Noah

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

As a young boy, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by a young Tubal-cain. Many years later an adult Noah is living with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and being haunted by dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather Methuselah.

They encounter a group of people recently killed and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. Noah and his family are chased by the murderers but seek refuge with the fallen angels known as the “Watchers”, confined on Earth as stone golems (nephilim) for helping humans banished from the Garden of Eden. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason. Returning to his tent that night, Noah plants the seed into the ground. The Watchers arrive the next morning and debate whether they should help Noah until they see water spout from the spot where Noah planted the seed. Once a forest grows quickly, the Watchers agree to help Noah and his family build an ark.

After birds fly to the ark, Tubal-cain arrives with his followers and confronts Noah. Noah defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. Tubal-cain retreats and decides to build weapons to defeat the Watchers and take the ark. As the ark nears completion, animals of various species enter the ark and are put to sleep with incense.

With Ila having become enamored of Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth, but upon witnessing the settlers’ cannibalism, he abandons his effort and begins believing that the creator wants all of humanity dead. Back at the ark, he tells his family that he will not seek wives for his younger sons. After the flood they will be the last humans and there will be no new human generations.

Devastated that he will be alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider but, when he will not, she goes to Methuselah for help. Later, in the forest, Ila encounters Methuselah who cures her infertility. Meanwhile, Ham, searching for a wife on his own, befriends the refugee Na’el.

After rain starts falling, Tubal-cain becomes angry that he was not chosen to be saved. The followers of Tubal-cain make a run for the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest and forces Ham to save himself but leave Na’el to die when she is caught in an animal trap. Noah’s family enter the ark except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers hold off Tubal-cain and his followers as long as possible, sacrificing themselves to protect the ark from the mob and ascending to heaven. As the flood drowns the remaining humans, an injured Tubal-cain climbs onto the ark and solicits Ham, playing on anger toward Noah for allowing Na’el to die.

Ila discovers that she is pregnant as the rains stop and begs the creator to let the child live. Noah interprets the ending of the rain to mean he must ensure the extinction of humans and, against his wife’s protests, resolves that, if the child is a girl, he will kill her. Months pass, and Ila and Shem build a raft to escape Noah’s resolve, but Noah discovers and burns it. Ila gives birth to twin girls. Tubal-cain, Ham and Shem attack Noah. As they fight, the ark strikes a mountain and Ham kills Tubal-cain. Noah prepares to stab Ila’s twins, but he spares them upon looking at his granddaughters and only feeling love.

Upon exiting the ark, Noah goes into isolation in a nearby cave and Ham leaves his kin to live alone. Having reconciled at the behest of Ila, Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race and all witness an immense rainbow.

REVIEW:

We all know the story of Noah and the Ark. It is one of the first stories told to us as children, especially if you’re from a church-going family. Noah is the latest attempt by a studio to ride on this growing wave of religious propaganda and dark retellings. Does it work? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

This ambitious adaptation of the story of Noah depicts the visions that led him to voice dire prophesies of apocalypse and to build an ark to survive. As he labors to save his family, Noah asks for help from a band of angels called the Watchers.

What did I like?

Ark. The Ark is one of the artifacts I’m surprised hasn’t been found in some form of another, either in real life or some expedition in the movies. What is even more shocking to me is how few times we’ve seen this massive structure on screen. Counting this film, a couple of other occurrences come to mind, Evan Almighty and the “Pomp and Circumstance” segment from Fantasia 2000. I’m sure someone out there is saying, “what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that while the design isn’t what we have seen in pictures, it is a huge enough vessel to carry every species of animal, as well as Noah and his family quite comfortably for unknown period of time, as per the direction given to Noah.

Flood. We’ve all heard of the great flood and how God used it to basically start over with mankind because they had become so evil and uncaring (not unlike today, if you think about it). In all the tellings, I do not believe I have ever seen one that shows the suffering of the people under all the water. It is quite chilling, especially for what is widely considered a children’s story

Drunk. A character flaw of Noah that is often glossed over is that he was a mean drunk. Well, when you have 2hr + film, you have some time to explore that, even if ever so briefly. No, I am not condoning this behavior, but it does make Noah more human than the superhero we are led to believe he is through Sunday school stories. Seeing him at his low points, watching the anger fester and boil, and then seeing how he handles the repercussions are interesting parts of Russel Crowe’s performance, I’ll give you that.

What didn’t I like?

Watchers. I’m no bible scholar, far from it, as a matter of fact, so correct me if I’m wrong, but the Watchers are not in there. What are the Watchers? Apparently, they are fallen angels who have now taken the form of stone golems that protect the innocent or something like that. I’m not too clear as to what purpose they truly serve is. Now, it would be easy to sit here and say that they aren’t from the source material, but that would be too easy and there is something much bigger that needs to be brought up. These things were created to bring in the young male demographic. The ones that are into all the hardcore action, blow stuff up kind of film. They weren’t introduced to enhance the film or any of that nonsense.

Animals. If you remember nothing from the story of Noah’s Ark, you do know that he had 2 of every animal on the ark. That is like the one thing that was a must. Well, there were other things, but most of us read this in Sunday school and never really went any deeper than what we learned back then. Anyway, I saw some animals get on the boat, but I don’t recall seeing them line up 2 by 2. Granted, I am still under the weather and dozed off in a couple of places, so it is possible this scene missed my gaze, but I don’t think so. This director seemed to want to keep the focus on Noah and his family, which is fine, but one cannot just ignore the animals or how they were supposed to have come on the boat.

Beowulf. If you can believe it or not, there actually is a villain in this film. No, it isn’t the flood or some wild animal causing trouble, but rather some guy that is a descendent of Cain (he of Cain and Abel fame).  Like the Watchers, I believe he was added in to flesh out runtime and create conflict. That being said, Ray Winstone does a masterful job of keeping him just the right amount of insane. I do have issue with his voice. Every time he talked, I couldn’t help but see Beowulf

Noah is another entry into the studios’ attempt to sap all the joy and happiness from everything in our childhood and make it real and depressing. Darren Arronofsky is one of those directors who doesn’t seem to have every been happy, so he shows it in his film. That said, this may actually be one of his lighter performances. No, we’re not going to see dragons, unicorns, etc,. laughing as their fate is sealed, although that would have been better than sitting through this boring excuse for a character piece that we got anyway. Do I recommend it? No, because for all it tries to do, it just adds more useless things that are nothing more than filler for a film that should have bee oct. 07  I’m sure there are those will eat this stuff up, but I am not one of them.

3 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Noah”

  1. […] the same vein as Noah, we have Exodus: Gods and Kings, a retelling of a well-known story from the bible, but with a […]

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