If you found yourself pondering your childhood Bible studies after watching this film, then you probably had the right reaction.
In “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky’s modern retelling of one of the most popular biblical tales from the book of Genesis, Noah (Russell Crowe) is chosen by God to build an ark before an apocalyptic flood is sent to cleanse the Earth of all evil. Burdened by such a momentous task, our hero’s conscience is torn as he must differentiate the righteous from the wicked, and choose between his devotion to God and the love of his family. The film is creative, but creativity is no substitute for basic plot structure.
“Noah” creates an interesting world for the viewer. Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel use the Bible as a guideline rather than a steadfast set of commandments. Many people have heard the story of Noah, but this film will make you rethink what you may or may not know about the story. For example, one of the biggest components of the film is that it expands on the story of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. Seth’s popularity pales in comparison to his two brothers, Cain and Abel, as Seth never really has much of an impact in the Bible. The film uses Seth’s lack of popularity as a means to make the story unique; Seth’s lineage, led by Noah, are chosen by God to save humanity, while Cain’s lineage, lead by king Tubal-cain, is destined to be cleansed. The two factions have their own beliefs and this creates rich tension for the film, as King Tubal-cain tries to get his people to safety and Noah is the only one with the ark.
Furthermore, the film also combines the essence of Hollywood into its world, making it entertaining. Although this film is about the Bible, there is no shortage of action, CGI and explosions. Noah becomes your typical Hollywood badass. In the beginning of the film we see him dispatching a group of bandits as if he had been trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. The introduction of the Fallen Angels — huge rock monsters — also provides eye candy for the audience to gaze upon as they thrash hordes of oncoming enemies. The combination of Hollywood and biblical tales is a unique one, and audiences have probably never seen anything like this before.
Coupled with a unique plot, the film explores intriguing thematic questions. The biggest question that the film asks is: Who is truly good and truly evil? With such a great ark comes great responsibility, and Noah struggles. The theme is really explored as we see Noah make rather questionable decisions that will keep the audience on their toes.
But, despite all of its successes, the film still has a few failures and suffers mostly from pacing problems. “Noah” runs for a total of 138 minutes, which is 50 minutes longer than what it should be. The first and third acts were very eventful and meaningful; however, the second act does not become important until its later half. The first half of the second act consists of backstory, building the ark and interaction between the two human factions that really don’t help the story progress. Instead, the key points of the film are scattered apart and filled with fluff.
In conclusion, “Noah” is really something unique. The film is creative as it takes a very old story and puts a modern spin on it, and with the golden touch of Hollywood magic, the film’s creativity manages to avoid boring the audience by creating something entertaining and watchable. However, like most Hollywood movies, “Noah” is still soft in the middle as the second act fluctuates and lacks consistency.
Rating: 3.5 stars