Since Hollywood is so enamored with bleak, dystopian, apocalyptic movies these days, it was probably only a matter of time before someone would suggest, “Hey, what about Noah and the flood? Now there’s an Armageddon.” But even dystopian zombie movies are all about human survival.
There’s oh so much more — but at the top of the weirdness scale are the strange craggy creatures that appear to be primitive Transformers, all the more evident to us since we had just seen that trailer for the new Transformers movie. They are explained as “Watchers,” fallen angels, but they come off more like stop-motion rock monsters of the Ray Harryhausen variety, as if Noah is building the ark on Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island” (or Tolkien’s Middle-earth).
At one point in the film, while his family and the rock monsters are working on the ark, Noah is confronted by Tubal-Cain, who says, “ you stand alone and defy me?” To which Noah replies, “I’m not alone.”
When I saw this in the “Noah” trailer a few months ago, it seemed that he was referring to having God on his side. Uh, no. He’s talking about the rock monsters.
As a result of all this, my wife and I decided to re-watch the 1966 John Huston film “The Bible,” of which the Noah segment remains the best aspect. Huston himself plays Noah, and the 40-minute tale is much more faithful to the text.
But the most striking aspect is seeing Huston and friends wrangling real live animals. In “Noah,” there’s no intimate interaction with the animals (save one unfortunate rat). The creatures are simply put to sleep for the voyage by some magic potion Noah disperses.
And between the animals and the rock monsters and various other CGI moments, you have to wonder if this would qualify for the Oscars under any category besides best animated feature.
Is there a worst animated feature category?
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com
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