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Noah (Blu-ray Review)

18 Jul, 2014 By: John Latchem

Street 7/29/14
Fantasy Drama
Box Office $101.2 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.
Stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins. Voices of Frank Langella, Nick Nolte, Kevin Durand.

For whatever ways director Darren Aronofsky’s Noah strays from the biblical tale, at least it never fails to be interesting.

The atheist Aronofsky, of course, rankled the sensibilities of many faith-based moviegoers when he proclaimed the film to be the “least biblical biblical film ever made.” His version of Noah plays out more like a “Lord of the Rings”-style fantasy than a spiritual journey, with a modern political agenda imprinted upon the proceedings.

In particular, Aronofsky treats Noah’s story as a parable for global warming and man-made environmental disasters, several times explicitly stating that God chose to flood the world and restart creation because of the damage done by man. After Noah (Russell Crowe) has a vision of what is to come and confirms it with his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), he takes it as his quest to build the ark that will save a pair of every animal.

To help build the ark, Noah enlists the aid of the Watchers, a group of outcast angels who turned to stone upon landing on Earth. The Watchers also protect the ark against raids by lawless tribes of men led by Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), who manages to sneak aboard the ark when the floods come, then seeks to turn Noah’s son Ham (Logan Lerman) against his father. Meanwhile, Noah vows to slay the unborn daughters of his oldest son, Shem (Douglas Booth), and his wife, Ila (Emma Watson), in order to fulfill his perceived mandate to ensure the end of human life on Earth.

Darker and grittier than most religious epics tend to be, Aronofsky’s loose interpretation obviously fills in a few of the gaps in the biblical text, loading the screen with a plethora of CG effects and a unique visual style. The passage of time is marked with an eye-popping time-lapse technique, put to great effect in a sequence in which Noah recounts the creation of the universe to a series of scientifically accurate astronomical images that look like something out of Cosmos.

The only extras on the Blu-ray are three very good behind-the-scenes featurettes totaling about an hour. One chronicles filming in Iceland, the second focuses on how filmmakers constructed the ark, and the third deals with filming within the ark and translating the original biblical story to the big screen.


About the Author: John Latchem

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