Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

4/9/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The biggest problem with Aronofsky's Noah is the director's decision to use a theology and cosmology that can't be found in the book of Genesis.

I wish Aronofsky\'s Noah well, though I don\'t believe it will have much of an afterlife after its initial release. The task of bringing a movie of this scope to the screen is immense, as is the financial risk: Paramount put $300,000,000 into production and marketing costs. If nothing else, the film\'s initial success proves once again the potentially large audience awaiting well-made films on Biblical and religious subjects.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/9/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: Noah, movie, Russell Crowe, Darren Aronofsky, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The very talented writer/director Darren Aronofsky would have been well advised not to entitle his movie, Noah. This name raises reasonable expectations in a viewer, such as the movie being placed within a Judeo-Christian cosmology and portraying the chief spiritual struggle of the main character.

Aronofsky's Noah -- a more suitable title -- has its virtues, but they are not enough to justify the huge effort that went into its production and marketing. Aronofsky's Noah will definitely not live to be regarded as a Biblical epic that parents pass on to their children.

Noah suffers in comparison with epics such as DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth (1968), and especially Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004): from its lame script, insipid music, and surprisingly pedestrian camera work, to the wooden performances from most of its principle characters. The only character coming fully alive on screen is the villain, Ray Winstone's Tubal-cain, the king of the descendants of Cain. Poor Jennifer Connolly, usually a welcome presence in any film, looks distressingly anorexic as Noah's wife Naameh and employs only one modulating facial expression for her dramatic moments.  Of Noah's four children only the teenage Ham of Logan Lerman displays a genuine rage against his overly-demanding father.  His scenes with Winstone are among the most convincing in the film.

Russell Crowe gives the best performance he can given his drab dialogue and a contrived narrative that turns his Noah into another Biblical character altogether, a kind of pseudo-Abraham. Evidently the spiritual challenge facing Noah in building an ark because of God's command was not compel-ling enough to Aronofsky and his co-screenwriter Ari Handel. Noah's seeming madness in contracting his ark was given minimal attention because the really big issue for Aronofsky's Noah is his interpretation of God's command, including the end of the human race. When his eldest son Shem, played by Douglas Booth, and his adopted child Ila announce they are expecting a baby, Noah declares that a female child would be "cut down" at the moment of birth. A son, he concedes, would be allowed to live on as "the last man."

The last half of the film depicts Noah as a kind of John Brown religious fanatic who has vowed to enact God's judgement on the human race. Of course, at the moment of decision, when Noah faces the newborn sisters, it's not God that holds back his dagger but the love he feels for his grandchildren. Thus, even as a cinematic take on the Abraham-Isaac story, Aronofsky misses the point. 

The biggest problem with Aronofsky's Noah is the director's decision to use a theology and cosmology that can't be found in the book of Genesis. The fallen angels become rockbound Transformer figures whose condition is a result of their attempt to help Adam and Eve after the Fall -- God punished them for their good deed making them earth creatures and vulnerable to human violence. God is revered by Aronofsky as the "Creator" but portrayed as an unyielding, unforgiving tyrant as "God." Did Aronofsky notice he has transposed Christology to these "Watchers," the fallen angels? The subject of love only arises when Noah is challenged by Ila to reconsider his judgement on her newborns.  To put it bluntly, by choosing the way of love Noah believes he has not carried out God's commands, which leads to his drunken dissolution and years of alienation from his family.  

Nonetheless, I wish Aronofsky's Noah well, though I don't believe it will have much of an afterlife after its initial release. The task of bringing a movie of this scope to the screen is immense, as is the financial risk: Paramount put $300,000,000 into production and marketing costs. If nothing else, the film's initial success proves once again the potentially large audience awaiting well-made films on Biblical and religious subjects.

But one nagging question remains: How could such a mediocre film have been made by such an established talent as Darren Aronofsky -- Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006), The Wrestler (2008), and Black Swan (2010), established his credentials as a major filmmaker. Was Aronofsky dealing with material that he didn't understand or didn't want to embrace on its own terms?  Was Aronofsky simply trying to become a major commercial success? His previous films were well-reviewed and well-received but not intended to be mass marketed products and potentially huge money makers.

