Noah meets Dumb and Dumber
by Tim Kegley
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Just seen the new comedy by Darren Aronofsky named, oddly, Noah.
Ok...there was a lot of water and a big ole' boat he built, sort of... and a lot of water, if I haven't already mentioned that, so...I guess it's similar to the biblical character of the same name in that way. But the brilliance of this movie is that the director probably intended the trick that the name Noah would play on your mind if you've ever caught, by accident, one of the History channel's "Bigfoot was one of the animals in the ark" specials. His bait and switch was just pure comedic genius. Didn't really think that comedy was his forte'.
Kept waiting for Crowe to break out in song, vis a vis Les Miserables, as the animals begin to enter that long box that Noah and his rock band built. It would have been so sweet if the rock angels broke out in "We are the World" while the snakes begin to slither in. And, of course, all those critters are going to sleep if you continue to burn that much marijuana in a confined space. This movie was one comedic skit after another I begin to wonder if I was breathing the same smoke.
The giddiness begin for me when Tubal-Cain and his hordes of meat eaters went on a hunting spree and lodged one of their blades into an armadillo dog...I don't know what else to call it...a dog with layered shell skin. Half dog, half armadillo, half scaley fish which makes up one and a half animal. Hilarious!! Evolution mixed with CGI is so much fun.
Now thick ole' Noah lives in moon scape country, desolation everywhere. This is to set up Noah's little Jack and the Beanstalk moment later when he drops a little bit of magic into the ground and a forest grows up around him. I'm assuming this is a gopher wood forest for he then, with the help of the Lord of the Rings rock angels, commences to build this enormous rectangle box and calls it an ark. But before this amazing transformation of Mars, Noah and his quaint little family make themselves a life relying totally on "the creator's" kind benevolence to supply them with nourishment of some sort without killing armadillo dog or picking up daisies. The joke is that where Noah makes his home address, no animal or plant would plant themselves there. The brilliance of Noah is that he lives in a place that does not allow him to follow his inner craving to carve up a pig and plop it on the grill. Even his son does not get away with plucking a little flower (the only flower for miles) without a little scolding from Noah about how the little sweet flower is supposed to stay in the ground. The joke is that Aronofsky's "creator" feeds thick stocky Noah and his family without them eating. Get it?
My special little moment, and why this movie should win an Oscar in the comedy category, is when Noah and old man Methuselah sit down for a proper English cup of tea. I would have rolled on the carpet if Methy would have broke out some crumpets. Nothing funnier than two men of Edenic descent acting so British millenia before colonization. Flood's acoming...let's drink tea. Isn't tea a plant? Put in the ground by the (drum roll) "creator"? I loved it.
Soon thereafter, while one of Noah's sons wears a back pack looking like he's ready to climb K2, they all get in the ark after, of course, the rock angels ameliorate the meat eaters. But not before a stowaway...stows away. Now the gist of the plot changes because Noah, trying to be the consistent PETA member, decides that all the humans must die...no more human, no more meat eater (grunt). This turns into a comedy classic, much like "Who's on First", when Noah maps out their demise by telling who's going to kill and bury who. This leaves little Japhet being the last one standing (which probably caused him to think, "No parents? YES!"). This is one point where Aronofsky missed a truly great comedic moment. He should have inserted the "creator's" voice (James Earl Jones?) saying, "GET THEE TO THE EDGE OF THE BOAT ALL YE HUMAN! NOW JUMP THEE INTO THE WATERS!" That would have been awesome. But alas he didn't. He piles on a little drama amongst the animal dung, with Noah fighting Tubal-Cain, until they finally land somewhere in Iceland. Hooray!
Thus ends Aronofsky's Noah. Now I think of the missed opportunities that the director passed up. I wished, and still do (maybe it's in the director's cut), for Crowe's Noah to break out in song. Maybe something from Sarah Mclachlin. He didn't. So while this movie is "drowning" in comedy (yes I said "drowning") the rumor is that he, Aronofsky, meant this as a serious movie. I sincerely hope not. If he did then I've found something else, other than Russel Crowe's singing, that would leave my stomach feeling Les Miserables.
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