Noah (2014)

IMDB Plot:

A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.

Spoilers of biblical proportions ahead.

There was one weird thing about “Noah”, just after the release: Christian people claimed it was not biblical enough and Atheist people said it was too biblical.

Fact is, both were right.

So “Noah” is — let me put this bluntly — an attempt to make a biblical story not so biblical. It goes to tell — and I’ll kick your butt if you claim “spoilers” for this — the story of Noah, which was guided by God to build an ark to carry two of each species to repopulate Earth, ’cause everything would go underwater for cleansing.

(In other words, God gave Noah a cheat code and everybody else had to play the underwater level. Which sucks.)

But, again, the story tries to be a non-biblical biblical story. And by trying to push both ways, it gets nowhere.

For example, when Noah is telling his children about the story of the creation of the world, using the Genesis as basis and the whole “everything was made in 6 days”, what happens is that you see a very accelerated display of evolution. I got that what Aronofsky and Handel (the writers) tried to do is explain that, for God, a billion years is nothing more than a day, in a way to reconcile the biblical description of the world and the scientific creation of the universe. That is trying to make biblical non-biblical. But you actually see, early in the movie, a dry seed actually become a fountain that creates a whole forest in less than 1 minute. That’s is trying to make biblical biblical.

But the thing is: Those two don’t mix. You can’t expect me to go “Oh, so maybe the biblical part may be true” when you throw such magical happenings going around.

And then you have Noah being the last descendant of Seth, while the rest of the humanity is descendant of Cain — the killer of Abel. So this gives Noah his special powers of receiving Gods message and then going crazy and deciding that he must kill his whole family because God says so. It felt much more like the story of Abraham than Noah, but hey, let’s make it epic, right?

Those mix ups really pull the movie down, but it is not completely bad. At some points, it really reached some very strong emotional points to keep you grasped into the story, but… It’s like Olivia Wilde slapping you continuously: Sure, the view is awesome, but at what price?

There is the use of “Guardians”, which help Noah build the ark, with a very interesting back story as angels that decided to help humanity in the new world created by God, disobeying his orders to stay away and then becoming stone giants — becoming “part of the planet”. But something in me raged furiously when, in the end, when they die, they go “Sorry Father, for failing you” and then suddenly they are forgiven and go back to the heaven, when just minutes before they were clubbing people right and left. Oh yeah, kill everybody, just ask for forgiveness before dying and you’re all good.

Also, in the “non-biblical biblical story” sense, in no point at all God is called “God”. All references are done purely as “the Creator”: “The creator gave me this vision”, “The creator punished us for disobeying his orders” and on and on and on. At some points it gets really tiring hearing “creator” so many times. And my personal guess says that they avoided “God” specifically to not say “Hey, this is Christian story, too bad for you, Muslims!”

If I said “acting is weird” (a phrase I’ve been using a lot in my reviews) is only because the script is weird. There is one point when Jennifer Connelly, playing Naameh, the wife of Noah, goes rampage over him and I could barely understand what was the point she was trying to make. After a few phrases is that she finally reaches the point and then it makes sense but before… (sorry to say this but) she just sound like some woman who just watched a weird romcom in her period.

Russel Crowe goes fine as Noah — in its “I’m Noah, but I’m also Abraham and some crazy fanatical dude” — but only because the story goes around him and I guess the best lines were written for him.

Logan Lerman, which starts acting pretty much like he did in Percy Jackson, goes as bad as expected but suddenly improves — in the very last minutes of the movie, which makes the point completely moot.

Emma Watson was a complete deception but, again, since the best lines were written for Crowe, I wouldn’t expect too much anyway.

Speaking of the female roles, I can’t really understand why Aronofsky would force Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly to be so thin in the movie. I mean, all the man — at least, the adult ones — are bulging pieces of meat, like the stereotype of the lumberjack, while the women are so thin it seems they didn’t eat anything for days. Connelly beauty is almost ruined in the movie because of this.

In the end, it’s and ok story which tries too much to tell a very known story in a way it’s not to not piss too many people and accomplishes nothing. I’d give it 4 out of 10 mass extinctions.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

IMDB plot:

Masked spoilers ahead.

