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    Noah Review Roundup: Critics Say Russell Crowe, Emma Watson's Biblical Epic is "Neither Fish Nor Fowl"

    Russell Crowe, Noah Niko Tavernise/Paramount Pictures

    Noah is finally here, but critics aren't completely blown out of the water by the biblically-based movie.

    The Darren Aronofsky-helmed film—starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly—draws praise for not playing it PC or religiously sticking to the historical script. But the controversial silver screen adaptation of the Old Testament tale, which has already been banned in some Middle Eastern countries, has its issues, some find.

    Alonso Duralde of The Wrap describes the big-budget epic as "neither fish nor fowl; in no way is it a straightforward Bible tale...nor is it the sort of unfettered freak-out that fans of Black Swan, Pi or The Fountain would expect from its director [Aronofsky] and co-writer (with Ari Handel)."

    NEWS: Noah banned in multiple countries—find out why

    Emma Watson, Noah Youtube

    Duralde points out that while the film "has has its share of interesting ideas, from rock-covered fallen angels to Noah's idea that he and his family should be the last human beings on earth, per his interpretation of what 'the creator" tells him," he finds it "winds up feeling like a bit of a soggy slog, both overblown and underwritten."

    Ty Burr of the Boston Globe calls the film "the strangest, most visionary cinematic parable yet," but reasons it's "equal parts ridiculous and magnificent."

    "The parts of Noah that don't work really, truly, don't," he explains. "But the parts that do almost sweep you away in the flood."

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    Noah Paramount Pictures

    There are some, though, that fully believe in Noah's excellence. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says despite some of the criticism of Noah (including "the complete omission of the name 'God' from the dialogue" and "numerous dramatic fabrications...[and] heavy-handed ecological doomsday messages") it's "still an arresting piece of filmmaking that has a shot at capturing a large international audience both for its fantasy-style spectacle and its fresh look at an elemental Bible story most often presented as a kiddie yarn."

    McCarthy also acknowledges that the movie is "pushing some aggressive environmentalism" and admits "Noah's ultimate sense of having failed in his mission feels off-kilter giving the overriding theme of providing the world with as does the inevitable question of with whom, exactly, Noah's heirs are supposed to repopulate the land." He quips, funnily, "Monty Python would have a good answer for this one."

    VIDEO: Russell Crowe thinks he doesn't deserve his bad rap

    Noah Youtube

    Jordan Hoffman of Screencrush.com isn't a fan of some liberties the film takes with the historical version ("At one point Crowe was wearing what looked like a Henley from J. Crew," he points out) but he appreciates Noah's "inscrutable oddness" and its "willingness to take chances."

    He admits even when the credits rolled, he "had to spend some time to work out how I felt," adding, "In fact, I'm still thinking about it."

    Noah is already on track to a $35 million opening, Variety reports, so it seems it'll stay afloat at the box office.

    Noah hits theaters Friday. Will you be going to see it—come hell or high water? Let us know in the comments!

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