Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Russell Crowe – Noah
Jennifer Connelly – Naameh
Ray Winstone – Tubal-cain
Anthony Hopkins – Methuselah
Emma Watson – Ila
Logan Lerman – Ham
Douglas Booth – Shem
The movie opens with the story of Adam & Eve, and their sin which led to them being cast from the Garden of Eden. The narrative is swift, sharp and colourful – a brief but informative retelling of the famous story.
I actually enjoyed this; I’m not overly religious but I have always been fascinated by these ‘beginning of creation’ myths & tales. Especially when it comes to the first man and woman. It was the animation I enjoyed – two glowing humans striding through a beautiful garden, a massive snake sliding through the grass, the delicious SNAP sound as the apple is picked from a tree.. it kept my eyes on the screen the entire time.
The story of Adam and Eve is summed up in under a minute, which made it that bit more effective, hitting the audience all at once.
Firstly, the scenery / setting was beautiful. Think vast, baron landscapes sprinkled with jet-black coal which gives the ground a slight sparkle. Add one or two volcanoes or steep cliffs, and a horizon full of nothingness, which seems to span into oblivion..
Literally, its all rock, sand and water – underneath a bright blue sky scattered with stars which are visible during the day. One scene towards the end of the movie sees Ila (Watson) sat on the sand of a beach – the coves and rockface which jut out into the choppy sea are lovely. Secluded, cozy. All scenes played out on the ground reminded me of the landscapes of Iceland – where I think the movie was filmed.
I flew over to Iceland for my birthday once, and had no idea the beauty I was about to witness. Lava fields which seemed to stretch to the end of the Earth, terrifyingly gorgeous volcanoes, and I remember at one point standing there in the oblivion of frozen lava, listening.. to nothing.
Absolute silence everywhere.
It was like the beginning of time.
So watching Noah, rang a bell in the back of my mind – the scenery & setting mirrored that of what I saw at Öræfajökull and surrounding areas. Just beautiful.
Then of course, the animals arrive. Elephants, tigers, birds, snakes (the snakes scare the shit out of Noah’s youngest) – the whole show turns up. The CGI is very good, bringing the animals to life nicely – although we don’t get to see them very much. I assumed this being the story of Noah and his ark, we would be inundated with creatures – we were not. A handful of them are seen slithering towards the haven before being knocked out (Noah’s wife seems good at knocking up a sleeping mist) – and end up snoring for the rest of the movie.
Nice CGI, but the emphasis on the animals was sorely underused.
Then came the water…
Most of us know how the story of Noah’s Ark pans out:
From the beginning of the movie I was praying for the rain; looking forward to seeing how epic the flood would be, if the special effects would entertain or delight. And overall, they were rather bloody good – the CGI used to portray the great flood worked wonders. We get shots of the rectangular craft being tossed about in very deep water, which reminded me a bit of The Day After Tomorrow; that deep blue / grey churning water which engulfs everything in its way. Whenever a character opens the door of the ark, water gushes down like a giant rain shower – its all very wet.
At one point, the family are huddled inside the ark as the storm throws it around – screaming of other inhabitants of Earth can be heard outside. Then we get a glimpse of them; stuck to a tall mountain like insects, clinging on for dear life. The CGI came into play once more and delivered a perfect storm – roaring water, a towering yet drowning mountain, falling people.. brilliant effects here.
The acting in this movie was faultless. I haven’t actually got a bad word to say about anyone.
Russell – although with the same old gruff attitude – seemed to play Noah without fault; delivering a constant presence which seemed threatening at the same time as portraying a doting family man. He was a bit too moody at times though, which got a bit tedious towards the end – I actually TOL’d (tutted out loud) as he marched toward one of the characters with a look of rage on his face. A smile would have made so much difference!
Jennifer Connelly – just superb.
Whether or not the woman has roots in live theatre, she certainly displayed such talent. A very strong actress, she supported the ensemble nicely – either standing back and watching her husband take charge, or screaming in agony with tears streaming down her face, at no point did she falter. Utterly convincing all the way through, I don’t think the director could’ve chosen a better actress to fill the role.
