Monday, September 1, 2014

Movie Review: Noah

Having seen this movie now that it's out on DVD, here's my short review: it was pretty bad.

I'm kind of a stickler to the whole adapt-OK-fine-but-stick-to-the-source-material thing, and this movie fails miserably in that department.  Not that I'm claiming to be any sort of biblical scholar here, but it doesn't take more than a casual reading to see the problems.

After that... some of the CGI and effects were pretty good, but here and there it was just cheesy.  When Noah and family are on their journey early in the film, there was one green-screen scene of them walking across a parched landscape that was about as authentic as something out of "Land of the Lost," and I mean the 70's Saturday morning show, not the more recent movie flop.  Maybe the director was going for "otherworldly" rather than "realistic," but it just didn't work.  On the plus side, the at-sea scenes had the right sense of scale, and the moving rock pile angels kind of worked (at least on the CGI level, leaving aside the veracity part).

The acting was uniformly good.  Russell Crowe can pull off all sorts of stuff, and he pulls off another one here.  Other names (Hopkins, Connelly, Winstone) do fine.  Emma Watson did a workable job of avoiding being typecast in her old role from the Harry Potter movies.  Unfortunately, the kind of movie typecasts she broke out of here also include the adjectives "good" and "makes a lot at the box office."  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

After the first half-hour of this movie, about all that kept me going to the end was a morbid desire to see where this turkey was going next.  I really can't recommend it beyond that.  Frankly, this is yet another example of movie makers thinking that they can out-write the source text's original author – a tall order in this case.  Bottom line: 1 out of 4 stars, but only for the actors' and CGI artists' competent efforts to save this train wreck.

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