‘Noah’ re-writes characters rather than filling in the blanks

SPOILER ALERT! This review will be giving away some pertinent information.

“Noah” is full of wonderful actors. Some of them are familiar and some of them are not. Regardless of the length of their resumes, however, they all deliver wonderful performances.Russell Crowe as Noah

As Noah, Russell Crowe shows a dynamic paradigm of an extremely well-known character. Jennifer Connelly, as Naameh (Noah’s wife), displays an honest and loving humanity that only a wife and mother can. Anthony Hopkins, as Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather), exhibits the kind of humorous candor indicative of an aged grandfather, dispensing life-altering wisdom wrapped in lame jokes. Emma Watson, as Ila (Noah’s adopted daughter), casts a spell on the audience that would put Hermione Granger’s muggle-born magic to shame.

Even the lesser-known actors deliver performances worthy of an epic adventure.

With all of these tremendous performances, why does “Noah” suck? It sucks for the following two reasons:

Reason #1: The adaptation. Granted, no retelling ever sticks completely to the story from which it’s drawn. Nevertheless, all good revisions at least keep the spirit of the original work and virtues of the principal characters intact, only taking creative license when necessary.

With “Noah,” the spirit of the story is lost in Noah’s delusional state of mind, which is a direct result of the screenwriters taking unnecessary creative license.

Noah’s story is one of the most iconic stories in the Bible. It’s also one of the shortest, giving very few specific details. Of the details given are the ship’s crew complement, the dimensions of the ark, the reason for God destroying the inhabitants of Earth except Noah’s family and a few other details.

With so little biblical material to include, why not focus on creating a narrative that fills in the blanks of what isn’t chronicled in the Bible instead of re-writing the characters, making them completely foreign to the vast number of people who know them and their story so well?

For example, after beginning his God-given mission, Noah becomes a delusional autocrat, hell bent on making sure no trace of humanity exists once his own children die. In turn, his wife and children try to undermine him and a stow-away despot king tries to supplant him.

And all of this happens after the flood.

Which brings up…

Reason #2: The film’s length. For most people, the great flood and the salvation of Noah’s family would be thought of as the climax, with the finding of dry ground by the dove as the denouement. However, the flood happens about midway through the 2-hour-and-18-minute movie, leaving just about half the length of the movie to go without much else worth watching after.

It feels like watching “Titanic” for an additional hour and ten minutes after the ship sank.

For what it’s worth, a more appropriate title would have been “Noah?”

Rating: PG-13

Running time: 111 mins. 



Verdict: This epic is no pleasure cruise.