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* * * ½

Reimagined biblical tale)

The Old Testament story of Noah and the Ark is re-imagined in epic proportion in this sweeping, violent and at times provocative movie. This is not the Noah’s Ark I learned about in Sunday School.

Russell Crowe makes a convincing Noah, questioning but following what he believes God is commanding him to do. Jennifer Connolly is convincing as his faithful wife, who finally reaches her breaking point.

The scenes of the building of the ark and the gathering of the animals (all digitally created) are spectacular.

However, Director Darren Aronofsky lost me with the addition of The Watchers, giant rock monsters who helped Noah and his family build the ark while fighting off thousands, led by a brutal descendent of Cain (Ray Winstone), who wants to join them.

The scenes of the inside and outside of the ark are spectacular. The barren landscape, shot in Iceland, which miraculously turns into a forest to provide wood for the ark, is most impressive.

Those who accept the literal translation of the Old Testament story will be turned off by the poetic license that is given. If you are merely looking for an action-packed, epic movie, there is enough of that for two movies in the two hour and 20 minutes.

Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, who shows up at just the right times and places, performing his own set of miracles.

On the heavy side, Crowe does a great job of showing the many sides of Noah as he struggles to follow God’s orders, while balancing the needs of his family and those of the multitudes who stand no chance of survival.

Sons Ham and Shem have problems of their own, along with Noah’s adopted daughter (Emma Watson).

While biblical scholars are still trying to put the pieces together, this outrageous interpretation is sure to muddy the waters (no pun intended.)

Rated PG-13, with lots of violence.


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