Image source: beyondhollywood.com
“What a load of rubbish!”
That’s what you would say if you went into the cinema thinking that Noah would be an ultra-exaggerated Hollywood version of the famed Biblical story. Indeed, even if you were that prepared.
But that’s where you’d be wrong. Noah is NOT an adaptation of ‘Noah’s Ark’ that seeks to present the story as it was told in the Bible.
Before watching the film, it is crucial that viewers acknowledge that the movie is actually an epic Biblically-inspired fantasy film. That translates into “unbelievably ‘Hollywood’ and far from its source material”.
That would have been a much appreciated disclaimer in big, bold letters at the beginning of the movie, rather than in fine print at the end of the credits.
(In case you were wondering, yes, I am a Christian. And no, I did not watch this movie expecting it to be something my church would screen for the Sunday school kids)
Now that we’ve established what desperately needed to be the film’s disclaimer, how was the movie?
It seems the proper adjective for the film is “weird”.
That is partly because it had everything one would want to find in a typical (and not necessarily good) Hollywood film. Dystopian-like setting? Check. Russell Crowe in sword fights? Check. Magical rare items? Yes. Big war scene? Yup. Apocalyptic end-of-the-world theme? Obiously. Making out scene? Believe it or not, yes. Treebeard-esque giant rocks walking and talking? Yes, and that was unbelievably odd.
It is obvious that Noah is a fantasy film, but viewers will find it incredibly confusing trying to figure out how the film-makers want them to feel about the movie. Was the focus on the Biblical aspect, or was that supposed to serve as a backdrop to the fictional story that the writers crafted?
To illustrate, Noah was so heavy on Biblical references that viewers would assume that the movie intended to stay true to the source Biblical material. But the word “God” was never used in the film (the substitute “Creator” made it sound like a science fiction movie). Walking and talking giant rocks fought Ent-style and looked like they were transported from Middle Earth by mistake. Screaming out the utter confusion with which the film suffers, a miracle was credited as the doing of Anthony Hopkins’ character rather than the “Creator”. The constant struggle between highlighting the Biblical or fictional aspect is exhausting.
Accuracy is another tragedy in Noah. Noah’s family members bare the actual names of their Biblical counterparts, which leads viewers to expect at least some accuracy in the setting of ‘Noah’s Ark’. Yet, characters in Noah had access to technology far beyond their time. Their manufacture of metal, medieval armour and swords is more absurd and silly than it is menacing. With a few more technological improvements, they could have built the Titanic instead of a wooden Ark.
If the film-makers took artistic licensing so far as to reach Tolkien-like fashion, they should have done away with bits and pieces of Biblical accuracy to save viewers the confusion.
As a redeeming quality, the film is underlined with a very dark vibe. Viewers are fully aware of the darkness that has consumed mankind and the necessity to “wash” it away, in every meaning of the word. We are treated to glimmers of hope that we desperately wish to save, especially because we know what’s coming. The audience is emotionally invested in the story, though this is barely sufficient enough to be significant. At least, we react to the film.
The film’s greatest strength? It is thought-provoking, we’ll give them that. The film leads viewers to ponder about faith, especially when the story is analysed in hindsight. Because of the creative freedom the film takes when it builds on from the fundamental concept of ‘Noah’s Ark’, much of the plot details are new to us, and we do not really know what happens next. By the time the credits start rolling, we are somewhat satisfied with the way things rolled out.
The film’s biggest selling point is undoubtedly its star-studded cast. Noah reunites two Hollywood A-list pairs who have worked together in previous films; Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly (back as husband and wife after A Beautiful Mind), and Emma Watson and Logan Lerman (reuniting in yet another kinda depressing film, after The Perks of Being A Wallflower). Rounding up the cast is the legendary Anthony Hopkins, as well as Douglas Booth and Sam Winstone.
But unless you’re a loyal fan of any of the actors mentioned, we can think of no reason why you should spend your hard-earned money to watch this film. Not even on Netflix or Blu-ray.
Rating: 2.0/5 (TALK-o-meter: “That’s a thumbs down, Gladiator-style.”)