Saturday, 29 March 2014
A Pinoy At The Movies: NOAH
If only to observe the Lenten season, this movie would have been perfect, I thought. In the Philippines, during the Holy Week, offices are closed and everyone is stuck at home with no TV shows or radio programs, only the Internet and DVD movies.
But I'm not in the Philippines right now, and the closest Lenten type of observance for me is a visit to the Myeongdong Cathedral...and Noah, the movie.
When I first saw the poster and the movie trailer for this movie weeks ago, I was actually excited. I love watching period films and this one, being biblical, was a must-see for me, and I wondered if this one would be better than Steve Carell's Evan Almighty, his 2007 comedy film, which was a take on this biblical story.
Noah started with a narration through animation on how everything began based on the Bible. Starting from The Creation until the time before the Great Flood, I guess, this was to familiarize the audience members who weren't familiar with the Bible stories.
Russel Crowe played Noah and Anthony Hopkins, played Methuselah his grandfather, and the rest of their brood were familiar faces.
The first actual scenes of the movie seemed philosophical, and not biblical. Industrialization, environmental abuse and immorality. Well, the last one actually was much closer to why it all happened. But whatever details that were lacking in the Bible, the writers squeezed into the movie: Noah and family lived like nomads who wore jackets and pants designed by Zara or H&M , Methuselah lived up a mountain that looked like a Hawaiian island, Noah's kids called their mother 'mommy', a seed from the Garden of Eden could create an Amazon-like jungle overnight, Noah could sing a lullaby, and superbeings called Giants actually built the ark without any educational background on shipbuilding!
While the essence of Noah's story is told in the movie, it's the modernized theme that ruins the film. Watching the film seems like watching Spartacus, Blood and Sand, the TV series about a slave-gladiator, where the dialogues are more American than Roman. I was hoping it was like the Academy Award winning, Gladiator, with first-rate costumes, cinematography and of course, a real Maximus Decimus Meridius. Maybe Noah's story was too primitive to deserve an imperial showcase like Gladiator, although I thought, being story from the Bible, it should have been filmed as such, like The Ten Commandments.
We all know that the huge ark was actually built to contain a lot of passengers. And in the movie, when the huge ark was finally completed (without any aid of a blueprint!), all the animals that crawled, slithered and flew came to join the cruise. I wonder if there was a veterinarian on board if any of Noah's pets got sick. His wife, played by Jennifer Connelly, sprayed sleep-inducing smoke throughout the ship to put all the animals to sleep. Her concoction must have been the precursor of chloroform.
A few subplots in the film like a village of unruly cannibals who wanted to join the boat ride, Noah's adopted daughter having twins on board the ark after having been magically blessed by Methuselah, and a stowaway 'king' who ate a snake raw to survive added some drama, but these did not redeem it for me. From where I sat at Cinema 2 of CGV Yongsan, the whole ark...sank! Including the whole zoo! Ha-ha-ha!
Unimpressed and still shaking my head, I just treated this whole disappointment for this film as part of my penance for Lent. It's a Bible story horribly told.
In the meantime, let's just wait for the next Bible story to be turned into a movie. How about The Tower of Babel?