So, here is my standard disclaimer about spoilers. Continue to read at your own risk. However, anyone who has tried to read the Bible probably knows a bit about Noah. His story comes pretty early on in Genesis.
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you that I have a Master of Theological Studies for Christianity. Therefore, I have a passing familiarity with the story of Noah though I admit that I hadn't looked at it closely in quite a while.
I'll say that I expected a little bit of editorial license with the story. Stories in the Bible are typically very short with very little embellishment. After all they come from an oral tradition, and they were written long before the printing press. Materials were at a premium.
Clocking in a little over 2 hours, they had to do something to fill the time. However, I feel that the went a little far from the text.I've heard quotes from the filmmakers that they stayed true to the new spirit of the biblical narrative, but I don't remember anything about Noah prohibiting his sons from bringing fertile wives on to the Ark with them, in order to end the human race, quite the contrary. And I certainly don't remember anything about Noah threatening to kill his two granddaughters.
It's like they were trying to merge or borrow a bit from the Abraham and Isaac story in this movie about Noah and his family. Abraham was asked to sacrifice (read kill) his long promised son but was given a reprieve at the last second. You'd think that all the debauchery and lawlessness that led to the flood would be drama enough. Then there's the desperation of the people realizing that their only hope is to make it all to the Ark or being shut out. There's the excitement of all of the animals on the Ark. But apparently that wasn't good enough. They had to invent whole new and disturbing story lines. Who knows perhaps these story lines were developed in the Jewish Mishnas.
Leaving the biblical accuracy aside, was it a good movie? I would say that it was okay. It reminded me more of a futuristic post apocalyptic fantasy movie like The Road Warrior or something than an ancient period piece. On the other hand The Road Warrior was meant to portray a future that socially looked more like our distant anarchist past. Maybe that means that they got the look and feel exactly right.
Here's the trouble. I never liked The Road Warrior. I will admit that Noah had its poignant moments. I did occasionally have to wipe a tear from my eyes.
Bottom line? If you are trying to educate someone about the story of Noah from the Bible, I would say no. Looking for a halfway decent action adventure flick? I would say a definite maybe. There is a fair amount of violence. It is rated PG 13 after all. Overall, if I knew then what I know now, I'd probably wait for the dvd .