Moviegoers flocked to see Paramount's epic telling about one of the Bible's most well known prophets, Noah. Russell Crowe is the quite carpenter armed with a mighty ax. Big on spectacle and thankfully, a layered performance by Crowe, the film is directed by Darren Aronofsky who first gained attention for cutting off Jared Leto's arm in Requiem for a Dream. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins.
Either way, we've come a long way from Ned Flanders singing that "Arky Arky" song to Homer Simpson. Here's what you can expect when you aboard the ark:
1. Leniency on Biblical Accuracy Equals Rock Angels: There's been plenty of controversy over Hollywood making a full-scale film about one of the most treasures sections in the Book of Genesis. Noah receiving help from fallen angels that look like they're from Middle Earth certainly takes poetic license. (Nick Nolte supplies on the voices for the fallen.) Verdict: Go with it.
2. Dark Noah: The Black Swan of the Seas: First brought to the screen in 1928 film Noah's Ark, nearly every version as been animated, humorous and not at all morally gray. Co-writer and director Aronofsky (The Wrestler) took a very different approach: seeing it as the first end-the-world story. Noah as played by Russell Crowe is so dedicated with completing his task—to let the Creator reboot the Earth—that he's willing with do away with humanity altogether, including his own family. A scene in the woods where Noah makes a life and death decision is horrifying. Like Natalie Portman's Nina Sayers, Noah is focused solely on the perfect execution of his task, no matter the cost.
3. Epic Flood Scene Delivers:.With a production budget estimated at $125 million, the size of the ark and the intensity of great flood are massive. Production designer Mark Friedberg was tasked with building it by hand according to biblical specifications. Most chilling, however, are the fates of those who didn't get onboard
4. Visions From the Creator More Effective Than Bill Cosby's God Voice: One of Cosby's most memorable stand-ups was the voice of the God speaking to a modern day Noah. ("I want you to build an ark!" "Riiiight.") Presented as wordless dreams, Crowe experiences the sensation of drowning and much more. The mystery of what exactly happened between Adam, Eve, the snake and that apple are parsed out like a riddle to be solved. Remember when Keanu Reeves needed help from that psychic dolphin in the '90s cult flick Johnny Mnemonic? Just like that.
5. Luminos! Emma Watson Gets a Spell Cast On Her: As a child Ila (Watson) is tragically made barren. Good thing Grandpa Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) has the healing touch. No wands required.
6. Contrived Melodrama Should Have Been Left Behind: After the incredibly visceral flooding of the world two plot strands need to be addressed before the final credits roll. Without spoiling, one is Biblical yet holds no suspense while the other is fabricated, feeling like some deleted scenes from Braveheart. Before that Noah impresses.