Noah Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 6.5/10
It’s a big spectacle. Flooding the whole planet is not a small project. It requires one man, one god, a few million (or not) animals, angels, a jerky king, and a very large amount of CGI water. It’s a story as old as time, well that one involved a beauty and a beast so I’m going a little off track here, but it’s compelling to most humans who have already heard it many many times. Noah builds a thing to float around the planet while it’s flooded by his god. The god floods the world to rid it of the human failures, created by him when he created Adam and Eve and allowed them to make a choice he didn’t like, thereby leading this god to want to just kill everyone. He didn’t want to kill everyone, just the assholes. The animals are to be saved. So, Noah builds the thing with the help of his family and some angels (the angels might not be in the version in that coloring book in the kids’ toy box, by the way). The shithead king comes around to bully them into giving him the arc, and lots of violence follows.

The thing to learn from this telling of Noah’s Arc is that people were jerks, except for this one guy who might have had good intentions, but he’s just as human as the rest of the fallen society. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, don’t forget that. Noah receives a message from his creator in the form of a flower and some dreams of water. He is convinced the world will be destroyed and he must save the innocent, apparently every creature other than humans. I can’t argue with the logic here. The other people we meet  are horrible beyond belief. There is serious debauchery going on, no wonder the flood seemed like a good idea at the time. We follow Noah, his wife, and children through the many years of building the vehicle meant to save them from certain destruction. Hmm now that I think of it, it takes about 2 minutes in movie time, but they all age about 10 years, so do the math.

The performances in Noah are sometimes unsettlingly neutral. The detachment might be a statement on the condition of the human spirit at the time, or maybe people just did a boring job but the director didn’t have time to make them do it again. Yea, that’s the one I’m going with. As always Russell and Jennifer do a good job. There is a lot of emotion in both of them. I was convinced he was a loving dude, then driven to a kind of madness, and having to live with his decisions. I was convinced she was a wife of the times, obedient to a point, the point at which she is also driven but to a different thing, to save her children and grandchildren. Everyone else is not very compelling, sadly. The boys are fine, but a bit shallow. The young woman who is basically the hope for humanities ability to reproduce is fair to average a lot of the time. I guess the cast isn’t the hook of the movie, so that’s fair enough.

The hook is the event, right? The flood, the rain, the whole of Earthliness drowned while this giant box floats around full of animals. THAT is the Noah we have all wanted to see since we hear the story as a kid. Back then the images were of fluffy sweet cartoon animals with their happy faces poked out of the windows while Noah stands petting a zebra or elephant. A more gutsy telling is what I was looking for, but I was not fully satisfied with this one. The animals are kind of a non issue, which is weird. The arc is a box, which is fine but sort of functional. I wanted to see a full pulled back view of the whole planet in space covered with water, or being covered with water to contrast the view we already.

There is some CGI that’s kind of wonky, and the fight near the end is way too long for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie. There are some surprises that I appreciate, and it moves along in a way that keeps my interested in how things will end….oh wait, I already know. I’m sitting here now and I’m not floating around a flooded planet:)

Features: 6/10

  • Iceland: Extreme Beauty –When the film started I thought where on earth could this be filmed it is beautiful. Turns out Iceland is the backdrop and this 20 minute featurette takes a look at the difficulties faced by the cast and crew in Iceland’s extreme environment.
  • The Ark Exterior: A Battle Of 300 Cubits – The most interesting featurette on the disc. We take a look at how Aronofsky’s team built a full-sized ark very close to the L.I.E near Hollywood. We also get a look at how the special effects team dumped a biblical amount of rain on the principal cast.
  • The Ark Interior: Animals Two By Two – A ton of quality on the set video interspersed with set designers putting together the inside of the ark. Also a short look at the digital creatures created for these scenes.
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
I really dislike this cover. It’s kind of boring and melodramatic without the guts to be fully melodramatic. I wouldn’t have it as a poster. Make one with a planet covered with water, OK, THAT is a poster I would hang on my wall. The menu is standard.

Audio & Video: 9/10
Noah arrives on Blu-Ray with a stunning 1080P AVC 1:85.1 transfer that fills your high-definition screen. The movie was filmed entirely on digital but a fine layer of grain (presumably added in post) gives the movie a cinematic epic look. Most of the film is colorless and dirty like it should be, but during Noah’s dream sequences we see the entire pallet shift and come to life. I saw no signs of macroblocking or DNR but did notice a slight amount of black crush in some scenes. Overall though Noah is a stunning looking movie regardless of your thoughts on the subject matter.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track literally rumbles from the heavens feeling like an epic from the second it starts. The scene where the rain starts is very subtle and real showcase material. The entire bit of the movie set on the ark is also equally impressive with wooden creaks and grumbles from every corner of the room. Dialog is centered and clear and even Winstone’s mumbled lines are a pleasure to listen to.

Overall Score 6/10