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Noah, a Disappointing Attempt at a Modern Biblical Epic

March 29, 2014

Biblical movies have a bit of a high bar to live up to thanks to some powerful cinematic achievements during the 50s and 60s. Despite some high expectations from the director and cast, Noah doesn’t live up to expectations. It has some engaging visuals but doesn’t reach the same heights as other similar films.

Noah opens with a creation story and takes its sweet time to get to the juicy part. While in some films this would be much needed character development, it felt to me like it was dragging its feet. As things finally get to the building of the arc and what happens after, it still feels unnecessarily fleshed out. The film spends too much time on minor characters who shouldn’t be given much development at all.

There is also the problematic story element of the fallen angels in the movie. Though they bear striking similarities to the living trees in Lord of the Rings, it was a bit surprising to see them helping Noah build the arc and fighting off other men who tried to board the giant vessel. Though it is hard to believe that Noah and his family would have been able to build such a giant boat without assistance, I found they removed all sense of realism from the story. It makes me wonder why nothing of them was shown in the trailers.

Musically, Clint Mansell provides a largely droning atmospheric score for the film that is heavy on simplistic motifs. The music largely feels cheap with the film because of a lot of synthesizer effects applied. The music takes on a strange ephemeral character that only furthers the lack of realism in the movie. While it did enhance the dark feel of the movie, it might have been more effective if the music was more traditional.

I wouldn’t be particularly bothered by some of the variations from the traditional story if they had resulted in an engaging film. Most of the movie left me feeling like the characters weren’t particularly sincere in their belief. The darker side of some of the characters, though in line with the recent trend in film-making, felt forced and didn’t really make the characters any more interesting.
2.5/5

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From → Epic

One Comment
  1. Sort of strange, sort of exhilarating, but always worth watching. At least for me, that is. Good review.

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