When I first heard about this movie, I was not sure what to expect. I loved The Fountain and The Black Swan was very affecting and memorable. I try not to bet against directors I like and I like Darren Aronofsky. The way he interprets things and tells stories has a way of pulling the viewer in and not making it seem like a chore to do so. There are far too many Academy Award calibre movies that I despise because it feels put on. It feels like they want us to be as pretentions as the actors, producers and directors are. It is overbearing and makes me uninterested.
The story of this movie is based on the biblical story of Noah and the Ark. Aronofsky takes quite a few liberties in an attempt to make the story more relevant, perhaps. I don’t know my scripture as well as I should, but the basic idea being that Noah has a vision and is told by God to make an Ark and bring two of every animal. Any other details about the task I don’t know.
If you don’t want to be SPOILED for the movie, you might want to jump to the last paragraph-ish. Instead of sticking to the original story, Aronofsky makes quite a few changes. If memory serves, I read that the character Ila, played by Emma Watson, was invented for the movie. There is also an addition of ‘The Watchers,’ who are fallen angels that have been cursed to live on earth, banished from Heaven. The representation of this is basically Ents, but made of rock. Once I made that connexion, I was pretty much no longer in any kind of mind set to believe or even enjoy the movie.
The story continues to take a tight left turn here as the made-up-character is part of the solution for the New World, but for some reason Crowe’s hero is convinced that all humanity must be cleansed from the earth, and thus turns into a bit of a madman, promising to kill everyone on the Ark. Considering these people are trapped on this vessel for forty days and he tells them this on day one, I thought, come on now, people, you should have had at least three plans of escape. Once the made-up-character who can’t get prego, gets prego, things get yet more unbelievable.
Let me be clear, Russell Crowe is as good as actor as you know he is. He brings every actor around him up several notches. I don’t know too much about Jennifer Connelly, but the rest of the main cast, Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, them I’ve seen, a lot. Both of them, when in scenes with Crowe, were amazing, better than I’d ever seen them. Watson, to her credit, has never, as far as I know, done a role like this and to see that departure was impressive, having said that, without Crowe, the scenes didn’t resonate, but, lucky for her, he was in basically all of her scenes.
While the movie was visually stunning, and I did see it in IMAX, the story grew heavier and heavier as the story went on. Much like the trend with superhero movies with too many villains, this too had far more going on than needed and it showed. I found myself detached and trying to force myself to connect to this amazing cast.
I’m not trying to be negative or tell you not to see the movie. The trouble for me, as is often the case, is expectations. When I see an Aronofsky movie, I expect a story that will resonate with me long after I’ve seen it. Almost as soon as I got out of the theatre, my mind was directed towards lunch. The movie felt like it was too long and too heavy and while I will always respect someone like Aronofsky, I can’t bring myself to say I enjoyed the movie in the least. If I want to see a big-budget movie, I know where to go. There’s a Sly Stallone movie out now. This movie seemed to be enamoured with itself from beginning to end and it almost seemed like a celebration of excess.