There are scores of legends throughout the world that describe an apocalyptic flood with a lone survivor who repopulates Earth. From the Seminoles to the Senegalese, from the Mayan to the Malaysian, from the Inuit to the Egyptian, these are passed down through the ages with spooky similarities.

As this movie began, it occurred to me that some of the kerfuffle from the fundamentalists might have been avoided if writer/director Darren Aronofsky had used something other than the Judeo-Christian version for inspiration. Then I realized he used the familiar names as a sort of shorthand to avoid the need for lengthy explanation. No matter what his rationale, by the time I left the theater, I felt I had been led through the book of Genesis (including all those "begats") with generous doses of artistic license: the animals are computer generated images with only a slight tip of the hat toward realism. Do NOT trouble yourself with this film if you believe in a literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible.

You see:
  • Russell Crowe ("Winter's Tale") as Noah, the paterfamilias who gets one upsetting message after another from The Creator. He's doing his best to obey; it is clear that he is the world's first conservationist.
  • Jennifer Connelly ("The Dilemma") as his wife Naameh, who seems part loving wife and mother, and part shaman (she paces through the ark swinging a sort of incense burner with which she anesthetizes the creatures).
  • Anthony Hopkins ("RED 2") is Methuselah (see, I told you "familiar names"), sitting on his mountain, who wants to enjoy the taste of berries one more time.
  • Logan Lerman ("Percy Jackson" franchise) does some of the heavy lifting as Ham, who asks the obvious question, "Where will I find a wife if all of mankind is wiped out?"
  • Emma Watson ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower") is Ila, their adopted daughter, gravely wounded when she was a child.
  • Douglas Booth ("Romeo and Juliet") is Shem, the lucky son who gets the girl.
  • Ray Winstone ("Hugo") is Tubal-Cain a descendant of Cain, perpetrator of the world's first fratricide. He says "I am a Man" and knows he has dominion over the animals.
This PG-13 movie tries to cover too many issues and relies on computer generated imaging (rock warriors, anyone?) for all of the action. In my opinion, this only detracts from a fairly involving story, if only they had focused on it. Connelly, Crowe and Lehrman are all three very capable actors, so they brought more to the table than this script deserved.

I saw this in a theater with closed captions. I suspect I would have missed some of the dialogue if I hadn't worn the glasses. There were some very quiet, murmured moments.
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Please note all the CGI!
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