I’m treading on thin ice with this review. I have to be very careful what I say. Not because I’m at risk of being sacrilegious, but because my fellow Christians might think my jokes are actually part of this movie’s script.
Noah retells the biblical story of the Flood, or it doesn’t, depending on who you ask. Does it hold water, or does it deserve to be sunk? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out. (To follow along, click here.)
So who stars in this movie? Noah is played by Russell Crowe from Man of Steel, A Beautiful Mind, Winter’s Tale, and Les Miserables. His wife, Naameh, is Jennifer Connelly, who also starred in Winter’s Tale and A Beautiful Mind as well as Labyrinth and Requiem for a Dream. The villainous Tubal-Cain is played by Harry Winstone from The Departed and Hugo. Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, fresh from his appearance in Thor: The Dark World. And Emma Watson appears as some random girl named Ila; she is famous for the Harry Potter series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Bling Ring. Other actors include former Percy Jackson Logan Lerman and Nick Nolte.
The director is Darren Aronofsky, whose previous films include Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and The Fountain. From what little I know of these movies, I can tell that he has a certain artsy style that will make this movie very interesting indeed. I also understand that he’s an outspoken atheist, which doesn’t bode well for biblical accuracy. That said, I’ve also heard he hasn’t been happy with some of the changes Paramount has made to his movie. But enough second-hand information; let’s see what they’ve shown us so far.
The trailer begins with Noah going outside to look at a mountain. He seems perplexed by the fact that he’s stepping in mud, and then he sees a vision of the Garden of Eden, complete with snake and apple. We also get flashes of an attacking army and a city burning from heavenly fireballs. Then Noah wakes up to discover it was all a dream, or at least God going all Inception on him. His wife asks, “What did he say?” and Noah replies, “He’s going to destroy the world.” Unless we give him one million dollars!
Methuselah tells Noah that because mankind is continuing in his wicked ways, which apparently involve lots of killing, the Creator is going to destroy the world. Again we see a flaming meteor shower even though the world is about to be destroyed by a flood. Not to criticize God, but that seems like a bit of overkill. Noah asks if there’s any way to save the world, and Methuselah tells him to trust that God will speak to him in a way he’ll understand. This way is apparently drowning him, since Noah finds himself in a proverbial cement tunic. But God shows him “death by water and … new life.” So Noah starts working on the ark, but still takes the time to get an Army haircut.
Tubal-Cain sees this as a threat and shows up with his army to assert his kingship. “There isn’t anything for you here,” says Noah. We already ate all the cupcakes, and we didn’t leave you any. Let us know next time you’re coming so we can make extra. Tubal-Cain points out his army and asks, “You stand alone and defy me?” “I’m not alone,” Noah replies. I have women and children on my side. All the animals start showing up, including what look like a flock of Crebain from Dunland and more snakes than the average female can see without curling into the fetal position. “It begins,” says Noah. Well, I should hope it begins much sooner than this. If all this happens before the start of the movie, it’s going to be a ridiculously long film.
“When they come,” Noah tells his family, “they will be desperate and they will be many.” Sure enough, Tubal-Cain and his army see the rain starting and attack the ark, but geysers smash them into the air. You know, guys, you probably could have gotten onto the ark if you’d just said please. Noah’s wife tells him she knows how hard it was for him, mainly because she was doing half the work while also looking after the kids. And Methuselah tells him that God chose him for a reason. We’re not told what that reason is, but we all know it wasn’t his singing voice.
The family is thrown around the ark, a man stabs the ground with a sword and sets the world on fire (which is unfortunate because I’m sure he just wanted to start a flame in your heart), and Emma Watson asks, “Is this the end of everything?” No, dear, you’ll still have a career after this movie. You played Hermione; you’ll always have a job. Once again, Noah tells her it’s only the beginning. Good grief, is this whole movie just one big prequel? And the trailer ends with the floodwaters washing away the ark. Okay, who left the bathtub running again?
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? I’ve debated over this answer for a while, because I’ve heard so much about this movie that I’m not sure what to think about it anymore. Do Aronofsky’s lack of religious beliefs affect how faithful this adaptation is to the source material? Has Paramount released a cut of the movie that everyone can get along over? Is there too much fantasy and not enough history to please Christian audiences? But around here, we make decisions based on the trailer, and this trailer makes the movie look pretty good. Quality actors, exciting action, and what appear to be some positive messages from a Christian perspective show up. That said, there’s a lot of artistic license in this film, but then what book-to-movie adaptation doesn’t have that? As of right now, I’m cautiously optimistic about Noah. Ultimately, though, the religious aspect of this film is going to be very divisive (and if anyone starts a comment war on my blog, I’ll sic the killer okapi from After Earth on you), so it’s your decision whether you see it or not. Depending on what I hear about it in the immediate future, I might check it out when it gets a DVD release.
Until then, I think I’m going to go make sure my flood insurance is up to date.
Noah is owned by Paramount.