Monday, March 31, 2014

Movie Review Monday - Noah

I am not a very religious person, so when my BFF asked me to go to the movies with her and her husband to see Noah, I was a little skeptical at first. I didn't want to have to sit through three hours of religious propaganda, but after reading a few reviews and finding out that A) The director of Noah is an atheist and B) The word 'God' is not used a single time, I asked the boyfriend if he wanted to come with us and we made it a double date. 

Bad girlfriend move. At least I snuck him in some sour skittles... and he definitely gets next pick. 

Can you tell I loved it?

At one point about three quarters of the way through the movie I turned to look at my BFF. She was crying. Her husband was laughing (at me, apparently, for shrilly announcing I was "so stressed out" by what was happening onscreen) and my boyfriend's eyes were half closed. 

That pretty much sums up Noah in a nutshell.

I'm not some harsh movie critic. In fact, it doesn't take a lot to impress me. I thought Austenland (an off beat romantic comedy about a woman who is obsessed with everything Jane Austen) was sweet and charming. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 30%. I laughed my ass off at Grudge Match - the briefly talked about move starring Robert de Niro and Sylvester Stallone as ex-boxers. RT score? 30%. The Losers remains one of my favorite action-adventure movies of all time (49%) and I watched Evan Almighty (23%) last week on TBS for the tenth time and enjoyed every minute of it. Surely, then, I would at least like Noah which, going in, I knew had a 75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (heyoo!) and seemed to be generally liked by critics. 

Except I didn't only not like Noah. I actively disliked it. 

With a running time of two hours and nineteen minutes, it seemed to drag on forever. In fact, I was convinced it was well over three hours long until I looked it up to make sure I was plugging in the correct details to this post. 

Maybe it's my fault Noah didn't work for me. After all, my vague recollection of the story revolves around a kindly old man and his family building an ark to house all kinds of cute and cuddly animals. Everyone laughs and calls him crazy, and when the rain starts Noah and his family and all the animals are safe, while all the assholes who laughed at him are swept away. 

Well let me tell ya, that story ain't this one.

This Noah is darker and grittier and some parts are just plain and simple made up. Like (SPOILERS!) the part where Noah leaves his middle son's girlfriend stuck in a claw foot trap so she can be trampled to death by crazy barbarian lunatics trying to get on the ark. Oh, and then there's that little gem of a moment where a tiny antelope is catapulted into the air only to be ripped apart and devoured while it's still alive. Noah vows to murder Hermoine Emma Watson's twin baby girls and holds a dagger over their tiny little newborn heads. An alpaca like creature has its throat slit on the ark and it's entrails ripped out. A lizard has his head bit off while he's still wiggling. That made me cover my eyes, and I don't even like lizards. It was all very gruesome and felt very unnecessary.

Look, I get it. People were awful back then and God wanted to wipe the earth clean and start all over. I knew death was going to be a big part of the movie going in. But I didn't need to be hit over the head with it again and again and again. 

At the end of the movie I was left feeling bewildered and vaguely depressed. A lot of things depicted in the movie did not happen in the biblical version, and I couldn't help but wonder "so what's the point?"

Was all the madness and mayhem added in for shock value? Was the director trying to make us feel something other than disgust? Was having the camera zip across the skyline and depict days passing in rapid succession supposed to be edgy and cool? 'Cause it really just made me dizzy. 

And don't even get me started on all the fade to blacks. 

To me, Noah felt like a bloated action-adventure movie gone awry that would have been better suited for a television special than the big screen. I don't recommend it, and if I were grading I wouldn't give it anything better than a D.   

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