New action flick Noah is the latest biblical blockbuster to make its way out of Hollywood, or Iceland in this case. The film tells the story, albeit quote loosely, of Noah’s ark and Noah’s quest to help replenish the world of sinful humans by building a mighty ark which he plans to use to help save 2 of each of the worlds beasts, insects and birds before the great rains arrive and wipe out civilisation.
The film opens with the story of the creation of the universe; educating us on the story of Adam and Eve who opted for the poisoned apple and thus setting evil into the world, passed down through their descendants. While the ‘Creator’ of the universe sends down a group of beings called ‘The Watchers’, which take the shape of rock-people upon arriving to earth, things don’t quite go to plan and the bad ways of man take over the world.
When Noah (played by Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe) has a premonition one night about the demise of man, he takes his family on a quest to find answers and a solution. Along the way he is joined by The Watchers and is given a seed from his reclusive, mountain-dwelling grandfather Methuselah, which soon after is planted in the baron wastelands of their homeland and delivers a forest of trees for Noah and his family to create the enormous ark that will save the innocent creatures of the world and his family during the impending floods.
While the premise of the story is the creation and goal of Noah’s ark, through side stories we are introduced to the The Watchers and the story of how they came to be as well as bing introduced to the villain of the film and Noah’s nemesis, Tubal-cain (played by Ray Winstone), a ruthless man who sets out to ruin Noah’s plans of survival.
Going into Noah I was a tad sceptical. While I have been looking forward to seeing this epic, biblical/disaster film, my reservation was overwhelmingly placed toward the fact that Russell Crowe was cast in the lead role of the film. While I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the fact that Russell Crowe was cast as Noah, I was able to see part his arrogant stature in order to enjoy this film and the screen time his large ego took up during its two hour duration. The same feeling was also applied to British actor Ray Winstone who plays the films villain, who seems entirely incapable of shaking that horrendously chav-thick accent regardless of film role (its ‘with’ Ray, not ‘wiff’).
Thankfully the cast had more hits than misses with Emma Watson (Harry Potter franchise) playing the emotional role of Ila, Noah’s daughter-in-law, Anthony Hopkins as Noah’s mysterious grandfather and the always incredible Jennifer Connolly as Noah’s wife who delivers a few memorable and heart-wrenching scenes during the films 2 hours.
Special effects are fundamental to the success of a picture like this and no expense was spared to bring this story to life. While I initially thought the effects of The Watchers seemed a little off, this was in fact one of the best features of the film. The stony characters had a Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans) look to them as opposed to being your regular run of the mill sci-fi creations. The way they moved against the CGI backdrop of the film had a contrasting look to them and made them stand out.
The outdoor scenes of the film were shot in Iceland so the film was visually quite stunning; providing an appropriately desolate backdrop for the story. The bright greens of the mountains and newly emerged forest against the dead, blackness of the surrounding landscape was stunning and perfectly shot by director Darren Aronofsky whose previous box office and accolade successes include 2008’s The Wrestler and 2010’s Black Swan.
While I approached Noah with apprehension, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. It came fully-loaded with jaw-dropping effects, larger-than-life characters and was set against some of the most beautiful scenery in order to create the almost alien-like world before the ultimate replenished civilisation. While it may not have followed the story of Noah’s ark to the letter, the film was entertaining, educational, visually stunning and well worth the watch.
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