Frend’s on Film: ”Noah’-where near ‘Lord of the Rings’

by Peter Frend on April 1, 2014

in Print Reviews,Reviews

Based on the 1999 miniseries Noah’s Ark starring Jon Voight, Darren Aronofsky‘s tells the story of man in a fantastical world where an angry, vengeful “god” has decided that humankind isn’t fit for the world and should be eradicated.

The film is a fantastical epic, with enough visual splendor to make Peter Jackson blush and enough guilt and pathos to still feel like a film from the same man who delivered the documentary The Wrestler starring Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

In other words, I hated it.

In the world that Aronofsky and cowriter Ari Handel have created, Russell Crowe plays Noah, a gnarly tough guy who happens to be a just, nomadic vegetarian. Noah, along with his family that includes Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and some cute boys, is burdened with a great purpose – their “god” has tasked them with ensuring that the innocent survive his giant flood.

And there in lies my central complaint with Noah. There is a cruel, illogical nature to this fantasy film’s “god.” If he is all seeing and all knowing, then he knew mankind was going to fail the moment after creation. Why bother continuing the experiment if the outcome is already known? It’s sadistic, really.

At the same time, why does this mythic “god” entrust the fate of the animal kingdom to the very species that ruined the balance in the first place? Seems pretty counter-productive, doesn’t it?

In the end, I found Noah to be full of redundancies like this, and as a result I was never able to fully invest myself in these characters or the flimsy world they inhabited. Sure, the rock monsters were visually astounding and the mythology of the world was quickly and easily established, but beyond that I kept asking myself, “Why do these fools continue to fear, follow and obey a deity that clearly doesn’t care whether they survive — and has already judged them as being worthy of a mass death by drowning?”

It’s a huge oversight by Aronofsky and Handel. Even fantastic worlds that emerge from the minds of talented artists must resemble the real world from which they must take their inspiration. That Darren Aronofsky thinks anyone would buy into this is preposterous.

Rating: 4 rock monsters and 1 burning bush

Peter Frend

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