By Shawn Justice
Was able to catch an early showing of “Noah” last night. Honestly I don't even know where to begin. As my friend Sean would say, “That's two and a half hours I can't get back.” The movie was just one big mess from a filmmaking standpoint alone. Although you could tell there was production value, they underused it. For instance, the flood sequences were so much better in “2012” hands-down. I could reference other movies that deal with the 'ancient' world that were far superior too.
As a filmmaker/screenwriter you develop your characters first, making sure they are strong and the audience knows the motivations and their journey. It's said that Aronofsky does dark films. I get that, but it can also be a lazy excuse not to do your job well. What I mean is that there were no real character arcs, the 'villain' was weak, the motivations were never completely clear or just plain confusing, you never really felt much for anyone, and the journey for all of them was muddied (pardon the pun). Overall a great opportunity lost after burning through $130 million.
The Biblical 'adaptation' is a fail here too as everyone seems to know already, but I was hoping they'd get at least some things right (besides the ark's dimensions). Honestly I wasn't sure what I was watching. The creative license 'additions' were out in left field, way out. Rock creatures as The Watchers? Really? Laughable. I also expected more out of Noah's relationship with the Creator. It got turned into a one-sided blurry mystical experience. Yes, the Biblical text isn't that long for Noah, but it would stand to reason that you'd want to get most of those things right and then fill in around with things that reflect the other truths gleaned - including with supporting character development, etc. And you know what, Hollywood actually knows how to do this. Go back to “The Ten Commandments”, or as recent as the animated film, “The Prince of Egypt.” I'm sure there's others you can think of.
So, even though I wanted to have a good report, I can't say that I do. See another film this weekend. You'll be happy you did.
Shawn Justice is a Christian filmmaker based in Washington state. Besides working on productions for The Food Network, National Geographic Television, and The Outdoor Channel, he directed the feature film Going The Distance.