“Raindrops keep falling on my head.”

— Burt Bacharach/Hal David

We are all here today to meet Noah, (Russell Crowe) the original Gene Kelly rain dancer, and his family: his wife Naameh (a really good Jennifer Connelly), sons Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll) and a star boarder on the boat, Ila (a very good Emma Watson), Ila wasn’t on the original boarding pass list. The family found her and adopted her.

This crew has, as you all probably know by now, been put together by writer director Darren Aronofsky (“The Fountain,” “Black Swan”) with apologies to God who wrote the original. Again, with apologies to the faithful, there is no way to take this enormous water-logged Carnival Cruise ship of fools seriously. You have to just look at it as a Disney cruise Bible adventure ride for the whole family.

I will say this in defense of the movie: I re-read the original, and Aronofsky’s version is way cooler.

Russell Crowe’s Noah is a nasty old man with a mean temper. But he was the very first conservationist with a strong love of nature, and quite possibly the very first vegan. The family doesn’t eat meat. It’s considered a sin, and that comes down from God, whom Noah calls “The Creator,” who apparently was also a vegan.


Writer Aronofsky takes the Noah story in the Bible, and turns it into a two and a half hour action-adventure thriller with tons of armed bad guys, nightmares, hallucinations and CGI monsters. It is big and noisy and lots of fun. You’ll feel guilty about that, but you can confess it later.

We also get the best villain since Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men” — Tubal-Cain, descendant of that bad brother, played here by an almost unrecognizable Ray Winstone. Winstone is a lot of fun as a really big, muscular, slobbering “King” of a thundering tribe of meanies, all clad in bronze masks and iron shoes. Noah’s family, on the other hand, seem to have been costumed by the Eddie Bauer outlet store.

Aronofsky fills his screen with one CGI disaster after another, and the effects and sounds are mind boggling. If only Cecil B.DeMille had had this hardware, imagine what that sea parting in the “Ten Commandments” would have looked like, not to mention that burning bush.

As Noah and his family wander across the barren landscape in search of a Whole Foods, they come upon some gigantic stone monsters, who, we’re told, were once fallen angels who angered that grumpy Creator. Now they are sky-scraper tall with glowing inner fires, looking for all the world like walking charcoal griller fires.

It looks like it’s toast for Noah and family, but the rocks turn out to be nice avenging angels, and will stay on as help mates and body guards for the family. They will even help to build the ark, by wood working the new surprise forest, and generally helping around the house. Voila! God’s Home Depot crew.

But then comes what we’ve all been waiting for, what we paid the big bucks for: THE FLOOD! And boy, it’s worth it.


But wait. First we have to get all the animals aboard, bears and giraffes and elephants and snakes, a whole lot of snakes. Once loaded, they are all put to sleep by the kids, who walk up and down with bowls of smoking grass. Yep, you guessed it, medical marijuana. For some reason, the kids don’t inhale.

THE STORM! You thought Katrina and super storm Sandy were bad? Hold onto your life preserver. Just as Noah and his rock band helpers are putting the finishing touches on the boat, thousands of evil doers rush them. But The Creator wasn’t fooling when he promised water. This rain doesn’t just pour from the sky, it comes gushing up in pillar-like torrents, smashing the sinners, and setting the ark sailing across the waves.

I won’t give away the ending, except to say when they find land, Noah discovers grapes, which tells us that they’re probably either in Italy, France or Santa Barbara, Calif. “Noah” has some sweet touches, but mostly it’s Bible study class for Quentin Tarentino fans. Bring an umbrella.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.

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