And The Lord Created Geysers
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth, Leo McHugh, and voices of Kevin Durand, Nick Nolte and Frank Langella
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Scriptwriters: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Composer: Clint Mansell
Cinematography: Matthew Libatique
Production Designer: Mark Friedberg
Regency Enterprise
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 135 minutes
Darren Aronofsky’s version of “Noah,” is sure to create controversy. The life of Noah, from the Bible, is tweaked a bit, I guess we could call it creativity. Special effects are very good, and this film doesn't have a particularly large budget as compared to some with hundreds of millions in cost. I can see where the budget was trimmed a bit, as in the beginning where profiles of people are shown rather than actors (and their salaries). In the case of the fallen angels (called Watchers) who helped Noah (Russell Crowe), we don't see Kevin Durand (who starred with Russell Crowe in "Robin Hood") or Frank Langella or Nick Nolte, instead they are voice-overs for large creatures. Costumes are dull gray for armor (similar to the Hobbit films) or gray and black for clothing because of being woven of coarse fiber. When the Flood actually begins, it is spectacular, and no prow for this boat. All it needs to do is stay afloat. As for keeping all the animals in the Ark? It is creative.
Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, who lived over 900 years and is Noah’s grandfather. This is the only reference made of the ages of people at that time, though the Bible says Noah was about 600 years old when the Flood occurred. Russell Crowe, as Noah, looks well preserved for 600 years.
The film begins when Man goes downhill after being tossed from the Garden of Eden. Man is forgetting God and thinking that he, Man, does what he wants and that’s that. Tubal-Cain (forcefully done by Ray Winstone) and Noah just don't get along and after Noah’s visions of world destruction, he builds the Ark. Tubal-Cain is always a threat. Noah has three sons, Ham (Logan Lerman), Shem (Douglas Booth) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), who are young men when the destruction occurs. Each has his particular situation which is either disobeying Noah or finding a girlfriend. There is an adopted daughter here, Ila (Emma Watson, knocking this role out of the ballpark), who was found wounded as a child and cared for by the family. Noah’s wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) is the peacemaker in the family. Noah’s visions increase and he realizes time is short before mankind will be destroyed. He is determined to do God’s will and that he is the only one to do it. There are narrow escapes from Men. plenty of fights with Men and dissension between the boys and Noah before the waters come in rainfall and geysers from the ground. It doesn't take long for the planet to be flooded. Now there are only a few people alive in a boat full of animals (snakes and elephants, too), and something just isn't right. Disagreements simmer in this confined space.
The writers decided to make Noah’s sons younger without wives, rather than with wives, as in the Bible. This allows some teen rebellion and looking at other women, especially women from the Men side of the Earth. This is one of two points of contention I have, the other being the voice-overs of featured stars, rather than the stars, themselves.
As a story, I didn't get caught up in it until Noah had his first vision and figured out it was water and not fire that would destroy the world. The family worked together to build the Ark (no mention of how many years) until Men took notice of the structure. And this, because God made a forest for wood to build the Ark. Not 2000-year old Sequoias, but rather, overnight timber. Russell Crowe’s Noah is a man of few words and most of them spoken softly. He expects to be obeyed. Jennifer Connolly is a woman who works behind the scenes to keep equilibrium here and it is a 24/7 job. Of the three sons, Logan Lerman’s Ham is the rebellious one with a grudge against Noah. Shem (Douglas Booth) has a softer quality about him, while Japheth just follows everyone around. How this family expanded after the Flood will be discussed for a while at coffee shops. Anthony Hopkins manages to steal every scene he is in, and as the Patriarch of this family, is humble and wise, reminiscent of Gandolf. In fact, sometimes I expected to see Peter Jackson wandering around in the background.
I could follow the names and know who belonged to who, but people who have never gone/rarely gone to a religious group could be puzzled. One would hope they would be curious and read about the Noah who doesn't look like Russell Crowe. What we have here is a story of a Creation that went awry because Man made bad judgment calls and so the Creator decided to start over with one family and that is Noah’s, complete with their imperfections. Does anyone, ever, really learn from a mistake?
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner