I wasn't looking for a biblical epic. I didn't feel a need for it to be “true” to the Text. I didn't even feel it needed to be true to the flannel graph. I just wanted it to be good film. It wasn't.
What I did like. I loved the performances of the two leads: Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Particular Jennifer Connelly who was given very little to work with but when the time came for her key scene it was the only thing truly epic in the entire film. Crowe was excellent throughout as a man tortured by visions, the task and the rape of the earth that precipitated the coming judgment.
In jokes. If you know the story of Noah from Genesis then you’ll get references, both visual and dialog that other people unfamiliar will miss. Some nice little Easter eggs here that tells you that someone aware of the source material was consulted.
Noah’s creation account. Beautiful CG version that was the best of both worlds. I liked it a lot.
What I didn't like. Pacing. The movie couldn't decide between epic adventure and drama and suffered as a result. Scenes that should have taken longer, pauses and reflections that should have been there weren’t and other scenes of much ado about nothing, stretched on and on.
Transformers. How did Transformers get into this movie? This stopped being an epic story as soon as they became a part of it. Their appearance in the story pulled me out of the film and into my imagination of the office where the merchandising spin-off opportunities were being kicked around.
Hermione. Emma Watson was incredibly good at playing Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise. Put her beside Crowe and Connelly, particularly when her big scenes put her in the same frame as Crowe and Hopkins and immediately following Connelly’s big scene (the best scene of the whole film) and she just can’t pull it off. It was a terrible casting choice or directing choice or both.
Story. What was Noah, the movie, about? Man’s tendency to destroy the perfect balance of creation with his greedy ways. No, wait, that was Avatar. Um, energy beings that fall to earth and get trapped in the form of inanimate objects that can transform into super powered robots to help protect mankind. No, wait, that was Michael Bay’s Transformers. An ancient Hebrew story that was really a thinly disguised political commentary on recent world events. No, sorry, that was The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. O.K., hold on, I just saw this so I should be able to tell you what this story is about…let’s just say it didn’t feel original.
In this version, Noah isn't a good guy, just the least offensive guy left on the planet. No one in his family or the rest of humanity thinks he’s crazy for building a huge boat miles from water. Of course, when your work crew consists of talking, stone robots, crazy has already been tossed out the window. Noah’s boys are literally boys and the oldest two are really horny boys. The oldest is a vampire, I think, and the middle one is Percy Jackson (where was Poseidon?). The Ark takes almost no time at all to build (thanks to aforementioned robots). The marauding bands of bad guys from the first half of the film completely miss or ignore the giant forest that suddenly erupts and never go in to investigate until the Ark is completed. Methuselah is sort of like Dumbledore and has all this power that he uses at odd times and nobody ever asks him why he’s hanging out like a homeless man instead of living with the only family he has on earth.
What could have been a fascinating drama about a family with a crazy patriarch, cooped up in a giant boat with wild animals, becomes about something I couldn't feel anything for other than confusion. I haven’t read any other reviews on this one yet, but I will and maybe I’ll learn how brilliant this film really is. For me it was not good film.
If you've seen it, leave a comment with your reaction and if you think I saw a completely different movie from you and you loved it, tell me why: