Noah ★★★

First half of this is brilliant. From the beginning all the way to the flood, I was completely enraptured by the world Aronofsky created, a place that feels biblical in every meaning of the word. Based on scripture, yes, but also grand and majestic in ways that evoke Peter Jackson and Gareth Edwards, a massive canvas upon which stories of a scale we can only barely come to fathom unravel before our eyes. I loved the Watchers, the stark portrayal of holy text as high fantasy, and the ambiguous nature of Russell Crowe's performance as Noah, where his interpretations of God's visions are truly interpretations rather than direct commands, so we can see him as both divine instrument and as fallible as any other man. That we also get an awesome battle sequence with rock monsters battling the last legions of humanity as the apocalypse rolls in is icing on the cake.

But then there's about another hour to go, and the movie settles into a second half sludge that didn't make it bad, but did make it less involving. I truly believe Ray Winstone's character being in the back half was a grave error; there's no meat to the confrontation since him being the man who killed Noah's father doesn't really factor in, instead settling on him further driving the wedge between Ham and Noah. Except, Ham never comes off like he has any conviction for revenge against Noah, despite having far and away enough motivation for it. Ham holding onto his hatred for his father and then eventually relenting of his own accord would've been way better. As well, the drama on the ark simply feels stilted in a way the first half didn't. I like a lot of what goes on conceptually but it could've been streamlined so we can get to the ending sooner. Love the bit where Noah tells the creation story though.

I don't know. I could see this going up in my estimation with more time to think on it or a revisit. I really like a lot of what's in here. But I think a solid 1 hour and 45 minute version of this with no Ray Winstone on the ark would've been a banger.