DIG Box Office: "Noah" is a failed rendition of the biblical story


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The earth shook, the flood began, and audiences leaped from their seats as “Noah” poured into movie theaters this weekend.   Local movie goers sprung from their chairs not to applaud director Darren Aronofsky’s retelling of the biblical flood, but rather to escape the theater in the midst of a 5.1 earthquake that jolted Southern California Friday night.  With over two hours of fake-looking special effects and weird plotlines, “Noah” wasn’t keeping audience members very enthused to stay in their seats anyway. Though the jarring earthquake that hit a few minutes past 9 p.m. could have ended showings early for the “Noah” crowd opening night, unfortunately it didn’t.

Russell Crowe’s Noah is a grumpy old man.  The only facet of his character that really changes over the course of the movie is his hairstyle.  The film begins with Noah sporting long, blond highlights, and ends with Noah growing out his shaved head for an aging gray-haired look.

The little upside of this film comes from talented actors Jennifer Connelly and Sir Anthony Hopkins.  Though Jennifer Connelly displays extraordinary acting talents playing Noah’s wife Naameh, the dull movie overshadowed her bright performance.  Anthony Hopkins plays 969-year-old Methuselah, who according to the Bible account, is the oldest person to ever live.  In his few brief scenes, Hopkins demonstrates why he is an Oscar winning actor.  In one scene, he tries looking for berries as the big flood approaches and is priceless as an old man groveling through the shrubbery.  His performance provided the film’s only intentional comic relief—the rest of the film confuses, frustrates, and is unintentionally funny, as well as unrealistic.

Emma Watson’s character Ila provides an overly drawn out and weird plotline to the Genesis account of the flood.  She is the girlfriend of Shem, Noah’s son, played by Douglas Booth.  While on the ark, she finds out that she is pregnant, and Noah wonders if killing the baby would maintain God’s plan of wiping out mankind from the face of the earth.

Indeed, the film is very loosely based on the biblical flood story and many dramatic licenses are taken.  A group of rock creatures called “the watchers” assist Noah in building the ark.  These characters are pure science fiction, not actual Bible characters.  The retelling of the seven days of creation and Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden is cartoonish and corny.

In the film, God is depicted as a force in the sky who decides to flood the earth mainly because man mistreats his resources.  According to chapter 6 of Genesis from the Bible, “God saw that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.”  In the Bible, that is why Earth flooded.  It wasn’t because of animal abuse, or carbon emissions, or bad hairstyles—it was because of man’s wickedness and sin.  Opening weekend of “Noah,” and already the ground shook.  Perhaps that’s a clue that the Almighty would give this movie a “thumbs down.”