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March 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

With Noah, the biblical epic returns to the screen bigger and louder than ever, and, critics suggest, more imaginatively as well. “Noah,” writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Tiems, “manages to blend the expected with the unexpected and does it with so much gusto and cinematic energy you won’t want to divert your eyes from the screen.” In the Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern takes note of that disclaimer that some religious groups had compelled the studio to append to the film — the one that states that some “artistic license” had been taken with the biblical account. “It certainly has,” Morgenstern remarks. “This is a daring venture in mainstream entertainment, and mostly an enthralling one, despite some problematic patches. The film is revisionist, to be sure; we’ve never seen a Noah like the hero played so fiercely by Russell Crowe. But it’s visionist as well, an action spectacular with a provocative vision — the story of Noah’s ark as a vessel for lots more than animal husbandry in the face of apocalypse.” The special effects in the film, which are often ignored by critics reviewing movie epics, get mostly approving notices from the critics. “The massive torrent of water from above (and from springs below) that wipes out the rest of mankind is worth the price of admission,” writes Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. On the other hand, A.O. Scott comments in the New York Times, “Noah is less an epic than a horror movie. There are some big, noisy battle scenes and some whiz-bang computer-generated images, but the dominant moods are claustrophobia and incipient panic. The most potent special effects are Mr. Crowe’s eyes and the swelling, discordant strains of Clint Mansell’s score.” There are a few naysayers among the critics, but no outright negative reviews. Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post, for example writes, “So much of Noah is so good, and so impressively executed, that when discordant notes are sounded, they do so with clanging dissonance.” And Joe Neumaier in the New York Post writes that with all its “blockbuster ingredients” the movie often seems ludicrous “But Aronofsky’s film is most powerful when its title character rages and suffers through what seems to be a suicide mission,” he writes. “Those scenes keep this ambitious Old Testament epic from being a washout.”