Movie Review: Noah

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Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and Anthony Hopkins

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content , Running time 138 minutes, Drama/Adventure

Compare to: The Fountain (2006), The Road (2011)

Of all the biblically inspired movies to hit theaters this year (Three so far, with Heaven Is for Real in April and Ridley Scott’s Exodus releasing in December), Noah seems to have been the most anticipated outside of the church and has definitely been given the budget to tell the fantastical story.

But hype and anticipation are great to bring audiences in initially while word of mouth does the rest of the work. Will Noah bring audiences in is something I’m waiting to find out, but is it worth watching?

Noah is asked by “The Creator” to undertake the goal of creating the massive ark to save him, his family, and two of each animal on the planet. Mankind has become so corrupted after only their brief years of existence God is going to wipe all of mankind off the face of the earth. Noah’s objective is difficult enough on its own, much less without the violent mob hoping to break through his doors and take what’s his.

All in the family.

All in the family.

The difference between director Darren Aronofsky’s work and the majority of directors is Aronofsky’s willingness to examine the darker side of any characters whose story he tells; from heroin addicts to biblical godfathers, no one’s demons aren’t shown in full force. Some of the most interesting scenes are the exploration of man’s folly on the pre-apocalyptic earth are some of the most alarming and make you really feel as though the world should be ended.

Performances are all strong in the film with Ray Winstone stealing the show as the leader of the barbaric hordes. Humanity is given to his character without the purpose of the having you feel sorry for him, but rather to paint the picture of humanity lost. Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Noah is something like a calmer Maximus; stoic and steadfast, sometimes harsh in his decisions but hardly faltering. This often gives the impression that he really could be the only man chosen to survive.

Noah's work out routine- bench press and squats. Lots of squats.

Noah’s work out routine- bench press and squats. Lots of squats.

The scenery here, aside from the acting, is what shines most in this film. From seeing the literal creation of the universe to the snake shedding its skin in the garden of Eden, it’s just plain enjoyable to watch, especially knowing we’ll never see this in reality or just about any other film for that matter.

But at the same time, much of the problems come from the now infamous third act- the final scenes of the film that have been discussed in the film world for months about major changes made from the original story. What the changes were to be was the subject of much speculation. More than the changes made in the story that affected the enjoyment of the film came from the intense melodrama that permeates nearly the entire last half hour. The film went from “interesting take” to “Please just end. Please.”

Wish granted!

Wish granted!

People open to the idea of a different interpretation of the story may be satisfied here with Aronofsky filling in the blanks with a version that could have been (More or less). Though Biblical scholars and church groups looking for the story they’re more familiar with may be surprised and/or disappointed.

Ultimately, the best thing I can say about Noah is that to decide for yourself, you really will have to see the film. Some movies are above opinion and some you can take people at their word but Noah is one that you’ll just have to see to know whether or not you can like it.

Positives- Great acting, special effects are often as good as it gets in parts, certain scenes aren’t going to be in most other movies offering a unique movie going experience.

Negatives- Some effects stand out terribly, overacting takes away from integral scenes or in unnecessary scenes which is also an issue.

Grade: C

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One Response to “Movie Review: Noah”

  1. Compare to The Fountain and The Road? Sounds like this is for me.

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