I’ve wanted to see Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH since it was first announced, and last night I finally got around to doing so. I’ve seen lots of criticism for the movie, but I wanted to watch it myself and pass my own judgement.
I liked it a lot, 4/5 stars.
Noah is actually a pretty legit movie version about the events of the Flood… if you know Jewish Midrash (legends), that is. And that’s why I wanted to watch it myself, because I knew Aronofsky delved into the midrash and other rabbinical texts as sources for his dramatic retelling. If you’ve read some of the sources, as I have, a lot of what was in the movie–the Watchers (nephilim), the look of the angels (beings of fire with six wings, first time anyone has them right!), the look of Adam and Eve pre-eating of the fruit as beings of light (YES!), the strange animals roaming the land (e.g. that scaly dog-like animal), the state of the world as the Flood is decreed (barren of vegetation, dusty, drained), the construction of the ark, how the animals arrived and lived within, the birth of agriculture after the Flood–all of this would’ve been old news. The newness would’ve been how Aronofsky interpreted for his film. It’s perfectly understandable to me why so many people were confused as heck when they saw the movie, thinking that the sparse verses in Genesis were the sole source.
It is still a dramatic retelling, so the writers took liberties even with the midrashic sources, extrapolating events (especially Noah’s behavior while in the ark) based on known outcomes, having a made-up character to enhance the family struggles between generations, but it’s a movie and that’s what its supposed to do. At the end, I felt I had a decent dramatic account of the story of the Flood and the birth of the modern world that, while maybe by taking different roads, still arrived at the same destination the text in Genesis does.