It’s the story of Noah, but not as we know it.
Noah Blu-ray Review
Equal parts visionary and flawed, acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky’s dark biblical epic is, on the whole, a compelling and powerful body of work that deserves your attention.Boasting the director’s trademark visual style, and topically adopting environmentalist elements into its almost disaster-movie narrative, Noah is far from what you may or may not remember from your Sunday School classes. Indeed, whilst it pays enough respect to religious teachings to largely avoid driving away those who believe in them, there’s plenty on offer here to attract a wider audience. This particular vision is driven by humanity and morality, sin and judgment, justice and righteousness – themes which have almost as much place without as within the Bible. The film’s has its greatest strength in these pillars, as it explores the mind of a man torn between his destiny to wipe out the human race – ambiguously signposted along the way – and his heart, which remains with his family and his blood line. Aronofsky flits between nightmarish visions and epic flashbacks to both paint a picture of the battle-scarred ‘evolution’ of mankind, and of the horror of things to come.In the process he crafts a part-cautionary, part-reflective tale which avoids many of the usual pitfalls associated with what is – in essence – a tale of outright genocide, by showing the human race as having devolved into a group of mindless, near-cannibalistic brutes who have scorched the Earth black from their abuse. Crowe stands out as Noah, a flawed anti-hero who is consumed by his obsession, prepared to sacrifice any - and every -body along the way, and driven almost insane in the process, and there is much to appreciate in this frequently bold interpretation, but, despite the Studios reluctantly agreeing to Aronofsky’s final cut, it is still far from a perfect work, hobbled perhaps inherently by the very nature of its source material – however loosely adapted – and frequently disrupted by a timeline that stretches across decades.
What is Noah Blu-ray Picture QualityNoah floods Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Detail is outstanding throughout, fleshing out every nuance of Aronofsky’s opulent imagery, accentuating the finer object detail; the frayed, rag-like clothing weaves; the weathered skin textures and unkempt hair, with straggly beards peppered with grey, whilst also allowing us to glean a crystal-clear look at the visions that Noah sees in all of their vivid glory.
Visually opulent, Noah bristles with resounding clarity and palpable depth in HD.
The colour scheme is intentionally bleak in the ‘real’ world, with mud greys and browns, and wood tones in abundance, and with only sprays of vibrant lush greens literally springing to life in the wasteland. Conversely the vision sequences are much richer, and intentionally surreal in their striking alien tones. Black levels are rich and deep, allowing for excellent shadow detail, and with no signs of any distracting digital anomalies – no visible edge enhancement, and no apparent excessive DNR application – this is picture-perfect reference material through and through.
How does Noah Blu-ray SoundThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is frequently just as impressive, capturing the finer atmospheric nuances which creep in through skilful ambient observation, whilst conversely bringing your living room to life as the flood kicks in, and the surrounds sweep waves across you, crashing into you and thundering over you.
Power and precision come in equal measure with this top notch aural accompaniment.
The score only adds to the event, fuelling the tension, channelling the action, and making the visions yet more intoxicating. The surrounds get a full work-out, with the expertly-crafted sound design leaving your surrounded, at all times, by a variety of elements. Dialogue still manages to keep its head above the water throughout, afforded dominance across the fronts and centre channels where appropriate, and the LFE channel provides welcome support for the rest of the track.
Noah Blu-ray ExtrasAll we get are a trio of Featurettes, but they’re meaty efforts, each running around 20 minutes in length, and covering the location aspects as well as the Ark, both inside and out, under the titles of Iceland: Extreme Beauty, The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits, and The Ark Interior: Animals Two by Two. Although it would have been nice to have a Commentary, a more general Documentary, and even some additional footage, these three offerings are still surprisingly absorbing and well-crafted.
Is Noah Blu-ray Worth BuyingWhilst it may neither pander to the strict observation of the scriptures (however anorexic the actual story was in the Bible) nor distance itself enough to fully appeal to those who have no religious inclination, Noah still treads an interesting and compelling middle-ground with firm conviction.
Whilst it may have been marginally compromised, the majority of Aronofsky’s dark and brutal vision remains intact, and proves unmissable.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get the same stunning video and audio that accompanied the US disc, along with a trio of excellent Featurettes, leaving this a must-have purchase for fans of the film and a solid blind buy for those interested. Recommended.
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