Friday, April 18, 2014

Noah ★★1/2

    Within the medium of film, there is an abundance of Biblically constructed movies, each containing or consisting of disparate portions of the Holy Bible. There is much to be said when these films come into existence, simply because they are held dear by some and are straightforwardly seen as epic storytellings by others.
    We must never forget, however, that because film is an art form, it is thereby realized that new releases (such as the 2014 film "Noah") may have been altered to some extent and will thus not yield a faithful version of the unfolding events at hand; they are essentially an interpretation. This film is a biblical exegesis of Noah and his perilous journey to save the innocent creatures of Earth from the cataclysmic and forthcoming flood.

    Noah, our protagonist, is a man of integrity and wisdom. He lives by his loyalty to the omniscient creator and leads a loving family of three boys and a single girl, Ila, who was found by Noah's traveling family after an attack on her people left her orphaned. This event leads to a deep-rooted and heartfelt love for the young girl in Noah. He cannot help but feel commiseration, for at a young age he had to witness his father's death at the hands of Tubal-Cain, who, subsequently, will be the only man standing in the way of Noah and his ultimate goal of breeding new life on Earth.  

    The prestigious depiction of Noah in this film is portrayed by the ever talented Russell Crowe; Crowe provides us with a frail and broken portrait of Noah, who is haunted by the burden of this great task. Although Crowe brings an acute sense of sophistication to this particular role, we are ultimately left with a one-dimensional character, whose one track mind is enveloped with only the ambition to complete the creator's task. It is not until the resolution of the film where Noah finally breaks free from this constrained and rather fugue state of mind to question his intentions--despite the fact that our interest has already been consigned to oblivion.
    After dreaming of morbid images bearing flood and death, Noah decides to seek out his grandfather, Methuselah, played by the ever-wonderful and talented Anthony Hopkins. As Methuselah, Hopkins induces Noah into a state that will produce vivid perceptions of seemingly otherworldly manifestations. It is now certain, for Noah has to build an ark to safeguard the guiltless inhabitants of Earth. Thus, Methuselah provides Noah with a seed that will sprout a forêt of monumental proportions. This will give Noah a plethora of lumber to finish the undertaking. All proceeds without impediment until Tubal-Cain and his callous following of individuals demand to be saved from the impending doom. However, Noah informs them of their destiny to remain on Earth, which lends an opportunity for the only antagonist of the film to come to fruition. (Besides, of course, the inner struggle of Noah and the probity of the creator's intent.)

    Other notable mentions include Emma Watson, who steps into the role of Ila, Noah's adoptive daughter. Watson is best known for her role in the "Harry Potter" series of films though I presume she intends to shed the previously innocent and virtuous image of Hermoine Granger. (As is the stumbling block for most actresses attached to a particular set of films.) Watson provides an emotionally charged performance, which is a refreshingly favorable contrast to the dreary temper of Noah.

    This is a film that does not live up to the esteem that it selflessly permeates. The storyline leads to a less than stellar climax, and the scene in which the mass population of computer-generated animals pour into the ark is quite monotonous. Love stories are fashioned and forgotten; characters are unwelcoming and unappealing. Nevertheless, there is an insufficient amount of positives, including the vivid images of the delightful Garden of Eden, the throbbing of the desirable apple, and the luring of the ever inveigle serpent.

    I have always deemed Noah to be an unassuming man; one who does not engage in the decipherment of the creator's wishes. He does not fully comprehend the purpose of the ark and the intentions of the ominous flood. In any event, no matter how one views this character, he is to be respected. This film would have been better off without the linchpin on vacuous entertainment, and, instead, a focus on the in-depth elucidation of Noah's magnetism.

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