"Noah" (2014) movie review
- $125 million.
- Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman.
- Survivalist take. If you build an ark, a lot of undeserving people will try to get on it.
- From a person who saw the preview: "Told in a fantasy type of way a la Lord of the Rings."
- Lots of CGI. Ever since "Independence Day," moviemakers have thoroughly enjoyed destroying the whole earth.
- Rediscover the epic story of one man and the most remarkable event in our history.
- The end of the world ... is just the beginning.
- Russell Crowe, Emma Watson
- "With a $125 million budget, the film is said to be more of an edgy action epic that depicts a man who fights off his enemies as he prepares for a coming apocalypse, rather than a story of a 'preacher of righteousness' who calls the world to repentance from sin."
- "A number of battle scenes are said to fill the film, which in some aspects are reminiscent of Gladiator. Six-armed angels, known as Watchers, are also introduced, 'who came down from Heaven to help fallen humanity by granting them wonders of knowledge from magic to science to stars, metal, and fire.'" <YUCK!>
- Stone giants, battle scenes, a satanic antihero and Russell Crowe's vegan cult leader -- Aronofsky's nutso "Noah."
- This mightily strange motion picture, however, is a classic Hollywood blend of “devil’s candy” – a major movie star, the control-freak auteur of “Black Swan,” a budget reported at $130 million and one of the sketchiest episodes in the Abrahamic tradition, drawn from a few sentences in the Book of Genesis – designed to please everyone and likely to please almost no one.
- None of them is as interesting as the diabolical and charismatic Tubal-Cain (growly voiced Ray Winstone), king of the Cain faction, who vows to kill Noah and take that damn ark for himself if the promised great flood actually shows up. Tubal-Cain is a great character full of venal and crude humanity, part Milton’s Satan and part Nietzschean Superman, and is also 99 percent made up. (In the Bible he is described as a maker of “all kinds of bronze and iron tools.” That’s it.)
- There’s an extremely long-winded theological back story about how these guys are fallen angels who got coated in molten lava, and no, I’m not even kidding. Alert readers of the Bible will recognize them as the mysterious Nephilim, described in Genesis 6 as “sons of God … heroes that were of old” and the source of much exegetical agony.
- the word “God” is never used
- Darren Aronofsky, the genius director who made Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler and Black Swan, pulls another The Fountain this time out, overindulging his grand aspirations for the artiest of arty art that belly flops into pretentious nonsense.
- While Noah is more righteous than his contemporaries (“righteous in his generation”), he follows a disturbing course of action he believes to be God’s will. Noah’s understanding of God’s will is not always clear, and for a key part of the story, he believes God wants him to do something appalling. While this is not contrary to the biblical text (and while God actually does command other people in Scripture to do similar things), some will not appreciate this disturbing portrait of Noah.
- Without getting into major spoilers, as the drama unfolds, the exact cast of characters on the ark is somewhat fuzzy. However, as my review notes, “in the end, the filmmakers can claim to have satisfied the text — just barely.” (Moderate spoiler warning: While on the ark, not all of Noah’s three sons are married. However, the film has not forgotten their wives, or the ones they will marry.)
- The sole issue, if you can call it that, is that characters in Noah generally speak, not of “God,” but of “the Creator.” It’s hard to imagine anyone considering this controversial or problematic, but for some reason the claim that “God is never mentioned” in the film refuses to die — even though the Creator actually is referred to as “God” at least once, when Ham tells Tubal-cain, “My father says there can be no king; the Creator is God.”
- Rocking the boat: The first major big-studio Bible film in decades is a provocative take on the venerable story of the Flood.
- It is not a “Bible movie” in the usual sense, with all the story beats predetermined by the text, and actors in ancient Near Eastern couture hitting their marks and saying all the expected things. It is something more vital, surprising and confounding: a work of art and imagination that makes this most familiar of tales strange and new: at times illuminating the text, at times stretching it to the breaking point, at times inviting cross-examination and critique.
- Have Aronofsky (raised with a Jewish education) and co-writer Ari Handel made a film that’s too religious for secular viewers and too secular for religious ones? Who is the audience?
- Well, I am, to begin with. For a lifelong Bible geek and lover of movie-making and storytelling like me, Noah is a rare gift: a blend of epic spectacle, startling character drama and creative reworking of Scripture and other ancient Jewish and rabbinic writings. It’s a movie with much to look at, much to think about and much to feel; a movie to argue about, and argue with.
- My main theological quarrel with Noah, and it’s an important one, is nothing the filmmakers put in, but something they left out: Genesis’ clear vision of mankind as the pinnacle of God’s creative work. In Genesis 1, it is only after God creates man in his image that we get the summary benediction, “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
- Noah’s retelling alters this, with a ringing summary benediction of the glory and balance of creation (“a jewel in the Creator’s hand”) coming before the creation of man. This gives man an ambiguous status in the narrative — particularly since Noah omits the words “in his image.”
