Noah begins with a crash court of biblical mythology about Adam & Eve’s sons, where Cain killed Abel, and something about the Watchers, and temptation leading to sin, and the big man upstairs deciding to send a flood to wash all the scum off the streets… hang on, I’ve veered into Taxi Driver territory.
Anyhoo, those Watchers are what you’d expect Salvador Dali to dream up if he was to remake a Michael Bay Transformers film.
Early on, Noah (Russell Crowe) proves that popping over to your grandfather, Methuselah’s (Anthony Hopkins), house is nothing to do with driving 25 minutes to his house down the A6, but instead going on a long trek, risking life and limb and coming across various bizarre creatures, while getting a crash-course in how the world began. And Hopkins’ make-up makes him look more like Stuart Hall than Anthony Hopkins!
Other questions are abound like – has Noah got sons or daughters? Both of them have silly long hair and could be either.
And, surely, if your Dad had come home and told you he’d had a vision from God to build a massive ark, and that there was a flood coming from up above, rather than take him at his word, wouldn’t you instead check him into a loony bin?
And how come the myth of the ark talks about allowing animals in two-by-two, when in this film it seems to be open to all-comers?
On the plus side, in Noah, no expense has been spared on the SFX. Even the most competent animal wrangler couldn’t get hoardes of the things to make their way towards a big raft with a roof, as they refer to the ark in the extras. Also, as I’m not religious, I didn’t know a whole heap about the ins and outs of Noah’s story other than him building an ark, so any potential issues that could go either way would have an outcome I didn’t know in advance.
On the downside, Noah is slow-moving and ponderous, with most of the cast just spending their time by staring into space and looking pensive. There’s also lots of crying from Emma Watson, yet not a trace of tears on her face! They could at least have given her Tear-stick to bring them on.
And while the sound is in DTS HD 7.1, the dialogue is occasionally muffled, rather like one of BBC’s drama such as Quirke, starring Gabriel Byrne, where everyone was mumbling. Good job I had subtitles on!
Still, the film gives Darren Aronofsky a lot to work with when he gets his CGI kit out, including a drop of rain turning into an instant flower – something I’d quite welcome if I was bothered enough to rid my back yard of weeds. Alas, this premonition makes Noah believe that God’s about to destroy the world. Of course, you could question how a drop of rain translates into a torrent of a flood, especially when their location is as barren as the desert.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film, plus a look at the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.