Darren Aronofsky brings Noah and his ark to the big screen in his long-awaited biblical epic.
What’s It About? Based on the famous biblical story of Noah (Russell Crowe), a man who God entrusts with the task of building an ark in order to save two of each animal before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world.
Verdict? Let’s be honest, everybody knows the story of Noah’s ark, though not necessary in great detail. And while Aronofsky’s retelling of the story has faced criticism from religious leaders for straying from the original tale, the basic premise appears to be the same with added drama for entertainment purposes.
The film starts with a brief biblical history of the earth’s creation and how the descendants of Adam and Eve were Cain, who was evil, and Seth, who was good and father to Noah. This good/evil divide is integral to the story and leads to Noah being chosen to save the animals as God cleanses the world of the evil of mankind in order to start anew.
Although the basic story of Noah is his epic task, the heart of the film is Noah’s family and the brutal impact his task has on them. Douglas Booth, who stars as his son Shem, and Emma Watson, who plays Shem’s wife Ila, add complexity to the story. The film delves beneath the surface of Noah’s mission and brings home the tragic consequences of wiping out all of mankind, leaving him to wonder if humans are supposed to survive the new world, or if God thinks the world would be better off without them due to their brutality and evil. This aspect of the film is a thought-provoking new take on the story and adds to the tension and high-drama throughout.
While the added elements of Noah’s family are widely welcomed, at times their presence changes the tone from epic blockbuster to soap opera. Aronofsky tries to cram too many subplots into the film, making it around 30 minutes too long. As Noah progresses, the family’s issues become more melodramatic with Jennifer Connelly, as Noah’s wife, and Watson delivering lines in a way that feels too contemporary given the film’s biblical setting.
Despite this slight narrative hiccup, Noah is aesthetically beautiful with mesmerizing CGI and cinematography that gives the film an almost fantastical feel throughout, with some scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in Middle-earth. The look of the film also complements the narrative; as with the original story, you must be willing to suspend your disbelief in order for it to make sense. God communicating to Noah through a dream, Noah’s grandfather having magical healing powers, even the way all the world’s animals travel to the ark in pairs would look out of place and impossible to wrap your head around if it weren’t for the rest of the film having a fantasy element to it. The film’s overall look is arguably the strongest part of Noah, as even when the plot begins to falter it is still enjoyable to watch.
Final Words: Noah is a fascinating take on the original story, and tackles many questions you may not have considered prior to seeing the film. Although it’s a story most of us think we already know, Aronofsky’s retelling adds complexity and depth as the film delves beneath the surface and brings home the tragic consequences of Noah’s epic task. The focus on Noah’s family is a particular strength of the film and, along with the its visuals, makes for an original and thought-provoking take on a classic story.
Noah is in cinemas & IMAX across the UK from 4 April 2014.
Watch Flicks And The City’s interviews with the cast of Noah at the film’s European premiere:
Check out why director Darren Aronofsky is excited for you to see Noah in IMAX!
The IMAX release of Noah will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie!