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YMMV / Noah

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • All over the place with Noah, making him much more pragmatic and conflicted rather than devout and benevolent. This was not without controversy.
    Russell Crowe: The funny thing with people being, they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure, you know? Because he looked after the animals: "oh, Noah! Noah and the animals!". It's like, are you kidding me? This is a dude who stood by and let the entire population of the planet perish! He's not benevolent; he's not even nice! At one point in the story, his son says "I thought you were chosen because you were good" and he goes "I was chosen because I could get the job done, mate"
    • Would you believe, for God? Sending a flood that would kill an entire species, including children, can be seen as questionable. He never actually appears in the film, and is portrayed as an extremely mysterious and remote force whose true motives for the flood can only be guessed at.
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    • Tubal-Cain is either a Designated Villain, with his cruelty and evil being simply pragmatic reactions to the world he lives in, or a bastard who thinks rape, cannibalism and murder are perfectly fine. Plus the number of animals he killed on the ark- resulting in their extinction.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Some reports suggest that Jews and Christians are unlikely to see the film because of what they see as extensive changes from its source material. (Though what's often forgotten is that the Biblical account of the Great Flood is a mere 96 verses in length, nowhere near enough to fill a movie.) As they would be the primary audience of such a film, many have suggested it indicates that the film may be a Box Office Bomb. However, it opened at the top of the box office and ended up becoming a success ($362 million gross with a $125 million budget).
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  • Award Snub: Wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards, like Visual Effects, Production Direction or Original Score, despite it being eligible.
  • Awesome Music: Clint Mansell strikes again.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Broken Base:
    • Jennifer Connelly's performance in the scene where Naameh confronts Noah about killing Ila's unborn children could be considered either very dramatic (expressing Naameh's shock and outrage) or pure Narm.
    • A similar scene is Ila's reaction when Noah doesn't murder her twins and her wide-eyed, open-mouthed expression is half Laughing Mad, half in tears. For some it's pure Narm and for others it's an accurate depiction of shock.
  • Critical Dissonance: While the film has received relatively high marks from critics, the audience response was much more mixed. For example, Rotten Tomatoes score for the film is a 77% while the audience score is significantly lower at a 47%. The low score seems to deal with more of the changes made than the film's actual quality, however.
  • Designated Villain: Noah comes across as this. Many of his villainous actions seem to revolve around debt, guilt and complexity. And the scene of him speaking to God progmatic over what he has to do to survive.
  • Ending Fatigue: Once the flood comes and the climaxes of the final confrontation with Tubal-Cain on board the ark and Noah deciding to spare Illa's twins pass, the movie still continues for another ten minutes where nothing else happens other than Noah getting drunk and one of his sons covering him up (this scene is in the Bible BTW).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Methuselah, due to him being played by Anthony Hopkins, using a flame sword to take down thousands of Cainites and his humorous Running Gag about his appetite for berries.
    • The fallen angels' designs and characterization were actually quite well-received.
    • Despite her relatively short-screen time, Na'el was a big hit for her sheer sadness and pitiable nature. Her violent death is a massive Gut Punch for the audience.
  • Epileptic Trees: At least one interpretation of the film is that it's not a Christian, Judaistic, or Islamic adaptation of the story of Noah, but a Gnostic one instead. Inversely, Patheos argues that it's more a Kabbalistic interpretation, easily confused because it and Gnosticism share similar ideas about the divinity of the immaterial but are divided by the Gnostic tenet that therefore the material is evil. Worth noting is that Aronofsky's first film, π, is based around the Kabbalah.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Christian Bale was supposed to be cast as Noah. Instead he got to pay Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings.
    • Britain and the United States were battered by a severe run of wet weather in early 2014, which all weirdly coincided with the release of the movie.In addition, a screening of Noah was actually cancelled in Exeter because the cinema had flooded.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Though Noah is clearly hurtling towards it as he contemplates murdering Ila's twins, he ultimately averts it when he can't bring himself to do it. He already crossed it by causing Na'el's death however.
  • Narm:
    • Noah Drowning His Sorrows in fermented berries leads to him becoming a drunk surrounded by scattered wooden cups presumably full of booze, as if he were an alcoholic surrounded by bottles. The effect is more comical than dramatic.
    • The stone golems' movements. Regardless if the animatronic effect was intentional, it still looks ridiculous.
