Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah Goes Mosquito Coast

We read tons of reviews - good, bad and mediocre- and went to see Noah. At it's best it was boring. There were moments- rare and brief, but there, of real brilliance- in both story telling and rendering- Methuselah is likable. I mention this because nobody else is- Hannibal the Cannibal was more compelling than, say, Noah; the cool dog in the opening scene, the Creation story, as told by Noah on the ark(until the end of the 6th day-um, did you invent the Internet too, big guy?),  when the land animals are flocking to the ark, and when Ela is healed. This movie had the makings of greatness.

I don't even mind the rock monsters (best line in a review so far, "Galaxy Quest called, they want their rock monsters back"). It makes sense that Noah might have needed some divine intervention. The rendering and the back story of the beasties was too far gone- especiallyafter seeing the trailer for Transformers moments before. Seriously, why do movies just blur together anymore. Certainly there's more creativity to be had in the world than Ancients and Transformers!

But the thing I minded more than anything, more than the unlikeable protagonist, the lack of believability, the apocryphal desolation, the hipster clothing and the tree huggeryism that went way beyond stewardship (look, I'm Crunchy- I care- but this was ridiculous)- was the dystopian nihilism from beginning to end. I like a good dystopian work of lit- but good Dystopian Lit must be redemptive or it ends up being capricious, therefore NOT believable, and therefore NOT good Literature- dystopian or otherwise. Which Noah did; end up being capricious that is. So, this is a movie that explains to us why Noah goes all Mosquito Coast on us. It's his nonsensical commitment to the "innocents" (i.e animals)- wait- they eat each other- they are innocent why?- while denying his very own instinct for survival and legacy.

Here's how NOT believable this was (one of the non-negotiables of good writing); Ham desperately finds a wife in a concentration camp pit of death They run, willy-nilly to the ark, followed by hordes of dark (but hiply) dressed beserkers. His wife-ish (of 4 min, per Matt Walsh), gets caught in a bear trap. Noah throws Ham towards the ark, leaves the girl in the trap, in the mud, pleading for help and the next thing we see is her being trampled to death by the horde. Um, what? Shorting out here. My brain did not compute this scene. I seriously wondered how they were going to go back and get her and make this scene right. The point was? Who is innocent? What? Wait? Huh? O.k. It makes no sense, I no longer care and why must the movie drag on and on and on and on-u-ah-ah-on?

The flotillan scene was just painful. Painful writing. Painful characters. Bad lighting- and by the way, where'd the little magic crystals come from- no matter 'cause we no longer believe or care about much in this movie- they give light, fire, pregnancy tests, curatives, bazookas, flame throwers, angel murder weapons- in other words- whatever plot device is needed at the time, but back to the painful flotillan scene- The bad guy (why is Tubal Cain bad? I've always kind of liked him) speaking truth. Noah, channeling his inner Mosquito Coast crazy guy, speaking Gore-ism-ishs. Oy vey. What a mess. His people are pissed. Um yeah, why wouldn't they be. He's a leader in desperate need of some good anti-psychotics. He hears from God, not in a personal caring kind of way- but because God is going to use him because God only cares about His creation and needs Noah's help to save it? I think I'm back to being confused. Why is Noah included at all? - According to Noah, God's plan doesn't include man, because they sinned, but he'll take the fallen angles back if they defend Noah. Did I mention that I'm so confused. Wait. I forgot, I don't care anymore.

So, the ark crash lands and cracks like an egg. We find Noah drunk (why?) and naked (Huh?) on the beach. And where's the rainbow? Wait, my 14 yo just explained that the prismatic mushroom cloud at the end- psychosis on a good day?- missed the symbolism there- was the Rainbow.

Dystopian Nihilism. Bad writing. Bad movie. Bad philosophy. Horrible theology. No wonder Noah's drunk on the beach. Someone mentioned survivor's guilt. Which is a point to consider. But for now, please, just let it end.

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