"How Long Can You Tread Water?"
The story of Noah has been filmed quite a bit: beyond the Bible study presentations, it played a part in Michael Curtiz's 1928 silent film, as well as figuring in films in 1998, 1999, and 2007. Both Yogi Bear (Yogi's Ark Lark) and Donald Duck (Fantasia 2000) have piloted arks, and the story was lampooned in Evan Almighty.
The most famous depiction is probably John Huston's recreation in The Bible: In the Beginning in which Huston played Narrator, Noah and the voice of God—clearly the director was typecasting.
Now, Darren Aronofsky, who's made Pi, The Fountain, The Wrestler and 2010's Black Swan, has made a distinctly different version of the Old Testament tale, this time verging on a SCI-FI Testament.
Noah tells the same old story, but in a visually arresting and decidedly bizarre kind of way, trying to satisfy literalists and Darwinists, while probably not doing either. It might, however, satisfy fans of "The Lord of the Rings" films, as Aronofsky has skewed the film slightly in that direction.
|Adam and Eve pick the forbidden fruit
(They glow, and the fruit throbs)
|Cain slays Abel, then things get complicated
|Now, that, dear readers, is a Darren Aronofsky shot
|Noah's family wears pants, not robes. That's different.
|A shot from God's perspective (or is it Wes Anderson's??)
That also won't go down well with fundamentalists.
Not that they'll be missing all that much. It's an interesting interpretation and struggles mightily with themes from the Bible and with the way of Nature, as evidenced, trying to combine them, in word and visual. Anybody trying to do that is brave...and creative. But, Noah, for all its flashes of inspiration, feels a bit inert, an empty spectacle with lots of flash, but not a lot of life, a standard story of good versus evil, with lots of fantasy elements thrown in, the mystical elements being handled by God and his own way with pixels. In a sense, it feels like any other Hollywood block-buster, a disaster movie with a little Faith thrown in, but as false as 2012, with its Mayan miracles. It may be the end of the world as we know it, but I didn't feel fine at all.
|All aboard! Many creatures (many of them fanciful) ready for embarkation.