The boys (Lerman and Booth) sported proper British accents and seemed to fly through the whole thing in the shadow of their on-screen parents. Although they weren’t overly bad, they weren’t overly memorable either. Just a lot of wide-eyed “WTF” expressions on their faces.
Nice to see Emma Watson up against the likes of Russell Crowe; and she managed to deliver an effective performance. As Ila, there was a lot of tears and screaming (Emma giving birth? Surely not!) – emotions which Emma displayed nicely, with a slight Shakespearean feel (gestures, dialogue delivery). My only gripe with Emma is that she never seems to shake it up; she plays the well-spoken ‘la-dee-da’ girl in everything. I think The Bling Ring is the only movie I’ve seen her bring something different.
That aside, her performance in this movie is steadfast and effective.
After helping humans who had been banished from Garden of Eden, a handful of fallen angels had been forced by ‘The Creator’ to remain on Earth as ston golems for disobeying him. Sad, gigantic pieces of rock with bright yellow eyes and mouths, who Noah and his family seek refuge with.
A nifty bit of CGI here with these robot-like looming creatures, however confused I was..
Being bible era – handfuls of people scattered across a barren earth, limited clothing, food rations, etc. – I found it a little surprising that giant bulks of rock were walking around, talking. I thought in those days a miracle was producing a loaf of bread or turning water ino wine; but it seems the biggest miracle of all was creating living stone.
The whole thing radiated contradiction – churning religion with science – in particular, Sci-Fi. I mean, talking rock in those days would’ve rewritten bloody history surely? But then I suppose these stoney men were an act of God – but God remains rather quiet these days, obviously.
Contradiction aside, these creatures were a nice addition to Noah – shaking up the scenery nicely as well as the story. Without them, it would have run the risk of being a dull, battle-style movie.
I love looking out for the minor flaws in movies; its one of the more enjoyable elements of going to the cinema. And my first observation was how Noah’s hair changed..
The movie runs its course as our (long-haired) protagonist sets about building the ark. Soon enough, the camera pans away and fades to black – before coming back into focus, and it is ten years or so in the future. Noah exits his vessel and walks down the wooden steps..
..with a perfect No.1 haircut.
Naameh took to him with a blade I suppose – but if not, Noah has a very trendy biblical barber.
Yes, I know – I’m picky. But I’m observant. And I noticed his hair was nicely shaven around the side, with a No.1 finish on top. I shall end my comment about his hair right here, as I don’t want to come across completely anal.
Noah was ever so slightly boring. It was saved by the special effects & animation – because without these, it probably would have sucked – BIG time. Toward the end, it was more a case of ‘the parting of the red cheeks’ as my infamous ‘buttock-switch’ took place more than a few times.
I was getting tedious of it all.
The ark was built, the flood washed in, done – but then the showdown between Noah and Tubal-cain (Winstone) began, which basically showed Ham (Lerman) cowering in th background with a look of constant “what do I do?” on his face. Until finally, the boy grew a pair of balls and came into play.
In a sense, it was interesting for the director to portray the relationships of the characters – the story not just being about Noah – but it did start to become tedious. Again, the movie was saved by its beautiful scenery and special effects.
Overall, Noah was not too bad a watch.
It was more entertaining than I thought it would be – and this was down to its slick, speedy storytelling and special effects. Without these, I would have been in for a snooze-fest of biblical proportions.
The performances delivered by the actors were strong and passionate, I cannot fault them. (apart from Ray Winstone, who just couldn’t stop himself sliding into his classic “oh gawd” Cockney accent).
The rain forecast wasn’t as heavy as I expected, with the director showing more of the inside of the arc than what was going on outside – I wanted more focus on the storm itself to emphasise the situation – which I never got.
Noah is worth a watch, just don’t expect it to blow you away (pun fully intended) – it is watchable, but not incredible.