When Optimus Prime Gets In Touch With His Spiritual Side

Noah (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
4 Out Of 5 Stars


I think the spirit is captured, but apparently, I'm one in a million here.  

Rock transformers, that’s right, rock transformers; ancient descendants of Optimus Prime himself have made their way into a biblical tale that’s a vital part of the Christian community, no joke.  Director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for A Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan) and the studio Paramount have had to make multiple statements in the media as well as emphasize within the marketing campaigns of their latest artistic creation “inspired” by the epic story to ease the blow to people who have followed this story as truth and live their lives by the power of its teachings.  Basically to get them to not walk out of the theater when they see rock transformers.  Which, unfortunately, happened with a handful of people in the screening I attended.  Russell Crowe takes on the widely known character of Noah who builds an ark to save his family and two of every basis of the creatures that be, due to the fall of mankind.  

When Hollywood translates a biblical tale to the big screen, they tread on EXTREMELY thin ice or deep waters in this case.  The fact that SO MANY people believe in that particular story, to replace a stone with a flower, a sandal with a boot, a red garment with a blue one, etc in the line of small thinking is still treading through deep waters.  So when an amazing, visionary artist such as Aronofsky replaces a MAJOR story plot point with a fabricated one in the name of artistry, you can see the controversy and its magnitude.  It’s like saying he didn’t change a red garment to a blue one, but the gender of the main character, that kind of major change.  It’s hard for the masses that believe in this story whole-heartedly, to swallow a major plot point of foreign, transformer-like creatures (fallen angels forced to take the shapes and forms of the Earth), a twisted version of the story of the fallen angels mentioned in the bible, helping Noah build the ark.  I see the logic (they handled the big pieces of wood and such that Noah and his family “simply couldn’t do on their own”).  But it makes this entire story come off as a fairy tale and gives ammunition to those opposed to it and the way of life it teaches, because it’s trying to please everyone.

The story was created for all audiences to take in.  The message of Noah as the first environmentalist, to help us all become more aware of how we treat mother nature and those we love.  People most likely don’t know that Noah was based off of a graphic novel of the same name written by Ari Handel.  This doesn’t change its offensive nature to Christians, but at least gives a blueprint for what Aronofsky and Paramount were going for.  It’s entertaining, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson give some INCREDIBLE performances, the mood and feeling of the tale grab your interest with Aronofsky’s developed family/team that he works with on all of his films (Clint Mansell’s score helped TREMENDOUSLY in capturing that mood and feeling); it’s just that if you come from a religious upbringing, it may be hard to truly immerse yourself in the experience.
Noah's Ark amongst the flood. 
In my opinion, there’s a reason why Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) sparked no controversy but raked in dollars at the box office with no stigmas or grains of salt with each dollar earned like Noah at its release.  The reason being Gibson respected the heavily sensitive material and told it as it’s always told.  I understand Aronofsky wanting to challenge himself as an artist and not just regurgitate a story we all know, I see the logic, but with OVERLY SENSITIVE MATERIAL … go challenge yourself with something else.  It’s just not worth it; this is how careers and lives can ruin. 

Aronofsky does capture the overall spirit of the sensitive story in my book though, which I was happy that the Christian inside me didn’t have to join the bandwagon of dislike towards this film, so it’s not a resentful review, but respectful one of celebrating the accomplishment of completing the task as Russell Crowe in character speaks of himself as.  So to me, he should’ve left it alone, but at the same time passed the test.  However, there’s a reason why this review isn’t close to a perfect score or how my book is one of very few and why the general public collectively rated it a failing grade upon its release.    

Noah (2014)
Action/Adventure, 138 Minutes, PG-13
Directed by:  Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Cast:  Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Nick Nolte, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, & Anthony Hopkins 

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