Sunday, March 30, 2014

Holy Mud Puddle

Thank God Darren Aronofsky got Russell Crowe to star in his wet hot mess of a movie, “Noah.”  Crowe’s massive presence and incredible skill at playing men much put upon and beset by trials and tribulations keeps the film from sinking into total silliness.  Like Kevin Costner, -–remember “The Postman? -- Crow has a rare gift for making the viewer think that, no matter what it is, Crowe actually believes it in that moment.  And since film is made up of moments, many moments, it’s enough to convince me and keep me seated. 

And “Noah” needed everything Crowe could bring to this fascinating, awful, ridiculous, moving, powerful, silly movie. 

We’re all pretty familiar with the story – God, man’s wickedness, the animals, rain, a dove – but the story in the Bible is only two pretty straightforward chapters.  That’s it. And no explanations.  A few minutes reading and you’re done.  But a movie has got to last two hours and has to ‘splain things, and so Aronofsky had to cook stuff up.  Like The Watchers, fallen angels who were punished by God for the sin of helping mankind, and were turned into waddling Transformers made of chunks of stone, one of which was voiced by a rumbling, growly Nick Nolte, if you can picture that.

So now we’ve got God, man’s wickedness, the animals, rain, a dove and . . . . Transformers!  You see something like that and you gotta  say to yourself, “Maudie, I think we’re in for some kind of wild ride here.”

Well, really, what can you do with this story that a few sci-fi bits wouldn’t help?  And special effects, and fabulous CGI work (all the animals were computer pixels, speaking of which, spoiler alert: The Noahs, Fred and Wilma, cooked up some herbal concoction and smudged the whole ark, putting all the animals into a deep sleep, which neatly solved the problem of poop, massive piles of poop  being popped out for 150 days And dog and cat fights and seasick elephants trumpeting in fear and lurching from one side of the ship to the other like shifting ballast in high seas.)

And, this being a spectacle, there were way cool explosions, creepy symbolic visions, requisite battle scenes out of Game of Thrones With Rain and a preposterously wonderful ark, the building of which caused it’s own back story.

Seems the movie was filmed in Iceland (Better visuals to indicate the crappy state of the earth and how beset and put upon Noah and his family were.  Also no explanations of where their rather large yurt came from since they were only carrying small backpacks ), which means we had a terrible, bare hardscrabble landscape with no trees.  So early on I was on alert wondering how they were gonna write their way out of that problem; Ark, wood . . .  no trees.

Well, silly me.  That’s where the screenwriters and the CGI boys come in: Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather (Anthony Hopkins), who had been living in a cave.  Don’t ask.) has a magic seed that when planted suddenly causes a whole forest to spring up, so, ka-boom, trees!
See how it goes? 

Unfortunately, the problem of patching plot holes wasn’t as easy to accomplish when it came to the “issues” going on with Noah’s family.  For some odd reason, the screenwriters conflated the story of Noah with the story of Abraham and Issac.

In the Bible, Noah and his wife and their sons Shem, Ham, Japeth and their three wives entered the ark.   They and their wives and all the animals were saved so they could repopulate the world.   In the film, Noah decided that God only wanted to save the animals .  And in this version, the sons had no wives, only a rescued young lady whose reproductive organs were damaged, which meant that there was only one fertile female (Mom) so the race of man would just die out.  So now we had a “family situation” going on: One son gets child-free nooky, the other son doesn’t.   Enter Methuselah (again!) and he magically fixes the young girl and she gets pregnant.

And suddenly we’re bang in the middle of Abraham’s narrative:  Noah declares that God chose him to make sure that mankind dies off (providing nobody looked at Mom and figured out she was capable of begetting.)  So if the baby was a son, it would live, if a girl, Noah would kill it and so carry out God’s commandment.
Oh, the drama! And with much wailing and hollering, twin girls are born and what’s a crazed Grandpaw to do? 

Well, this is Hollywood in the 21st century, not BCE, when the God of the Old Testament was as changeable and terrifying as a Bridezilla on PMS.  So, unlike Abraham, whose murderous hand was stayed by God only because Abraham was actually willing to kill his son, in this muddled script, Noah fails God’s instructions (kill all mankind) and finds his hand stayed by “Love,” a New Testament concept seriously out of time and place to the original story.

What am I saying?  We have Noah and Transformers, so, sure, “Love.”  O.K. Fine. Fine.
And that’s where Russell Crow always earns his fabulous salary.  A man seriously beset who somehow endures and prevails and triumphs.


Oh, and the angelic Transformers?  Before dying in battle, Nick Nolte begs God’s forgiveness  and ZAP! all the fallen angels are returned to their fiery glory and zipped up to heaven like reverse comets.

Which made me wonder, “Why didn’t they ask sooner?  Would have saved a good deal of time painfully shuffling around encrusted with mud and rocks.”


Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Yikes!!! Thanks for the warning!!!!! I had thought it might be interesting to see, but now I see, NOT! I have loved through the years the more plausible biblical movies.

Saw Grand Budapest Hotel last night - hilarious!! With fabulous make-up and even more fabulous art direction. Maybe a dose of that would help the angst felt at this Noah farce.

Guess they thought no one would care about that old biblical story without making it palatable to hi-tech-hugging tweens and teens. Bummer, really.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ann - I loved "The Postman". Not really sure why, but it may have to do with my Oregon origins.
Hated "Waterworld" though. It just made no sense on many levels.
I won't be seeing "Noah". Not really interested in christian mythology.

