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Darren Aronofsky
Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson
Writing Credits:
Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel

The End of the World Is Just the Beginning

A man is chosen by his world's creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.

Box Office:
$125 million
Opening Weekend
$43,720,472 on 3,567 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 137 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 7/29/14

• “Iceland: Extreme Beauty” Featurette
• “The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits” Featurette
• “The Ark Interior: Animals Two By Two” Featurette
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Noah [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 15, 2014)

When we last saw director Darren Aronofsky, he basked in the Oscar-nominated glory of 2010’s Black Swan. That inexpensive film turned into a surprise box office hit as well – and allowed Aronofsky a much bigger budget for his 2014 Biblical epic Noah.

Born into an evil, corrupt world, young Noah (Dakota Goyo) sees his father (Marton Csokas) murdered. Despite this early pain, he follows a righteous path and as an adult (Russell Crowe), he attempts to teach his children to behave in the same way. In the midst of this, Noah starts to see miracles such as a flower that instantly grows from one drop of rain.

Wickedness continues to spread in the world, though, and this becomes worse and worse. Eventually Noah gets chosen by God to build an ark and save representatives of various species before an apocalyptic flood wipes the slate clean. We follow Noah, wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and family as they deal with this situation and related threats.

Unlike other fairly recent religious films such as The Passion of the Christ, Noah seems less like a statement of faith and more like an echo of big Biblical epics such as The Ten Commandments. The film launches without a whole lot of fuss and muss, as it gives us basic backstory but doesn’t deliver much exposition before Noah perceives his mission from God.

This means we never really get much info about Noah and clan except for basics. The film dollops out enough detail to allow us to differentiate among the characters but it fails to go beyond that to a substantial degree.

Given the movie’s emphasis on the apocalyptic flood, that doesn’t seem like a terrible thing to me. Despite some occasionally dodgy CG work – especially related to animals - Noah manages a nice sense of danger and spectacle. The major action sequence – which occurs in the second act – does quite well for itself and provides the drama one would expect, though the staging seems a bit more Lord of the Rings-influenced than I’d like; I periodically wondered when Frodo and Gandalf would arrive.

That derivative nature aside, Noah boasts a good action punch, and it manages greater character/narrative depth as it goes. Some of these elements can seem somewhat hamfisted, and the movie loses a few points because of the lack of character depth in the first two acts, but its third act does give us a dramatic exploration of the situations.

Much of this stems from the depiction of Noah himself. We’re used to a version in which he’s essentially stoic and saintly, but this edition gives us a Noah who veers into “dangerous zealot” territory. He feels convinced that God intends to eradicate man from the Earth and let the animals pick up the pieces, so we see the lengths to which he attempts to fulfill this vision. These moments add good drama and make the film more than just a big action flick.

At 137 minutes, Noah probably goes a bit long, especially because it doesn’t always use that time well. As noted, character development seems slight, so I’d accept the running time better if it produced more depth. Still, the film often turns into a dramatic and interesting telling of an old tale, so warts and all, I think it’s mostly a success.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio A/ Bonus C

Noah appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The visuals were good but not exceptional.

I suspect some of those “issues” resulted from stylistic choices, especially in terms of darker sequences. Blacks were reasonably dark, but low-light shots tended to be a bit dense and thick. That made them more difficult to discern than I’d like, but I’d guess this was intentional.

Sharpness was usually fine. A smidgen of softness occasionally occurred, but most of the movie showed good clarity and accuracy. I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

Colors tended toward modern visual choices. That meant a fair amount of teal, with some orange on display too. Within those parameters, the hues seemed fine; they didn’t have much life but they operated as planned. This was a mostly appealing image.

Noah included a DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack that appeared very active and involving. All the channels presented lots of material that kept the viewer at the center of a realistic and immersive world. Elements seemed appropriately placed and they blended together well. The whole thing meshed together quite nicely, and the piece worked nicely. Not surprisingly, disaster sequences were the most impressive, but the entire package seemed strong.

Audio quality equaled the positive nature of the soundfield. Speech was natural and distinctive, and I detected no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music sounded bright and vibrant, as the score presented rich and full tones.

Effects came across as accurate and concise. No problems with distortion appeared, and these elements were clean and broad. Bass response was excellent, as low-end consistently sounded tight and powerful. The audio of Noah presented a terrific experience.

In terms of extras, we get three featurettes that fill a total of one hour, 22 seconds. We find “Iceland: Extreme Beauty” (20:40), “The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits” (19:46) and “The Ark Interior: Animals Two by Two” (19:55). Across these, we hear from director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky, producer Scott Franklin, director of photography Matthew Libatique, production designer Mark Friedberg, executive producer Chris Brigham, supervising location manager Thor Kjartansson, camera operator Chris Moseley, co-writer Ari Handel, chief lighting technician John G. Velez, military technical advisor Billy Budd, and actors Mark Margolis, Ray Winstone and Russell Crowe. The featurettes look at shooting in Iceland as well as other locations, the massive ark set and related movie elements.

Though the clips come with interview comments, they mostly act as production diaries. In that regard, they fare reasonably well, though I’d prefer better balance and more direct info about the shoot. Still, we get some useful material along the way.

The package also includes a DVD copy of Noah. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

Though not a wholly satisfying Biblical epic, Noah does more right than wrong, and it gets better as it progresses. By the end, it turns into a fairly exciting and moving experience. The Blu-ray offers good picture as well as terrific audio and a decent set of supplements. Noah does enough right to earn my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.0666 Stars Number of Votes: 15
12 3:
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