Wow. That was my word when I left the movie, and not in a good way. First, because I thought that the movie was based on the biblical story of Noah (I later found out it was based on a graphic novel written by film director Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel). However, aside from that, the movie is so melodramatic, I felt like I was watching a soap opera.
Key issues I had with the movie:
Animal rights are more important than human rights.
Noah is portrayed as a religious extremist: an extreme environmentalist and an extreme servant of the Creator who wants to follow his will to the T, but doesn’t really receive enough instruction to do so. Noah is the first member of PETA, specifically the amped up B.C. version of PETA. The film contains a lot of “Humans are bad because they destroy and eat meat so let’s just save the animals because they’re innocent and kill all the humans” and that is disturbing. Especially because I am a self proclaimed carnivore. If animal rights drive one to the point of almost murdering family members, maybe one should relocate to Mars to hang out with some aliens and put those worries to rest.
Side Note: This goes along with the unfortunately modern perspective of valuing animals more than human. For instance, I don’t understand why you can save a kid in Africa for 50 cents or less a day, but you have to pay $18 a month to save a battered animal. That is mind boggling to me, but moving on…
Mysticism gone wrong.
The fact that Noah needs to see his mystical and slightly crazy grandfather Methuselah to know what to do, is weird. And the incorporation of Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) in the story is awkward because it’s almost as if his role doesn’t really matter. Instead of having God in the movie, the Creator is a combination of visions and Methuselah, specifically when Methuselah fixates on berries, trips people out on drugs to induce visions, and practices magic.
As some reviewers said, Noah is best appreciated as literary fantasy. It is definitely Tolkien-inspired because the rock creatures are basically the broken-down, more pathetic cousins of the Ents. There is also an epic fire fight, mining for some type of mystical rock, and of course, the terrifying and amazing visuals of the flood coming down and up over the earth. It was definitely a fantasy movie.
Aronofsky treats the story like a fable and delivers one of massive proportions.
Implausible reason for the flood.
In every story, there is a girl. The most important girl in the world who someone would die for and kill for etcetera, ad nauseum. In Noah, the problems specifically stem from having a woman or not having a woman within Noah’s family, which is really simplistic. Outside of Noah’s family, humanity’s problem was believing that he was better than the Creator’s creation and deserved to do what he wanted (basically because most of humanity were descendants of Cain. The corruption of humanity outside the ark could and should have been delved into a little bit more.
Noah brings up, or fails to bring up, points around morality and values. I found it highly unlikely that the Creator would flood the earth because he didn’t like people eating meat. Yet, more corruption is going on in Noah’s family, but he turns a blind eye and still saves them all. And Noah himself even mentions this once or twice in the movie.
Genesis story aside, if the Creator is concerned about animal rights more than human, why does Noah follow him and what is the point of his devotion?
If you are expecting the biblical story of Noah, you will be sorely disappointed. On that front, it disappoints. However, it is visually stunning even though the time-lapse imagery parts made me a little nauseous.
Russell Crowe carries the film with his acting (although they really should have learned from Les Miserables not to have him sing) and it is entertaining if you can get past the hilarity. But for me, I found myself laughing at all the wrong parts and eventually tuning out because by the end of the movie, you are left with an implausible situation that makes absolutely no sense and a dissatisfying resolution.