I said that Kick Ass was a way to deconstruct what is a hero and, well, that kinda happens again, although it’s not the main focus.

So the city is now run by several masked vigilantes and Kick Ass decided to go under for awhile. Hit Girl is being coerced to stop fighting crime by her new dad (Marcus, Big Daddy friend in the previous movie), who wants her to live a normal life. But then Dave wants to be Kick Ass again and wants Hit Girl to come with him, but she doesn’t want because reasons and that’s where the story revolves around.
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In a way, this is much more a “Hit Girl” than “Kick Ass” movie, with some sad sad scenes, like Hit Girl going bananas watching her first boy band video clip and a puking scene. But the story really revolves around Hit Girl and her “I promised I’d not fight again” vs “I was trained for this” conundrum, with Marcus acting as the pressure towards “normality” and Kick Ass towards “fight crime”.

So while it is still about deconstructing what makes a hero, it’s not Kick Ass who drives the idea, but Hit Girl.

But does it do a good job doing it? Actually, no. As I mentioned, some scenes are too damn silly, breaking the pace of the story too much, instead of focusing on Hit Girls choice.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is still the same as the first movie, so if it was Ok in the first, he is still Ok. Chlöe Grace Moretz, which should be the primal focus of the movie, is put in some scenes that really mess with her acting — although I’d say better than Taylor-Johnson. Christopher Mintz-Plasse finally graduated from the whimpy school and plays a more insane/bad-ass character — but still somewhat silly. Jim Carrey plays an awesome part and you can barely say it’s him under that mask: No silly faces, no silly voices — actually, he plays the whole movie with a deeper voice, which impressed me.

In the end, I’d give it 5 heroes out of 10 villains.

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

IMDB plot:

Po the Panda is the laziest of all the animals in the Valley of Peace, but unwittingly becomes the chosen one when enemies threaten their way of life.

Ok, now be aware that I may spoil things, as usual.

In an old China, a Panda, son of a noodle maker, dreams of becoming a grand master of Kung Fu. The village where he lives is also the place where The Furious Five, five masters of kung fu, live, fueling his dreams.

The part that I liked more is the very first scenes. Not because they have anything interesting, but because it looks like a cartoon, much like Samurai Jack, which was, in most of the episodes, more mature than anything going in the TV (ok, it also had some very childish episodes, but I think the mature outnumber the childish.) It made me believe it would be more mature than most “CG for kids” we see these days and, honestly, it was slightly above that. But just slightly.

One of the things that made me think “Why?” was the cast. I mean, wow, Angelina Joile, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan? Amazing. Except that they gave Angelina about 10 lines, Jackie got 2 and Lucy just one. Jack Black lines are mostly fun, yes, but after a while you start getting tired of his voice. It’s like the whole movie is just a “Here people: Come hear Jack Black for 2 hours!” And some of the things he says really don’t fit a kung fu movie, even if it is for kids.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s another of those “believe in you” movies for kids. The CG is pretty good (well, most of the CG movies these days are good and Kung Fu Panda is no exception), the movements don’t look too weird, although some scenes go for the child-cartoon-appearance and look really silly, specially when compared with the rest of the movie, where movement and more fluid and real-like.

Overall, it’s a good movie and fun to watch.

I’m out of sync with the movie critics

I hate George Clooney. Really. Every single movie he does make me like him less and less. His acting is not convincing and he doesn’t have facial expressions. Yet, every single critic says he is an awesome actor and that his latest movie, “Michael Clayton”, is so awesome it should get an Oscar. When I saw it, I wanted to pee on Clooney face and burn the theatre down, just to enjoy a little bit of my lost 2 hours in the cinema.

When I was in the plane back to Australia, I saw Ratatoule (or whatever, I don’t care if the name is wrong.) I thought it was unimaginative, boring story about “accept who you are” for kids. You know, the same thing they say in kid movies over and over again. I mean, I’m seeing that message since I was a kid. Yet, critics say that the Academy should reconsider its position about the movie, as it was ranked higher than the “best movie” movies.

Really, critics don’t know movies.