When I had first heard of Noah, I like most of my friends, was immediately thinking of The Passion or the more recently Son of God. Films that pander to extreme demographics in an attempt to draw funds from the hardcore Christians. Suffice to say, I didn't plan on seeing it. However, a review I frequent made a video explaining why he was excited for the film. Saying that Darren Aronofsky was using the Christian myths as a canvas for creating an epic more in the veins of Ten Commandments. MovieBob got me willing to give it a chance, this is the video in question.
I still was cautious, having dispelled the fear of a propagandist film I now began to question if the epic was in fact aiming a bit too high with all the ideas it wanted to explore. On this count the movie does suffer a little, but there was still a lot in this to make me suggest it.
Firstly I should note that I don't personally have anything against a movie which does chose to represent religious stories sincerely, even though I know several of my friends do. I find Prince of Egypt, a Dreamworks film to be incredibly beautiful, moving and heartfelt. It doesn't skirt around including God nor does it spend its time trying to force it upon you. The religion matters to the story because it matters to the characters in it.
That said I found that the increased presence of pandering Christian films in this past decade has left a slight social dissonance within Noah. I kept expecting the worst of the medium and was left confused when it didn't happen. But enough about Christianity and this movie, lets talk about the film itself.
Noah is a very ambitious film, a large scale epic with huge spectacle. If you like seeing films with big moments there is plenty here to get you excited. So much that a few aspects got left by the wayside to my disappointment. Such as Methuselah's fire sword... yes, you read that right. There are also incredibly creative creatures in The Watchers, a group of fallen angels who had decided to help man after they were cast out by the Creator. Ok, sorry, back to religion real quick. This film skirts around a full representation of Christian religion because, it's not what it want's to be, and it appears to not want to offend or alienate audiences. As such there is only mention of a 'Creator' and the description of the creation of earth by the Creator is a montage from Big Bang through evolution.
And now, back to the plot.
The sons of Adam and Eve were three, Cain, Able and Seth. Cain killed Able and his descendants serve as our bad guys. While the descendants of Seth act as shepherds to the world caring for the creatures. The sons of Cain are numerous, greedy and selfish. They are post/pre-apocalypse versions of any Captain Planet villain. Although Noah and his family would suggest to be passive, as the last remaining descendants of Seth, Noah frequently kills in this film, a small hint to what will be the massive turn for this film.
During the building of the ark and the flood the movie has already been good. But once the ark is afloat is where things suddenly become dark. Noah believes that all man must be purged; including himself and his family. So they shall die off as the only women young enough to bare children is barren; however she becomes pregnant and Noah realizes that if it is a girl than mankind has a hope of continuing and all those he sacrificed, all those he killed have died for naught because the world is still not clean of the sin of man.
Noah, seemingly suffering from both sever post-traumatic stress and cabin fever, has said that he will kill the child if it is a girl. And they live in a constant state of fear for months as the baby is carried to term, it is tense to see how far Noah has slipped and to see his family unable to escape him.
What this movie does right it does amazingly well, however it is probably a bit to ambitious and some parts could have been cut as I get the impression that part of some sub-plots was already removed for time. While the remains feel disjointed.
Still, you should see this one. As I bitterly complain about another nostalgic property from the 80's, or a mobile phone game receiving a blockbuster treatment, I will always try to reward ambition when it does emerge.
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