File this one under “movie is better than the book”

So those possible movie reviews I mentioned? Yeah…

Movie poster of Noah from
Movie poster of Noah from

I saw Noah. I originally wasn’t planning to since my “smug, pseudo-intellectual” reaction was to ignore it as just another in a long line of epic wastes of money trying to chase Mel Gibson’s bloodfest, The Passion. It wasn’t. Yay!

The origins of the base story aside, this one started out very much like the other grand visual epics based on ancient legend. We get introduced to some text on the screen exposition wherein the set-up of the world is presented nicely and neatly. Garden of Eden. Tempting. Downfall. Humans cast out. Cain kills Able… and there is where the familiar old saw ends.

Cain—juxtaposed to his younger brother Seth—flees his family and begins creating cities and industry, while the decedents of Seth are some form of hunter/gatherer nomads who live in hippyish commune with nature. Ask no questions about how they did so (what with no sisters being mentioned for incestuous begetting) because you will get none, but instead move on to the outset of the actual story with Noah and family.

Noah and Co. are seemingly the last remaining decedents  of Seth. Noah proceeds to get confusing visions of scary shit (mostly death) and goes looking for his wizard/hermit/wiseman grandfather to help him sort out what it all means. Along the way they encounter Hermione and titans. OK, in the movie they are called “Watchers,” but for all intents and purposes, they are titans. Giant ancient creatures who were there before time (sort of) and have a mixed relationship with the humans.

The call to create the ark comes, some cool (and rather sensible) retcons of the “physics” of the classic Noah story are employed with the animals, and then all hell breaks loose. The hordes of Cain’s decedents aren’t keen on getting drowned, so their leader leads them on an attack on Noah’s construction site. Following that first-act action, what follows is a slow—by standard action/fantasy movie standards—second and third act that hinge entirely on emotional turmoil in the characters over the morality of what occurred (i.e. mass genocide) and some anti-hero-spawned character drama with Noah and his family. I think it could have been better (and, seriously, what can’t?) but it worked and I liked it.

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