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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark
Cinedigm // Unrated // February 2, 2016
List Price: $14.93 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted March 22, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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Noah's Ark:
Smart, lush photography of amazing landscapes belies modernized family relationships in this weirdly powerful humanist melodrama. Starring David Threlfall as builder of the ark, and featuring roundly earnest, well-tempered performances all around, Noah's Ark takes a tack opposite that of Russell Crowe's high-concept Noah, trading a very brief deluge for a sort-of Middle East circa-3000 BCE version of Eight Is Enough, and it works.

Noah's Ark Refresher: Noah had three sons, probably lived in Egypt, lived to 500, and built a giant boat to carry all the Earth's animals safely through a big flood, per God's instructions. Writer Tony Jordan and director Kenny Glenaan take liberties with scriptural details (I'm guessing) while reframing the story as a contemporary family drama. It seems a bold move, for some reason jarring to my fairly secular expectations. Threlfall's Noah embodies an ancient version of The Dude, horsing around with his sons in a waterhole when they all should be working, sporting trashed out hair when his kids' hair is perfect, and maintaining an otherwise spaced-out attitude.

But more, he's a slightly bemused, slightly befuddled patriarch, navigating the waters of having three sons and their wives, plus an adoptive son, living under the same roof, and the complications of such arrangements. There's something curiously compelling about Noah's faux-Egyptian sons chastely speaking in mildly-British accents about where they have sex with their wives while under Noah's roof. In fact the first third of Noah's Ark consists of such internecine foofaraw, only intermittently interrupted by toned-down proselytizing, and otherwise remaining oddly compelling.

Then, Noah gets the word, and the camel dung hits the fan. Hot younger wife is skeptical, offspring fairly game, adopted son eager to sneak off to the city, (wherein, earlier, by the way, Noah beats down some muggers) I say the adopted son sneaks off to the city to consort with a wanton lass! Just what is going on here? At any rate, Noah starts busting his hump to build the ark, and occasionally his sons need to be reminded to keep up with the 500-year-old. The flood bit whisks by in the time it takes a whitecap to disappear, but you'll realize the flood never really was the point.

It may be hard to envision a version of the Noah story done up in UK accents and a CW storyline, but Jordan and Glenaan make it work with a smart script, great performances, and beautiful cinematography. The novelty of Noah's Ark certainly gives it a jolt, a spark, but convictions, whether familial or faith based, give it weight. Rent It if, like me, you're not exactly looking for a Christian Family Drama.

The DVD

Video:
Riding a wave of 1.85:1 widescreen ratio goodness to your screen, Noah's Ark looks quite nice on DVD. Colors are deep, rich, and natural, making barren landscapes look spectacular. Details are fairly sharp foreground to back, but not overly crisp. Not a thing in the way of any defect to be found.

Sound:
Dolby Digital Stereo Audio in English is your sole option, it's nice as well, nothing at all to complain about. Decent dynamic range, good stereo image, no defects or damage evident, and all mixed together nicely.

Extras:
No extras are included in this release version.

Final Thoughts:
It may be hard to envision a version of the Noah story done up in UK accents and a CW storyline, but Jordan and Glenaan make it work with a smart script, great performances, and beautiful cinematography. The novelty of Noah's Ark certainly gives it a jolt, a spark, but convictions, whether familial or faith based, give it weight. Rent It if, like me, you're not exactly looking for a Christian Family Drama.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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