Sunday, July 27, 2014

Noah & Son of God (2014): Just waiting for Batman to save the day.

Noah (2014)

Thought-provoking yet bland, this modern retelling of a popular biblical story seemed to be doomed from the beginning, but considering the name behind this seeming big blunder of a movie actually makes you think twice. Is it really a grand yet failed attempt or is it an epic fail done on purpose? Stone giants, a family drama worthy of a cheesy tv series, a womb-healing Methuselah crazy for berries, and - wait for it- "Be fruitful AND MULTIPLY!" -- for a moment I'm at a loss for words.

Directed by:  Darren Aronofsky
Written by:  Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan)
Edited by:  Andrew Weisblum (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Black Swan)
Music by:  Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Stoker)
Distributed by:  Paramount Pictures
Running Time: 138 mins
Budget: $125 million
Box Office: over $350 million
This movie a freakin' soap opera. It's a pity to see Anthony Hopkins & Russell Crowe in this film, though admittedly, this movie would be kaput without Crowe. It also hurts me to see Emma Watson in here (it's the end of the world and you risk missing the trip to Titanic, err Ark, just so you could get it on with your sexy sexy love the minute Mr. Berry Man Methuselah lightly touches your abdomen?). Uh huh.

Noah is so unlikeable that I truly wanted to see him drown or get ice-picked to death by his sons. The way this movie was executed, you'd think that he just went a little bit cuckoo building that ark and talking to the clouds (and hearing no response) and became a psychotic religious extremist intent on eradicating humanity because that's "what God wants him to do". Sounds familiar?

This film is not without merits. There were bits of dialogue that made me stop and agree whole-heartedly. The photography is impressive, though I'm not to happy with the overall CGI. There's one scene that gave me chills - that scene where Noah sneaked into the enemies' territory and saw how depraved humanity has become. It's chilling because I believe humans can be (and are) the worst kind of animals God has created, and them being engulfed in eternal fire gives me a bit of satisfaction (I say them because I'm not human. I'm an alien. Shhh.) - that scene is so atmospheric it felt like I was actually Noah witnessing it all. And the Genesis part makes the rest of the movie tolerable because it's amazing. A mix of The Tree of Life, 2001: A Space Odyssey and all that artsy fartsy feel, that Genesis scene is a 2 to 3-minute visual treat complete with the backing of the theory of evolution (and The Big Bang Theory - though it's still a mix of religious & scientific) that elicited a happy smirk from me. Here's a slow clap for you, Aronofsky.

And that's exactly why it's interesting to think that Darren Aronofsky directed this film with his tongue in his cheek the whole time. Turning a biblical story into science fiction, mixing Creation & Evolution, and ending the film with Noah's speech about procreation - I think he is making a jab at his film's source material. Considering that the new batch of mankind begins with Noah's family, tell me, how the hell would they procreate without having to resort to incestuous affairs? Surely, Aronofsky is aware of that? Probably, he's telling us in his own stealthy way how ludicrous this story is? Adam & Eve - who did their sons procreate with? And the bible preaches against incest?

Again, considering Aronofsky's filmography, and the visual work done in Noah, it's really hard to accept that this project is an epic fail. I'd rather think that he's giggling the whole time he was adapting this bible story. Still, this is an epic disappointment, both as a fantasy/science fiction and a biblical adaptation - it's boring, melodramatic, and just plain silly most of the time.

A Moot Rating:  2/5

*     *     * 

Son of God (2014)
Directed by:  Christopher Spencer
Distributed by:  20th Century Fox
Running Time: 138 mins
Budget: $22 million
Box Office: a little over $67 million

Watching a pretty but wimpy Jesus (Diogo Morgado) who doesn't fail to "quote the bible" every few minutes in a 2-hour, 18-minute film (I mean TV movie) - now that's what I call "time thoroughly wasted." It's not that I don't appreciate a movie about Christ, it's just that Son of God is truly an irrelevant seen-that-already, poorly executed by-the-numbers film that does nothing other than tell a story that has been told a gazillion times before, and not to mention, much better. I wish Jesus would stop "acting" too much - the expressive eyes and the almost-always-breaking-voice as if every little scene was emotional for him makes me wanna laugh out loud at inappropriate times. But I don't. Only because my mom's watching with me and I know she's gonna tell me yet again that the devil makes me do such things. O_O

On a side note, it's very entertaining to see him with his shiny white teeth and perfect wavy hair and cool robe-y clothes, getting all touchy touchy & kissy kissy with Judas and the other dudes - it's just funny.

Son of God is not that bad, the story is told in a straightforward manner and never resorting to any cheap tricks to attract audience (*cough* The Passion of the *cough* Christ...although I prefer Gibson's than this bore) and I do think some of the actors did good enough (Peter, John, and sometimes Jesus if he's not being all too gooey-eyed), BUT it's also not that good because that's all there is to it. It tells the story of Christ up until his crucifixion, but it doesn't go any deeper. More like an abridged version because while it retained the vital aspects of Christ's journey, this movie is severely lacking in depth. I guess I was just looking for the real essence - aside from the parables & teachings - that is Jesus' relationship with his disciples. The Judas-Jesus angle was severely underwhelming, in my opinion.

Given the hype and mainstream status of Son of God, one is bound to expect. But it does nothing - like a relic in a museum. It just tells you a story, one that we already know. One may find that good enough, others may be sorely disappointed.

On a side note, John the Baptist is so groovy!

A Moot Rating: 1.5/5 - A one-time watch.

2014 is obviously a year for mainstream biblical adaptations. Can't wait for Christian Bale's Exodus: Gods and Kings, and somehow I'm half-expecting Moses to battle killer sharks or aliens. Just for the heck of it. 

*Photos/GIFs courtesy of Tumblr.

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  1. Nice job !!! You always produce such pristine reviews, and your humor is delightfully enjoyable..

    1. thank you :) I guess now you know I'm an alien! lol



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