Midweek micro reviews: Noah and Europa Report

Noah
Darren Aronofsky’s take on the Old Testament Noah story has an otherworldly feel about it, which makes sense given it’s based on Aranofsky’s own graphic novel with sci-fi leanings. Noah is particularly reminiscent of the post Civilisation scenes in last year’s Cloud Atlas, with, tonally, some Apocalypto thrown in.

Anyway, for those who don’t know the tale, good man Noah (Russell Crowe) receives a vision from God that the rest of blood-thirsty humanity is to be destroyed in a flood. However, Noah and his family (including Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman) have been chosen to live through the disaster, and are tasked with ensuring the survival of all living creatures by building a giant ark.

Noah actually feels like two films. Pre-flood, Noah is all unthinking blockbuster action and visual dazzle (plus pointless 3D). Post-flood, the pace slows to a crawl but the film becomes thematically a lot more dense, and draws on the substantial acting skills of its cast. The end result thin is interesting but uneven. And with the exception of Anthony Hopkins’ character, it’s relentlessly dour.

3 stars out of 5.


Europa Report
Released in the middle of last year, this “realistic” sci-fi thriller was completely overshadowed by the much more high profile Gravity. Shot in the found footage style, it focuses on the international crew of a privately funded space mission to Europa, Jupiter’s ice moon. Familiar, if not exactly super famous, faces in the cast include Michael (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Nyqvist, Christian Camargo, Sharlto Copley, Embeth Davidtz and Dan Fogler.

Europa Report has a very disjointed start, jumping backwards and forwards by months during the crew's four-year mission. However, once it is allowed to narratively settle, the film manages to engage through a series of believable crises, and despite very little in the way of character development. Pity about that final reveal though, which plunges the project straight into the B-grade territory it tried to avoid so valiantly for the prior 90 minutes.

2.5 stars out of 5.

Comments

Pieter de Bruyn said…
Noah was an interesting movie due to the fact they only referred to God as the Creator.

Those Watchers was also a very interesting addition to the story of Noah.

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