The Strangest Noah Adaptation Is The Only Noah Adaptation...
Thank you Darren Aronofsky for reminding me just how trippy the old testament is.
Now this is not a direct adaptation of the Noah story (thank god for that... get it?), but a very bizarrely interesting reimagining of the classic story. The reason a feature film hasn't surfaced up to this point is probably because Noah's Ark is just such an unbelievably weird concept to begin with. A guy talks to god and god tells him to gather two of every animal... every animal?? Wouldn't they like kill each other or something?? And build this massive ship because... well... he's about to send a flood that'll kill everything unless the guy does what he says. Heck, even DeMille never made the attempt. But for whatever reason, Aronofsky decided now was the time to make this happen... and he went epic with it!
To call it beautiful to look at would be an understatement, the cinematography was just insane in all of the best ways. The Ark felt almost secondary to the rest of the story, but it certainly looked great. And to think every animal was a CG concept... well I just have to applaud their creative team. The rock creatures too... oh yeah, there're rock creatures in this movie... and they look excellent. They move in such an interesting way and never once did I find myself saying "hey that doesn't look real" cause they're somehow perfectly seamless with the rest of the film.
The script goes a myriad of places I never would have expected from this story and honestly I'm glad it did. Noah has a weird human element that the old story never allowed for given how cryptically the bible tends to tell things. Aronofsky got himself really dirty in the meat of what conflict could have erupted in the wake of Noah's visions. He attempted to bring into question the purpose of existence and our place in that. The question of wether or not we deserve to exist is obviously a hard one to swallow. But he went after it. He found a way to include evolution in the conversation... a brave "controversy" when you consider the kind of religious crowd a studio would hope to draw for a film like this. And considering the budget I'm surprised a studio was actually willing to give him such free reign. Bravo to that.
Russell Crowe did a swell job of humanizing a ridiculous situation. His performance was so interesting to me because there was very little change in him from beginning to end, but somehow he did manage to get the point across. I was glad to see Emma Watson show up and I really have enjoyed watching her career blossom. I think she's got talent and deserves whatever projects come her way. Jennifer Connelly gave a solid performance with a few moments of weirdly unnecessary crying... dry heaving... or whatever you'd call it. But she didn't bother me. And while Anthony Hopkins' appearance at first brought back horrifying memories of Alexander, he did manage to find a legitimate purpose for being in this film. Don't get me wrong, I like Anthony Hopkins, just not in Alexander. And that's not his fault, nothing could ever make anything about that movie good... except Rosario Dawson's boobs... and even that was kind of weird under the circumstances.
But enough about that. Noah was a very interesting flick that will hopefully usher in a very interesting season of movies. It will not be the best of 2014, but it will certainly be memorable and a worthwhile discussion piece for weeks to come.