Noah-PosterI’m no biblical scholar, but I’ve heard the story of Noah and the flood a few times. I suspect there are not many who haven’t. In a nutshell: “The Creator” talks to Noah. He tells him to build an ark. He does and there is a flood. And there are a lot of animals involved. In the latest cinematic iteration of the story, there are not a lot of surprises. But there are some big time special effects and this one feels like Transformers meets A Beautiful Mind with a touch of Lord of the Rings and a heavy dose of your faith of choice. Noah is not a Cecil B. DeMille reverential telling, but a Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) psychological/environmentalist drama. It’s loud and messy and pretty entertaining.

Russell Crowe plays Noah — at first the peace loving almost Buddhist father, but morphing into a crazed theocrat who brooks no discussion of his divine visions. As the film begins, Noah and his family live apart from the rest of humankind, because as descendents of Cain, the rest of humanity is violent and greedy and have no respect for nature and the beauty of creation. Noah and his family have a pretty idyllic life until he starts having visions of a watery cataclysm. Despite the danger of being seen and possibly killed by all the bad people, he uproots his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and sons Ham and Shem, and sets out to confer with Grandpa Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) about the future of the planet. Noah-Hot-Movie-Stills-in-1080pThey find an orphaned girl (Emma Watson) along the way, and before you can say two by two, they’re building a massive ark with the help of a bunch of fallen angels that just happen to be rock monsters.

Noah is not a great film, but while you’re watching it does keep you engaged. It feels more action/adventure than Bible School though. You get a dose of “on the first day…” and if you’ve forgotten the Cain and Abel story, you get a refresher, but the story here is about a driven and conflicted man. (I did keep thinking about A Beautiful Mind what with Crowe and Connelly being together again and Crowe seeming to be listening to the voices in his head…) The film does have a pretty heavy environmentalist message and you can probably read as much or little religion into as you like. But at the end, it is all about the effects and battle scenes and good vs evil, and you know who wins.

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