Another excellent director who could not meet his own standard of filmmaking when he took on a Biblical subject was Martin Scorsese. His Last Temptation of Christ (1988), still sticks out like a sore thumb in a very distinguished career. I know Last Temptation has its defenders, including Scorsese, just as Noah will, but what these films have in common is a rather risible subtext that reflects, I assume, the respective director's own personal struggles with the faiths into which they were born, Judaism and Catholicism.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Movies

Movie star Tom Cruise builds sinister studios to boost Scientology Watch

Image of Rabid Scientology adherent and movie star Tom Cruise is building a $50 million dollar state-of-the art studio on five acres in Hollywood. Word is out that the station will broadcast news with a Scientological slant -

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rabid Scientology adherent and movie star Tom Cruise is building a $50 million dollar state-of-the art studio on five acres in Hollywood. Word is out that the station will broadcast news with a Scientological slant -  "A Scientology CNN," and spread the ... continue reading


God's Not Dead sequel expected to become biggest Christian film of 2016 Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During a recent Church Boys podcast, David A.R. White shared some details about the upcoming sequel to the 2014 Christian movie hit "God's Not Dead." The actor-producer and co-founder of the production company, Pure Flix Entertainment explained that the follow-up movie ... continue reading


Action star Sylvester Stallone says his Rambo character will take on ISIS next Watch

Image of The 68-year-old Sylvester Stallone shared all at the San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a sign of the times... Fabled action star Sylvester Stallone will take his Rambo character in an all-out assault against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the final film in the series, "Last Blood." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fifth installment in the ... continue reading


Duck Dynasty actor gets serious sharing inspiring religious message to fans Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Uncle Si Robertson, popularly known as comical and fun on Duck Dynasty has recently shown a more serious side as he talked about the importance in giving honor to veterans. He admitted that he was struck in awe by a statement from someone attending the red carpet ... continue reading


Apple quivers over scandalous new biopic movie on the life of Steve Jobs Watch

Image of Apple feels the new film will only focus on the negative parts of Jobs.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although the late Steve Jobs was not known to be perfect and flawless, he was certainly not the most villainous employer the world had ever known. However, the latest trailer for the new film about Job's life showcased him as a jerk, arrogant throwing tantrums, ... continue reading


The top 5 Pixar movies from the last 20 years Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the years, Pixar has created fourteen amazing animated films that people love and relate to. This year, they released the anticipated film, "Inside Out," featuring fictional characters from inside the human body and mind. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


'The Peanuts Movie' trailer is out! Can Charlie Brown become a winner and get the girl? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the epic comic strip, a 3D movie of The Peanuts will enter theaters by November this year. The trailer shows the iconic characters Charlie Brown and his ever loyal dog, Snoopy, in a quest for the kid's winning identity, as ... continue reading


4 MUST-SEE classic films to enhance the faith in your teenager Watch

Image of Saving Private Ryan (1998) offers one of the most important messages on courage and sacrifice.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A lot of movies have been released over time and with the advance technology we enjoy today, a variety of formats are easily created. However, although most movies are done with exemplary greatness utilizing animations and other effects to produce a more realistic ... continue reading


Moviegoers get their 'Dino' on with 'Jurassic World' with $204 To $207 million weekend opening Watch

Image of There's no argument that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that more than just little boys love dinosaurs. "Jurassic World," the latest film entry about thunder lizards roaring into the present day has raked in anywhere from $204 to $207 million for its opening weekend. It could very well beat the all-time ... continue reading


Trailer for 'Mockingjay - Part 2' released, shows Capitol under siege Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fan excitement is growing with the release of the trailer for the final chapter of "The Hunger Games" trilogy. In the trailer released this week, hero Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) returns to the Capitol in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," with ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
1 'And now, Israel, listen to the laws and customs ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come ... Read More

Reading 2, James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27
17 all that is good, all that is perfect, is given us ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 30th, 2015 Image

St. Rumon
August 30: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter