If you know the Director’s work well, the first thing you will be wondering is how Darren Aronofsky, who brought us films like Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, could possibly make a movie based on the well-known Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. Noah is certainly Biblical and it is epic beyond-a-doubt, but it also incorporates that dark undertone that has made his films so popular. Right from the beginning, Noah takes a very different path from the story that most adults and children alike have come to know. At first it is intriguing, we see the characters develop and get pieces of a story we never knew existed…. and then come the talking rock people, or “guardians”. If you are able to fully accept these creatures after your initial “What the hell are these?!” response, then you may be able to get through the movie and you might even enjoy it. The majority of the population, however, will not. It might just be too ridiculous for the average viewer. Oddly enough, all of the world’s animals (in groups of two) making it onto an ark made out of wood is not the most unrealistic part of the movie – in fact, that part is almost believable.
Noah has all the makings of a blockbuster hit. It has the cast, with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson taking the lead. It has a 2+ hour running time and breathtaking visual effects. It also has an amazing Clint Mansell score to submerge the audience in the story and bring it all home. Unfortunately too many strange scenes and characters, coupled with some seriously dark and heavy religious elements, kill the movie for most people.
It should be noted that Russell Crowe did a fantastic job portraying Noah as a complex character who experiences extreme guilt but who also stands by his convictions. He’s gritty, passionate, complicated, and pretty bad-ass when it comes down to it. The movie’s failure to please the masses had nothing to do with the characters and everything to do with the story itself.
Unfortunately, those who watch Noah expecting a simple (and predictable) 21st century spin on a well-known religious story will be disappointed, but those who absolutely love Darren Aronofsky and understand his work will probably enjoy the film…if they can get past the rock people, that is.