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'Noah' Roundup: First Reviews Rain Down for Darren Aronofsky's Epic (TRAILER)

by Ryan Lattanzio
March 21, 2014 11:20 AM
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Russell Crowe as 'Noah'

Early reviews are trickling in for Darren Aronofsky's controversial "Noah," and they're all over the map. Starring Russell Crowe, the $130 million Biblical epic floods US theaters on March 28, with an international rollout kicking off this weekend.

Indiewire's Eric Kohn calls it "the 'Tree of Life' on Adderall," with praise for the dark visuals but skepticism for the narrative around them:

Aronofsky has gone on the record as taking full responsibility for the theatrical cut of "Noah," but he deserves more credit for pulling it through the commercial system than for the actual quality that came out the other end. The very existence of this abnormal big budget venture was mandated by the unexpected worldwide success of "Black Swan"... "Noah" struggles to meet those standards while showing evidence of better pathways left unexplored. It's something of a cautionary tale about the dangers of supposed autonomy promised by commercial success. Aronofsky's worst movie is an epic misfire that, like the source material, offers plenty of lessons even if you don't buy the whole package.

Variety calls the film "one of the riskiest director-driven passion projects to be gambled on by today’s ever more cautious major studios":

But if the interpersonal dramas don’t quite fully engage, as spectacle “Noah” rarely disappoints, commencing with the building of the ark itself. Designed by production designer Mark Friedberg (and built, to the actual dimensions specified by the Bible, on a New York soundstage), it is an awesome thing -- not the traditional sailing vessel of many an artist’s interpretation, but rather an enormous wooden warehouse that makes the Maersk Alabama look like a lifeboat.

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy appreciate's "Noah"'s gusto:

Darren Aronofsky wrestles one of scripture's most primal stories to the ground and extracts something vital and audacious, while also pushing some aggressive environmentalism, in "Noah." Whereas for a century most Hollywood filmmakers have tread carefully and respectfully when tackling biblical topics in big-budget epics aimed at a mass audience, Aronofsky has been daring, digging deep to develop a bold interpretation of a tale which, in the original, offers a lot of room for speculation and invention. 

Screen Daily, however, is not a fan:

The movie wants to be a love story, a family drama, a war movie and a disaster film, but the different tones and genres aren’t properly integrated. The last time Aronofsky tried to make a major studio film, it was the commercial failure "The Fountain," but at least there his distinctive eye was resolute, capable of delivering a bold sci-fi film that touched on love, destiny and grief. With Noah, Aronofsky seems overwhelmed by the demands of executing such an ambitious undertaking, resulting in an unfocused, slightly anonymous effort.

The Wrap isn't loving "Noah" either:

"Noah" has its share of interesting ideas, from rock-covered fallen angels to Noah's idea that he and his family should be the last human beings on earth, per his interpretation of what "the creator" tells him, but the film winds up feeling like a bit of a soggy slog, both overblown and underwritten.


  • Jacob | March 23, 2014 3:30 PMReply

    Noah existed and his sons and their descendants be traced through Chronicles in the Bible and archaeology to people and places that exist today. Why do the seven Noahide laws, for Jews and Gentiles alike, still resonate, and are the basis for Jewish and Mesopotamian law?

    1 You shall not have any idols before God.
    2 You shall not murder.
    3 You shall not steal.
    4 You shall not commit adultery, incest or bestiality.
    5 You shall not blaspheme God’s name.
    6 Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive.
    7 Set up a governing body of just laws.

    READ "Finding Noah” at www .NoahIsReal. com

  • Jeffrey | March 21, 2014 9:30 PMReply

    By the way, it's real, real obvious that Aronofsky is taking this Very , Very Personal. It's like some contest between atheists and Christians on a world - wide basis. The studio is advertising this movie EVERYWHERE ....a Ton ! They even tried to get help from that "universalist unitarian" ...Pope Francis .

  • Jeffry | March 21, 2014 9:27 PMReply

    Having Aronofsky do a movie on the Biblical Noah is like having the 3rd Reich make a movie about Moses. Little problem with his complete unbelief in the story and the replacement of the biblical narrative his own religion of environmentalism and humanism.

  • moviefan | March 21, 2014 2:09 PMReply

    Beware of blogs who post snippets of movie reviews, they too often have an agenda. Hollywood Reporter gave Noah a 90, Variety an 80, read full reviews at Metacritic instead. Who didn't think Noah would have 'mixed' reviews? Who doesn't know that 90% of movies released receive 'mixed' reviews?

  • jfc | March 21, 2014 11:50 AMReply

    This is the first Darren Aronofsky film that I have ZERO interest in seeing.

  • Brian | March 21, 2014 11:38 AMReply

    I can see the headlines now:

    "Noah Sinks!"
    "Boxoffice drought for Noah"
    "No flood for Noah, just a drizzle"
    "Ark beached at multiplexes"

    And when the fundamentalists realize that Aronofsky failed to include dinosaurs on the ark, the Variety headline will read:

    "Stix nix Ark flix"


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