Year Released: 2014
Driected by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins
(Pg-13, 139 min.)
Genre: Drama, Classics
“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark.” The Holy Bible: Genesis
Noah goes New Age. Or is the Biblical hero lost in one of the more cheesy “Star Trek” reruns with giant rock creatures emerging like stone versions of the Transformers to help build the Ark? This abominable mish mash of a film offends not just Judeo Christian sensibilities, but our cinematic senses as well.
Sorry, Russell Crowe, even your hoped for photo op with the Pope wasn’t going to save this sloppy film – or your flailing career either. You should have left your Biblical bona fides back in The Gladiator arena where they could remain intact. And why risk the Oscar winning delusional perfection of A Beautiful Mind by trying to graft those mental aberrations onto poor Noah, who seems nothing short of a mad man in the latter half of this film?
Maybe you shouldn’t have teamed up with Director Darren Aronofsky, who has already shown a tendency to cook up a churning stew of genres in 2010’s Black Swan (Pink Fairy Cakes) where his supernatural slasher, rite of passage psychodrama, erotic thriller, ballet-Red Shoes wannabe adventure was enough to turn one’s stomach. The same Aronofsky, who earned great plaudits for exploring the darker places of that pseudo-sport The Wrestler in 2008 and raised his scope to the high arts in 2010 to deconstruct the ballet, is now trying to do the same with the Bible. But even the fawning critics can’t save him from himself in this film, in spite of the admirable efforts of a cast trying to take his adolescent Noah script seriously.
I mean, the historical anachronisms are enough to make anyone dizzy. Noah, just ten generations removed by Adam, lives in patchwork quilt of time periods. The descendants of Cain have apparently taken a quasi-industrial path, polluting the environment with mining and vague images of smoldering mechanical plants.
The area king (an invented character created for the film) sports armor, has a sort of crude rocket launcher, and the swords and knives he goes about hacking various people and animals with are definitely beyond the iron age. Even Noah’s peaceful wife (Jennifer Connelly) tills the earth with an axe not all that different from one I might purchase at the local Home Depot.
And the little peasant outfits Noah and his family wear, kind of cloth versions of iron mail, make them resemble refugees from a down and out Renaissance Festival.
Cut loose from the infinite Harry Potter (Mrs. Weasley's Rock Cakes) series, Emma Watson plays Noah’s adopted daughter, and she seems right at home here, what with magical seeds that sprout instant forests to yield logs for the ark, and herbal potions that produce a vapor that puts all the animals on the ark to sleep for at least 9 months. But this critic couldn’t help but wonder, as she and her step brothers walk between the rows of assorted beasts waving smoking pots of vapors like so many dutiful altar boys, why the animals, even mammoth beasts like the elephants, fall into slumber, but Noah and his family do not.
Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, is played by Anthony Hopkins, who is living the good life as he collects a series of high dollar checks for lending his gravitas to a chorus of walk-in roles in everything from Thor (Scandinavian Almond Bars) (his Odin takes “phoning it in” to the next level of numbness) to Beowulf (Anglo-Saxon Quail and Bacon(where he deconstructs the dignified old king Hrothgar into a drunken dissolute who has himself largely to blame for Grendel’s marauding.)
Hopkins’ Methuselah also has a few quirks not mentioned in Biblical literature, such a stash of hallucinogens and craving for berries. Oh, and he can cure bareness with the touch of his hand, too.
If any Bible scholars are feeling more like they’re in a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy than a Biblical epic, they have just cause. Director and scriptwriter Aronofsky told reporters he wanted to create “this fantastical world a la Middle-earth that they wouldn’t expect from their grandmother’s Bible school.” Yes, he’s proud of what he calls “the least Biblical Biblical film ever made.”
Aronofsky also gets his kicks creating some of his own inventions for the epic. What about the stowaway on the ark? That’s a new one, I think. And did you know Noah and family were vegans? While there is some Biblical support for the tradition of eating meat evolving after the flood, in the film meat eating is connoted with the corruption of Cain’s descendants.
Animals good, meat-eating man, evil. Peta would be proud.
Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, has not lost his zest for life, in spite of his “nine hundred sixty and nine years” on earth. When he asks his great grandson, Japheth what he likes best about the earth, Japeth replies without a pause – berries. From then on, Methuselah seems to obsess over the little fruits, devoting the last hours before the flood to finding them on his mountain hillside. When he does finally unearth a shy red orb, the waters wash over him, but Meluselah faces the torrent with a sublime smile on his face.
I can’t promise you our Triple Berry Crisp recipe will have that great power, but it is sure to delight you with its sweetness. And Noah would approve.
"This is a wonderful berry crisp. I use a triple berry mixture of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but just one works well too! My family loves it! Serve it with whipped cream and it looks great." Polly Giebler
Triple Berry Crisp
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and white sugar; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.