- Caveat Spectator: Action violence and battle mayhem; disturbing images; a childbirth scene (nothing explicit); brief sensuality; fleeting rear nudity (a brief, distant shot of a nude man lying face down); theological ambiguities requiring critical thought. Might be fine for thoughtful, mature teens.
- Aronofsky: We wanted the audience to understand how much it grieved the Creator’s heart to destroy his creation. And part of what grieved his heart, I believe, is that there was, say, an innocent baby who was born five minutes before the flood happened. Methuselah died in the flood. All those animals that didn’t get on the ark that were part of his creation [died too].
- Handel: The image a lot of people probably have of how God feels even toward anyone who’s wicked is that there’s love there. So there’s no question that killing all these people, whatever they may have been, had to be incredibly difficult. We wanted to feel that difficulty. It’s very easy to say, “These are the bad guys; they should die. These are the good guys; they shouldn’t die.”
- Aronofsky: Noah’s a real human being in incredible circumstances, and through them, he becomes a prophet. And you identify with him. That’s my understanding of the Christ story: that he came down to experience life as a real man, and we can all identify with him.
Zohar mine? Jewish midrash: like gold. The substance used to start fires and test for pregnancy.
Kinder than God: the watchers, Noah, Noah's wife, Ila.
Noah believes in a punitive God who wants to eradicate all human life. The authors do understand the outcome of the original story: sin rides the ark with "the good family." They retroject that understanding into Noah's character and make a murderous monster out of him as a consequence. Animals innocent, humans guilty; animals beautiful, humans ugly.
Methuselah couldn't have healed Ila without God's power or against God's will!
Drugged by Methuselah--"vision quest."
Noah adopted Ila--it is arguably the central love story in the film.
Animals alone are innocent, good, beautiful in Noah's eyes.
Noah's wife of her sons: "All they desire is love."
- "Who knows what is good? What is wicked?"
- "Did you bring me berries?"
Noah's wife: "They are just people."
Noah: "There is no room. Mankind must end. We are all being punished."
Ham to Noah: "She was innocent." -- the girl Noah left to die in a trap.
Noah to God: "I cannot do this."
Noah's wife to Noah: "He asked you to decide if we were worth saving."
Noah gives the covenant blessing to his twin daughters--not to his sons! That means that the Shemites (Semites) are not the heirs of God's promise.
Snakeskin relic? Why that?
The Watchers turn against God to help humans who have been cast out of the Garden for disobedience to God--yuck!
Ila is the central character!
- - She loves Ham as well as Shem.
- - She is the new Eve. Ham: "I'm glad everything begins anew with you."
- - She wants Ham to marry one of her daughters.
- - She saves her daughters by singing Noah's lullaby to them.
- - She reconciles Noah to the family.
Greydanus loves the fact that "Noah" combines the 6-day story with the evolutionary story. He doesn't show any understanding of the conflicts between the biblical story and the scientific story.
Filthy literalists about 1500 years of silence in Genesis, but not about other aspects of the story (sky dome). It is theologically inconceivable that God did not speak to His children in their consciences for 1500 years. No RECORD of prophecy does not mean NO PROPHECY.
He uses the Scripture to justify some aspects of the movie, but sets Scripture aside to justify other aspects ("poetic license"). "Here it takes the Bible literally--the Nephilim are in the Bible!" "Yes, but so are Ham and Jepthah's wives."
Made him think and made him cry. Me, too, but not the same way.
The light-rock beings in "Noah" are utterly inconsistent. They are created on the second day in order to be helpers for humankind, but when they decide to help humankind, they are punished by being clothed in rock. That suggests a very strange God. If they had helped Adam and Eve to sin, that would be a just punishment; but simply doing what they GOD created them to do does not seem like cause for God to punish them.
They are angry when humans kill them, but it when they are killed that they can say, "Forgive me," and shoot back up into Heaven. They should be happy when they "die" (?). What can you do to a rocky creature to kill it? How do you kill a light being?
Where is the conversation with Ham about how Tubal-Cain rode the boat? How did he make a hole in the side of the ark big enough to crawl through? How did he patch the hole so Noah didn't notice it? Knife or sword--doesn't matter.
Everything is just convenient. They need photogenic superheroes, so the beings of light get covered with rock. They need a battle scene. That's more fun than an angelic electric fence. They need a place for Ham to go looking for a woman. What the heck was the purpose of the bear trap? Who set that?
As bad as Dan Brown. I promised to suspend my disbelief. I didn't agree to hang it until it was dead.
Noah is not a story about a long time ago in a faraway place. It is a story about here and now. It is about our culture of death and the Church. "All aboooard!"
Does the movie help people to make that choice? I think not.
In that sense it is antagonistic to the Church.
There are elements: save the babies. Mother's love. Feminine compassion (Mrs. Noah for Ila as a young girl and later as Shem's wife-to-be; Ila's compassion for Ham and Jepthah, for Noah, and for her daughters.
They won't have any choice about who to marry. (Neither did Adam, of course!)
Noah's wife gets Ila healed. Ila is the new Eve, mother of the whole human race.