Having missed Noah at the theatre, I was pleased to be able to pick it up during the Boxing Week sales and finally have the opportunity to watch it. Touted as “one of the most unforgettable Biblical epics ever put on film”, and starring Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), I thought this had to be a movie worth seeing. It certainly proved to be very dramatic and thought provoking as well as one of the most imaginative Biblical epics I’ve ever seen, and I’m not certain if that’s a negative statement or not. There were many things that I liked about this movie and just a few that I might quarrel over.
First of all, the acting was superb. I thought all of the main characters were an example of excellent casting. Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah was delightful, as was Emma Watson as Ila. Ray Winston as Noah’s nemesis Tubal-cain at times made me wonder if Crowe was playing both parts; he sounded so much like him and had a similar build. But when they engaged in hand-to-hand combat, they clearly were two different actors. Even so, the fight seemed to be two alter-egos, good and evil, fighting for possession of the ark. Douglas Booth as Shem and Logan Lerman as Ham were both convincing as members of the chosen family who experience some doubt about the path Noah feels God is leading them.
The representation of Samyaza (voice by Nick Nolte) as a fallen angel (from apocryphal Jewish and Christian tradition) that ranked in the heavenly hierarchy as one of the Grigori or “Watchers”, in Greek, was an interesting concept and having them made of rock formations somewhat like bumpy transformers was certainly imaginative but it rather stretched my credulity. I also found it a bit odd that the descendants of Cain numbered in the thousands while the descendants of Seth consisted only of Noah, his grandfather, his wife and children. The devastation of the landscape setting was no doubt done for a purpose but I don’t find any reference to it in Genesis.
The special effects seemed quite spectacular and unusual, and the ark was a very inventive representation. It was interesting that Aronofsky decided to enable Noah and his wife (played by Jennifer Connelly) with the knowledge and ability to create a kind of incense that put the birds and animals to sleep without affecting the humans. The flood itself was extremely well done. I never really thought about those inside the ark being able to hear the screams of the people on the outside. That is a concept that will stay with me and cause me to wonder. Was it like that? Did they have time to scream? Were the animals awake and noisy, drowning out any possible screams? Hardly serious theological questions but puzzling none-the-less.
Certainly a commanding presentation with outstanding effects and drama and I’m sure there will be as many opinions of the movie as there are people who see it. It makes for interesting discussion. * * * *
Noah is available through Amazon CA.
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