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By Don R. Lewis | March 30, 2014

“I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”
– “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”- Bob Dylan

“Blame it on the rain yeah yeah
You can blame it on the rain
Ooh, ooh (ooh)
I can’t, I can’t. I can’t, can’t stand the rain
I can’t, I can’t. I can’t, can’t stand the rain
Yeah, yeah”
– “Blame It On the Rain”- Milli Vanilli

As a big fan of Darren Aronofsky, I had nothing but the highest of hopes for his biblical epic adaptation of “Noah.” I don’t take much stock in gossipy tabloid stuff about troubled productions, and although I’m a borderline Atheist, I have nothing against the Bible. There’s some good stories in there! But “Noah” isn’t a good movie.

Although I haven’t read the story of Noah and his ark since I was a kid, I think the biggest issue with this film lies with Aronofsky’s adherence to the original story. Although the Bible is rich in story, it’s pretty light on character development, logical plot progression and, as many have noted throughout history, it shouldn’t be taken literally. These are the biggest issues with “Noah,” which ends up a silly and annoying mish-mash of messages with some cool CGI effects and solid acting.

As the well-known story goes, original whack-a-doodle conspiracy theorist (and as this film says without saying, the world’s first Vegan) Noah (Crowe) has a crazy dream about the world being destroyed by flood. While the film never addresses why Noah thinks “The Creator” has chosen him to build an ark to save all the world’s gentle animal creatures, he somehow reads the dream as saying just that. His family is understandably a bit troubled by this new career move, but after some impressive magic that provides them with trees and some giant rock monsters to help them along, they all decide to chip in to build an ark to save the animals, and themselves.

What’s that you say? Did I say rock monsters before? Yeah, I did. There’s a bunch of them that were originally sent to earth to help humans but soon discovered that human beings are a bunch of mean, self-serving lowlifes who are basically defying “The Creator” by being a bunch of a******s. The rock monsters live in the dark outskirts of society, but Noah soon sways them into helping him out. They can really whittle down a tree with their big, rocky hands I tell you.

I know I’m being pretty smart-assy in this review, but “Noah” is a silly movie. There’s just so many opportunities to laugh at what is happening onscreen, but in the back of your mind there’s a voice saying “but that’s how it happened in the Bible!” This doesn’t make it acceptable as a film, though, and Aronofsky has painted himself into a corner just by making it. If he makes changes to the story, he’s never going to hear the end of it from Bible scholars, theologians and all the Bible fanboys and girls out there. Plus, how much leeway does one have in terms of reworking well-known biblical stories?

But by following the story so closely, Aronofsky is forced to have Noah change from a gentle man, trying to do right, into an obsessed conspiracy theorist with no rhyme or reason script wise. Later Noah turns dark and homicidal, and later into an embarrassing drunk. It just… happens. Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife Naameh serves really no purpose to the film except to support Noah (to a point) but, again, she’s in the Bible story so she has to be here. The only really intriguing character is middle son Ham (Lerman), but his motivations throughout the film are literally laughable. If you’ve seen the film, try to explain them to someone while keeping a straight face, I dare you.

I will admit that the acting here is strong. Crowe does run the gamut of emotions in a believable way even if the motivations for the emotions are wholly unclear. I was rooting for Noah even as the deck continues to stack against him and even though I knew how the story ends. This is due to Crowe’s ability to be a heartfelt, righteous man but with a burning intensity inside of him. Connelly is great even with nothing to do and Lerman and Emma Watson as Ila, the adopted daughter, are very good as well. I also dug the rock monsters and creative sequences that showed “creation.”

But still, “Noah” is just all over the place emotionally and cinematically. And again, I don’t think blame can rest on Aronofsky directly but rather on the fact the “Noah” story is a fairly silly parable. In trying to bring it to life on the big screen, Aronofsky shows the flaws in the story and, as a result, it’s unintentionally funny.

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