Friday, March 28, 2014

"Noah": someday, there may be no choice but to be fruitful and multiply

Darren Aronofsky has essentially made his Biblical epic “Noah” as a sci-fi or fantasy film, with a morality play toward the end that, while it might play well at a table reading for a screenwriting or university literature class, comes across as a little corny, at least to those not up on all the genealogy in Genesis.
The world before the Flood, shot in Iceland for this film, is rather fascinating. The narrative says that an entire technological civilization had covered the globe before Jehovah decided to destroy it.  There are scenes of abandoned mines and iron machinery, and distant ruined cities.  It seems as though the world had used up its fossil fuels and polluted the atmosphere.  Maybe the Flood purged the excess carbon dioxide and reversed the global warming, but it’s hard to see how we could have reinvented an entire industrial age again. The sci-fi parts, especially the Watchers (said to be fallen angels, fsupposedly emanations of plasma energy encased by stone) would fit on anyone’s extrasolar planet. 

Also interesting is the “family values” in this micro-society that is left and deemed to be “good”.  Sometimes the only thing you can do with your life is “be fruitful and multiply” or standby to help those who do, and give up your own artistic pretensions, which could mean nothing without people. Anyone could face a big existential challenge like this.  I just of ask of others, don’t test me to see if I’ll blink.

The ark was actually constructed on Long Island and survived Hurricane Sandy.  It was a rectangular box. It just had to float.

Russell Crowe is essentially himself as Noah, and Anthony Hopkins seems kinder and gentler as Methuselah, who wants to enjoy one last berry before he finally perishes after nine centuries.  (Maybe he was one of the aliens from NBC’s “The Event”.)  Jennifer Connelly, as Naameh, has to refocus Noah’s moral compass.  Douglas Booth appeals as Shem, but Logan Lerman is made too boyish as Ham, whose story is still a bit of a mystery. Emma Watson becomes the new mother of civilization, and Mark Margolis plays the “wicked” Magog, who somehow gets past the Watches onto the ship.

The official site is here. 

The film is shot in 1.85:1, possibly to make it an easier fit for Imax. The Atmos-Dolby is so effective that I thought someone was actually screaming and crying in the audience at one point.  I saw the film at the Angelika Mosaic this evening.

Update: March 30,  2014

Check the Wall Street Journal article in the Marketplace section Wednesday. March 26, 2014, "Fewer Americans go to the movies: Theater owners consider cutting prices one day a week", link here (paywall).   

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