Old Testament tale tweaked for today’s viewers
Religious films are trendy this season, with “Son of God” clicking at the box office and “Noah” by Darren Aronofsky now regaling viewers with its own spiritual saga, taken from the Old Testament.
More controversially, however, the filmmaker has adjusted the biblical text and added inputs and imaginings of his own, to make his version of the well-known story of Noah and the flood more visually dynamic, gripping and empathetic for today’s audience.
In this process, he has also made (too) extensive use of digital special effects to “open up” the storytelling and excite young audiences about the really ancient tale!
The film’s version of biblical events is so interested in involving young viewers that it has gone out of its way to create many youthful, supporting characters, most of them related to old man Noah (Russell Crowe).
As the film sees it, the story’s plot and thematic line unreels as follows: God has created the world out of love for all His creatures, but mankind has debauched and destroyed the purity of His creation.
Thus, God instructs Noah to save all animals by building a gigantic Ark—but intimates that people aside from his family members should not be among the huge vessel’s passengers, because mankind is fated to eventually become extinct! Animals are pure creatures that don’t exploit or abuse the environment, so the world will eventually be exclusively theirs to live and thrive in.
—Now, that’s a really interesting and cogent thematic invention that shows the film’s director and his writers at their creative and insightful best. The fact that reality hasn’t followed their thematic structure doesn’t diminish its effectivity, beauty and cogency.
Unfortunately, some of the production’s other additions are less felicitous. For instance, it imagines a group of fallen angels called The Watchers who look like Transformers (!) made out of stone, not metal, and help Noah build the Ark.
Despite these and other excesses, “Noah” ends up as a creditable production, with Crowe’s pertinently “saintly” portrayal of the title character providing it with the strong emotional and spiritual “spine” it needs.
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