I am watching with fascination the reaction to the new piece of Hollywood bullshit, NOAH. According to Variety’s Justin Chang, the movie is just brilliant:
Watching “Noah,” which makes a few concessions to epic fantasy/blockbuster conventions without sacrificing its fundamental seriousness and moral urgency, you get the feeling that Aronofsky (who wrote the script with his regular collaborator Ari Handel) read the Genesis account of Noah’s life and saw in it, perhaps, a vessel for some of the themes and obsessions that have haunted him his entire career. This is a director whose characters often know they are destined for greatness, but for whom greatness proves a terrible burden; to watch “Noah” is to recognize the tortured sensibility behind the lurching attempts at transcendence in “The Fountain,” the unnerving altered states of “Requiem for a Dream,” the brutal physical and spiritual sacrifices endured by the protagonists of “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan.” You also sense that Aronofsky realized there was a place for his anguished dramatics and trippy aesthetics in the annals of great religious artwork, and that there was no reason why the challenge of biblical interpretation should be off-limits to a filmmaker just because he happens to be a staunch environmentalist, a brilliant fantasist and, yes, a self-avowed atheist.
All of this should trouble the sort of Christian, I suppose, who imagines that the proper care of the Earth is strictly the domain of those godless liberal tree-huggers; that our readings of the Bible should never stir in us a sense of wonder or supernatural possibility; and that the only artists who could possibly extract anything of value from a religious text are those who readily subscribe to its teachings. To believe such a thing, of course, is to ignore one of the great recurring themes of Scripture, which is that God can and does use the most unlikely of individuals to glorify His name and advance His purposes, and is indeed rather fond of subverting our prejudices about who and what is good, moral and worthy of emulation.
And then there is the reaction of Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey:
Darren Aronofsky recently bragged that he had made “the least-biblical biblical film ever made” in Noah. Paramount responded to the derision that followed by issuing a release stating that the film was inspired by the Biblical story from Genesis, but that “artistic license had been taken.” After having seen the film, it’s clear that Paramount engaged in hyperbole, because there is very little about Noah that is either inspired or artistic — aside from a couple of good performances that almost make the film watchable. Almost.
In short, Noah is a mess from any perspective — in regard to its source material, to its interior logic, and even to any sense of narrative. The film isn’t a glorious mess like Moulin Rouge or an enjoyable mess like Basic, but a grim and joyless mess that no one needs to pay $10 to watch. Noah goes from his Biblical characterization, as the man God chooses to safeguard the best of humanity for a fresh start to creation, to a man obsessed with the idea of killing every human being possible — including his freshly-born twin granddaughters.
Even that might have made for an interesting evening at the movies if Aronofsky offered a fresh perspective and something close to coherence. Instead, we get an anti-technology, anti-carnivore lecture that recycles predictable clichés and overlays it on the Flood story. If Wizards entered into a polyamorous relationship with Road Warrior, The Day After Tomorrow, and Waterworld, and their child was midwifed by Michael Bay, it just might be Noah. The rock monsters — actually trapped angels who made the mistake of sympathizing with Adam and Eve — best recall Galaxy Quest’s, or perhaps The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.
Just how incoherent does Noah get? The entire second half of Noah revolves around the tension between serving God — excuse me, The Creator — while wiping out the human race. Noah alienates Ham by refusing to save a girl he rescues, only allows Shem to pair up with foundling Ila because Noah thinks she’s barren, and Japheth is far too young to be married at all. Noah’s vision of God’s plan is to save all the animals but make sure no human reproduces. It gets so ridiculous that Noah actually gets to the point of murdering his two unexpected twin granddaughters (after Ila gets the world’s first home-pregnancy test from Noah’s wife Naameh) in his Malthusian obsession, until “love” stops him.
Did these guys see the same movie? Who you gonna trust?
As for me and my house, I believe Ed Morrissey. Always trust the Irish Catholic over the Chinese. Whatever.
Aronofsky’s hang ups on being a Vegan and hating the very capitalism that funds his bullshit projects is on full display in this dreadful movie. Idiots liked Change tried to persuade trusting folks that “12 Years a Slave” was an equally brilliant piece. It was a piece alright. A total piece of dreck.
And now we have Noah. What the hell are these people thinking?