    • A lot of stuff Tubal-Cain says. A particular example is his rant is made ridiculous by Ray Winstone's Cockney accent, making him sound like a British pantomime actor. The rain falling into his mouth and causing him to lisp doesn't help:
      Tubal-Cain: It'sh begun! Death comesh from the heavensh! THISH RAIN ish meant to wash ush off the face of Earth. But we are men! We deshide if we live or die!
    • Ila immediately making out with Shem after Methuselah heals her, never mind the fact that Shem was out looking for Ham. While It Makes Sense in Context, the sheer Mood Whiplash is pretty funny.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: After several fundamentalist Christian groups lashed against the film for "Not being true to the account of Genesis", several anti-theist groups who originally panned the movie before it was even released, started expressing interest in seeing it.
  • Older Than They Think: The 1999 miniseries Noah's Ark, starring Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen also took liberties with the original Biblical tale (as indicated in its content warning at the beginning of the program); however, unlike this film, the earlier version aired to very little controversy, if not any at all.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Na'el is barely in the film, with about six minutes of screen time before Noah leaves her to die in the flood. But she's such an influential part of the story - showing Noah crossing the Moral Event Horizon - and Madison Davenport turns in such a tragic performance that she's very memorable.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Although Ila and Shem do get plenty of moments showing that they love each other, Ila and Ham share rather a lot of intimate moments. She seems to have a big sister instinct for him and they are clearly very close. Not to mention that there's far more chemistry between Emma Watson and Logan Lerman - no doubt helped by them having played lovers in The Perks of Being a Wallflower right before this.
  • She Really Can Act:
    • Emma Watson's performance was met with a lot of praise (though the character is still divisive). Particularly in one of the climactic scenes where Noah is about to murder her twins. She tearfully begs him to at least let her calm them so they can't die crying, and when he hesitates she screams at him to do it quickly - showing a vast range of powerful emotions in such a short scene.
    • For those who had only known Madison Davenport on Shameless, she breaks viewers hearts as Na'el.
    • Logan Lerman had got praise for Jack & Bobby and The Perks of Being a Wallflower but he was still primarily known as Percy Jackson. Quite a few people considered him to be the standout of the film. When the cast includes Russell Crowe, Ray Winston and Jennifer Connelly, that is saying something.
  • Signature Scene: The scene of Noah telling the story of earth and mankind, from the big bang and into the future.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Snakes are certainly welcome in the ark. Why? Because all species have a place and purpose in nature.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • While the film has some impressive visuals and special effects, there are certain effects that don't work, particularly the two doves flying over the changing landscape as well as the glowing Adam and Eve.
    • Also, there are times where the Watchers' movements look way too jerky and stop motion like. That last part was intentional:
    Aronofsky:: "When we started to come up with these designs we scared the hell out of ILM. They were saying, “How are we going to do this? They’re so bizarre.” When we did motion capture everything ILM gave me was this very realistic, human-moving giant. And I said, “No, I don’t want that. I want to move away from that as much as we can.” So we started working on walk cycles, and I brought in all these ballet dancers I know and we attached yoga blocks to their feet and gave them crutches and created this painful, crippled, dragging feet type of feeling to visualize the pain of the characters, that they were malformed and captured."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Cain's civilization is described as somewhat industrialized and powered by fossil fuel yet are shown to be at best post-crusade. Tubal-Cain could have built a steampunk ark of his own instead of attacking Noah's! This is addressed in the original script in which Akkad (Tubal-Cain) originally has his people build ships and boats and only attacks the Ark in outrage after being deceived by Noah.
    • There are many people who think the film focused too much on Ila and would have vastly preferred to see more world-building before the flood.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Despite being set in the Middle East, not to mention them being the ancestors of all races, every character is white. The screenwriter only made it worse by claiming "white people are stand-ins for all people while POC just represent themselves".
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: When the flood finally arrives. We'll just leave it at that.
  • The Woobie: Pretty much everyone at some point, but one standout is Na'el, a girl that Ham discovers hiding from Cain's camp. He attempts to save her, but she gets her foot stuck in a trap, left to die by Noah (though he latter shows grief of not rescuing her) and gets trampled.
  • Woobie Species: The Watchers, Fallen Angels that are broken both spiritually and physically, due to being cast down from Heaven by The Creator and betrayed by the humans when they tried to help them.


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