Churadogs said...

Toonces: No, no, it's one of those movies ya gotta see, like who could miss Angelic Transformers, and what's with the yurts, and wait 'till ya get a gander at the ark. It's the Bastille with bamboo. That puppy's gonna float?? Too cool. I mean, really. PLUS, ya got Russell Crowe! What's not to love!

Hotel's on my list. Love Wes's work. Bet the place was packed? Jim's got dozens of playtimes and two theatres running.

Anon, 5:30. I loved the Postman, too. It was so romantic, heroic, corny, sweet, and I believed Kevin Costner believed it all so I did too!Why not? It was grand.

Don't worry about "christian" mythology,the promo ads are skittering away from "christian" by declaring the movie is "based on" the, uh, "Noah-ishy" legends, but makes no claims for being Biblical or accurate or anything else. Probably the reason the usual professional Christians-As-Victim Defenders-of-the-Faith haven't shown up in any numbers to holler about blasphemy. I mean, how can you even begin to whine about "inaccuracy" with a straight face when you're talking about rockish Transformers? Plus, Aronofsky tossed in all kinds of contemporary stuff, like "environmentalism," and Sci-fi weirdness, then turned Noah into some kind of Jim Jones, and then just ran wonderfully off the rials with a gleeful whoop!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

OK, you are persuading me that it is worth it. Yes, I am a big Russell Crowe fan but I needed your extra persuasion I guess, because even Russell couldn't do it this time!

Hotel was sold out and we went early to get in, line around the side of the building! I hated Tannenbaums, didn't see Darjeeling or Moonrise, so this one was a gamble for me and it sure paid off - loved all the thoughtfulness into the details, it was an eye candy event for art direction!

Anonymous said...

"Noah" should remind us of what will happen when a 7.5 quake liquifies the PZ and destroys the gravity sewer. The only "animals" that will get to board Gibson's ark are Pandora and members of Celebrate Los Osos who sunk the town by making such a colossal blunder in the first place. Everyone else will have to swim for their lives, except Ron Crawford who spends most of his time in 2005 where it's dry all the time.

Anonymous said...

WOW a 7.5?

Would the liquefaction cause the thousands of septic tanks to float like mini-arks?

Anonymous said...

Better float than break.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Anon 1:22PM, you are right, mini-arks detached from their moorings! They will spill their foetid contents and gag the survivors, rendering them senseless!

If a 7.5 hits, I think sewer pipes will be the last thing we will be thinking about. The giant tanks that hold the water supply will rupture! If you can't drink, you can't pee and won't be pooping much longer either. The lucky ones will be digging a hole with a stick outside their destroyed house. Time to move as there won't be much left.

Churadogs said...

Holy Armageddon!

Anonymous said...

The question is, what does Lou think about the gravity disaster facing us in the future. You're just an empty dress, Lynette. Obviously you don't know what you're talking about, which is nothing new. Please have Lou blog in one of his many bogus blog names and tell us why broken sewers lines are okay with him and why he welcomes another Christchurch or Fukushima in his backyard. You don't have to answer for him. He can answer for himself and demonstrate the kind of leadership he plans to offer us in the next election.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 10:01

You seem to worry more than anyone about a sewer in Los Osos. Do you have a life outside your anti-sewer obsessiveness.

You surely must consider moving to a sewer-less community, or do you just like being so negative?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have a life, unlike you who take naked photos of pipes. Unfortunately, I do have to take a break every now and then to correct wankers who continue to spread misinformation about the town (not a very pleasant gig, in case you haven't noticed) from which I have absolutely intention of moving. I'm opening a business here next year. You won't even know you're my customer, but I'll know you're the crazy sewer lady.

Churadogs said...

Uh, Anon 8:56, are you the same Anon 10:09 (above?) If so, why would you open a business in a town with a gravity sewer you're convinced will blow apart in a 7.5 quake and wash us all out to sea, including your new business, in a flood of poo?

That's the problem with Anonnymice, can't keep the players straight or the conversational threads straight since you don't know who or what they're referring to.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:09 is going to open a little "medicinal" shop next to the new McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

No, no "medicinal" whatever. That right there might be Los Osos' biggest unspoken problem and why the supersize sewer actually happened here. People were/are too stoned to see what they were getting into and couldn't agree on the time of day.

For sure I am forced to take out extra insurance because you dimwits opted for the most expensive sewer ever.

Fortunately, you will be paying my insurance and sewer bill for me through my business, so no worries for me either way.

Don't forget Noah. Just hope that his isn't the last face you ever see.

Churadogs said...

Anon 1:28, Since the Bible is rather vague on times and dates, it appears that Noah lived for a long, long, long, long time, so, who knows? Maybe he's walking around now and will be coming to your shop soon to buy some water wings. And an umbrella. You do sell umbrellas, don't you?

As for the "extra" insurance you said you'd be buying, is that standard earthquake insurance or are there now special Poo insurance policies, specifically tied to gravity sewer lines breaking in a 7.5 earthquake? And my neighbors down the road will still be on septics, so should they buy Popping-Up-Tanks-In-7.5- Liquifaction Poo insurance too?

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ha-ha-ha!!! Poo insurance!!! Love it!!!