah from becoming Black Swan—the sole reason Monkey Boy gave Noah one Ack!—is because of the creatures that I have decided to call the Ent-rock-monsters from Lord of the Rings. It is clear that they were stolen from Peter Jackson’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but anything stolen from Peter Jackson and/or Tolkien is going to be pretty cool and so Noah gets 1 Ack!
But wait, no, stop, stop, stop: Ent-rock-monsters? Really? That's the best Aronofsky and his special effects department could come up with? The Never Ending Story did it better and without CGI and that was twenty years ago.
Now, if you want to get “Aronofsky-atheist-biblical,” the Ent-rock-monsters are fallen angels that have humanity’s best interest at heart. I should point out that, by tradition, fallen angels do not have humanity’s best interest at heart, but still, it’s a pretty cool and provocative idea. The problem isn’t with the idea. It’s the fallen angel design. They couldn’t imagine something more fantastic, something we’ve never seen before, they had to do rock-monsters that talked and kind of moved like Ents? Or Rock Biters? What’s going on here? Don’t we have CGI today that can make just about anything we imagine look real? Or does Hollywood have one special effects studio that uses the same design crew over and over and that’s why we see the same kind of CGI design in almost every movie?
I don’t get it. The strangest thing to me.
In any case, even though the Ent-rock-monsters/Rock Biters were laugh-out-loud funny because they’re such a visual cliché, I admit that I liked them all the same and I even felt compassion for them—and that’s all good and why I found the first half of the movie entertaining enough. But. Entertaining enough isn’t enough.
It’s clear to me that they should have stuck to the original story. Now, look, they could have added all sorts of interesting and fun things, could have gone all Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth—had tons of room to play with—but for the movie to work and satisfy sticking to the basic story and staying true to the world in which that story exists was the right choice. Throwing in modern conceits was not a good idea (evolution, save the planet from people, etc). Noah wouldn't tell the evolution story. He'd tell the creation story. (Aronofsky is telling the evolution story.) Noah’s job wasn’t to end humanity. His job was to save humanity and the animals. (Aronofsky is telling us the planet is better off without humanity.) So it’s like Aronofsky’s made a movie about the Noah story and thumbed his nose at the story at the same time, which is what the modern conceits do, and that’s disingenuous and agenda driven bad storytelling.
Worse yet, the movie wants to have it both ways: In the first half, humanity is getting wiped out because we suck. But then it flip-flops and pounds us in the face (Aronofsky does not do subtle) with the message that we’re worth saving because we don’t suck. Well, which is it, Aronofsky? We suck or we don’t suck, I’m confused? And the flip-flop messes with Aronofsky’s agenda: The creator tells Noah we suck so he’s going to wipe us all out and give the earth back to the happy, innocent animals. Yay! Humanity is evil. Nature is good. The earth will be better off without us—modern environmental agenda. But wait a minute. Wait a freakin’ minute. The second half of the movie is a sermon on why humanity should be saved because… we don’t suck. Huh? Well, which is it, Aronofsky? And maybe he thought that was pretty clever, doing the ol’ switcheroo halfway through the movie, creator/Noah good, creator/Noah bad, and maybe he thought he was doing the biblical Moral Test thing, but I don’t care. It doesn’t work at all, it’s a muddled-up mess, and by the end of the movie I wanted the creator and Noah to kill everybody and everything, do what Charlton Heston did in Beneath the Planet of the Apes and blow up the entire planet and just start over.
As to the modern conceits and trying to have it both ways: Monkey Boy and I laughed out loud—again—when the evolving animals turned into a monkey that leaped from a tree and then, flash! We saw Adam and Eve—laughed out loud. The filmmakers want us to think that maybe Adam and Eve evolved into Adam and Eve or… maybe they didn’t. Talk about trying to have it both ways. Come on, if you’re going to totally screw with the original story, go full-bore crazy or tell the classic tale as it’s always been told. Pick one and stick with it.
But here’s what sinks Noah like the Titanic: The last half of the movie has the Noah family floating around and complaining and whining and fighting with one another. So freakin' dumb, boring and tedious I wanted God--er, sorry--I wanted the creator (small “c”) to tell Noah to kill Aronofsky! And while they're at it, they should have killed Noah's whiny-assed son too, the one who wanted to kill his father because he couldn't get any T and A before the storm hit. Talk about an entitled millennial. And if God and Noah won't do it (because we're all so good inside), I'll do it. I will kill that whiny-assed son of Noah's and I will enjoy it because I am an intellectually honest human-being-moviegoer who knows that humanity is no good and Noah’s whiny-assed son ruined the entire movie with his selfish sniveling and sulking. I wanted one of those Ent-rock-monsters to step on him and get it over with. That would have been more satisfying than watching that little entitled snot snivel and sulk and plan to kill his father for months and months, and months, as the boat floated around and the Noah family fought with one another because he didn't get any T and A!
I think it's clear that Aronofsky has the same problem that M. Night Shyamalan and the Wachowski's have: Overrated one hit wonders, the lot of ‘em. And if this post upsets you because I gave too much away and didn't say "spoiler alert," let me tell you what happens at the end: The boat sinks. Just like this movie.
My rating: Fill your swimming pool with a Noah, i.e., Amaretto, ice cubes, orange juice and lemon-lime soda. Pretend your yellow rubber duck inflatable is the ark and float onto your pool-sized drink. Use a long straw and imbibe your Noah until you start to see Ent-rock-monsters and believe the planet would be better off without human beings on it and then lay your hard earned money down and get ready to be bludgeoned by a preachy, flip-flopping, nature-loving sledgehammer called Darren Aronofsky and… enjoy.