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FILM FANS: 'Noah' takes liberties, redeems itself with special effects, acting

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Noah.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 stars

Most people are aware of the story of the flood so there is no surprise of what events are shown in this epic movie about Noah and the ark. What set this movie apart are the events leading to the construction of the ark and how a ginormous task was accomplished singlehandedly by Noah and his three sons. These twists or artistic licenses the storywriter and director took are now the subject of a heated debate in social media. Get over it! The movie came up with a plausible story line in this time of transformer robots and special effects and very intelligently twisted the story of fallen angels calling them the watchers who helped Noah build his Ark. The movie answered many question I had on how you would bring the animals into the ark and how you would keep them from eating each other while on board. A few new side stories were added to extend the movie to a feature length and made it more interesting. Just don’t eat too many carbs before the movie. Sometimes the pace was slow to set the stage of the flood. The redeeming coup de grace of the movie are the special effects. They were amazing and it would be great to have the film company re-release the movie in IMAX 3-D or 4-D in Stone Mountain with a little spraying of water while at it.

One special effect I caught up is that the movie’s intent is to have cinema goers go home and search for the story in the Bible about Noah. Once reading Genesis chapters 6-9 — you’ll find that the movie was quite close to the written word, including the seldom remembered scene after the flood when Noah gets drunk and naked and his son Ham leaves them. The movie is worth watching.

— Alfred Richner, Duluth

1 out of 4 stars

With a story of such epic proportions, I had enormous expectations. Russell Crowe continued in his vein of playing a character who is both misunderstood and despised, yet still loved. Jennifer Connelly played Naameh, Noah’s wife, Sir Anthony Hopkins as Noah’s grandfather Methuselah and Emma Watson as Ila, a young girl who eventually becomes Shem’s wife. British actor Ray Winstone played Tubal-cain, the ruthless antagonist. In a nutshell, the acting was spectacular.

Now, for the story line. I couldn’t get past the strange talking creatures made of stone. It was like watching Transformers meet Stonehenge. I understand Hollywood wants to put a mark of distinction on a story that has, well, been told since the beginning of time, but this was a bizarre depiction. Special effects of the rain and flood were amazingly well done, but then the ark lands, and, I kid you not, it looks like a YouTuber inserted clips from National Geographic. It was laughable.

If you’re curious to know why several countries banned the film, on a bored night you might want to Redbox it, but otherwise, I would not recommend seeing this movie, even at matinee prices.

— Cathryn Veal,

Lawerenceville

3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Director Darren Aronofsky’s wildly polarizing cinematic take on the biblical tale of the great flood is an extremely engrossing bit of filmmaking. To be certain, Aronofsky has “Hobbited” the ancient story of faith in that he has added much to a telling that takes only four chapters in the Bible. Most of the action in the later third of the movie is something Aronofsky and his co-writer seem to have fashioned out of thin air. Much has been made of the inaccuracies between the original text and this theatrical version.

Yes, the movie takes substantial liberties with the biblical narrative. If one is looking for the true version of the story, please read Genesis 6-9 — it will be better than a non-biblical production every time. What this movie does best is raise dozens of probing questions, all of them important. The central themes are justice, guilt, stewardship and duty — among many others. All of it is done with all the skill of a top-notch production team and incredible performances from the actors, especially Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ray Winstone. It is a ridiculously entertaining movie, and as I walked out of the theater my mind was teeming with questions and ideas inspired by the film. While I can certainly appreciate the polarizing nature of the film, I really believe that a film that raises these types of questions is certainly worth a look.

— Jeremy Beauchamp, Lawrenceville