Sunday, March 30 2014, 09:51 PM MDT
Movie Review: Noah
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for a film that mixes fantasy elements into its biblical source material.
Synopsis: Noah (Russell Crowe) believing that God is about to punish humanity with an all-consuming flood begins to build an ark with the help of his wife, three sons, adopted daughter and the remaining Watchers, fallen angels who tried to aid Adam and Eve when they were exiled from Eden.
Review: When compared to The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur or almost any other religious epic produced by Hollywood Noah is going to appear to be incredibly strange. Most films based on religious texts present their events and miracles in a very straightforward way. Noah takes an entirely different approach as it adds fantasy elements into the mix and as a result the film feels closer to The Lord of the Rings than it does to The Greatest Story Ever Told. Of course if the screenplay stuck strictly to what is written in the Bible Russell Crowe is roughly 550 years too young to be playing Noah and the ten years it takes the family to build the ark is roughly ten years longer than the seven days that Noah had in the Bible.
Some may take offense by the fact that God is referred to as ‘the Creator’ and others will find fault with Noah and his family being vegetarians. What might upset many, or at least cause a sense of alarm are the Watchers, which haven’t appeared in any of the promotional material for the film, but still play a major role within the film. These creatures are clearly based on the Nephilim, or giants that populate certain versions of the Bible, and weren’t simply something the filmmakers made up entirely. That doesn’t make the film any less strange, but it also doesn’t necessarily make it less true to the text (depending on which version of the Bible you happen to be reading). There is also Noah’s struggle to understand the purpose of what he is doing. Certainly it is within reason to suggest that he had difficulty accepting that he would live while countless others would die. Those expecting perfection from deeply human characters steal the magnificence of those characters’ choices.
Does Noah entertain? Yes. The cast, particularly Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, are excellent and the special effects work is magnificent. Is it perfect? No, the film could use with a tighter edit that could take the runtime down to something closer to two hours and there are a few elements of the script that could have been cleaned up a bit as the final act became a little too predictable.
-Ryan Michael Painter