When a story is just a damn good story, you really don't care where it came from and you just need to suspend your disbelief and roll with it. While loosely inspired by a bible story, "Noah" leans far more on the spectacle then the religion and it plays well enough as a big spectacle piece of cinema.
A story of courage, sacrifice and hope, "Noah" is the tale of one man (Russell Crowe) and his resolve to not only do his creator's bidding but to also determine what the right thing is to do.
An interesting choice for writer/director Darren Aronofsky coming off a variety of smaller scale projects, but he proves with ease that he can handle big scale action and SFX with "Noah" while still keeping the human nature of the story at the forefront.
Co-written with frequent collaborator Ari Handel, Darren Aronofsky does suffer under the weight and expectation of this being a bible story and could have done with even a minor title change as we could have said that it took place on Middle Earth or some sort of made up planet name and it would have played exactly the same way however I give it points for staying true to the essence of the story and avoiding the temptation as not to stray from the initial intent. Aronofsky shoots action exceptionally well and the story flows well, even when it gets a little fanciful and quick moving in the first couple of acts he manages to keep the tension high. It's not just a disaster movie, but it is one about the human condition and the drama of needing to evolve and fills it with makes a genuinely human story work, the need to get dirty and an ensemble cast that knew they were telling a story that just wasn't going to be the easiest to get across.
As Noah, Russell Crowe finds a great balance between pious father figure and determined man of action who simply wants to save his family and tries to live right by God. He is driven and it is to a fault as it all nearly tears him apart. Jennifer Connolly is fine as his long suffering and loyal wife while Anthony Hopkins gets to look old and scraggly as Methuselah and Ray Winstone never gets enough credit as the menacing Tubal-cain. The adult roles were actually for the most part, woefully underwritten as the kids actually got a chance to shine. Douglas Booth was solid as the eldest son while Emma Watson keeps working on shedding her Harry Potter image as her wife while Logan Lerman as Ham got to show the most depth in going against his father for only wanting those kinds of things that any man would want for themselves.
At the end of the day, "Noah" is a story of pride. Pride in religion and beliefs and pride in family. It's nice to see that we can still a nice story like this even in the back drop of a global flood. It's far from a perfect movie, but much like many of the stories in the bible, we each take what we need from it and we move on.
3 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features include three behind the scenes featurettes on the making of the movie.
"Noah" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, On Demand or Digital Download from all major providers.