When I saw trailers for Noah, I was not excited. At all. Film adaptations of Bible stories have a roughly zero percent success rate for me, and sword-and-sandal action or disaster films don’t fare much better.
Those intuitions weren’t entirely wrong — this movie didn’t completely rise above the genre, and I was never quite on board (pun intended). But unlike the halo-polishing passion plays and 21st-century persecution fanfics that have hit theatres, Aronofsky’s creative decisions are never less than compelling. Even if I had a few serious reservations about the final product, my familiarity with the source material gave me a lot of respect for the thought that went into adapting it. Like “A Serious Man”, he tackles dark themes (a la Abraham, Job) in a way which suggests a deep respect, not disregard, for the questions. Save for maybe the rock monsters, nearly every addition made sense. People prepared to be offended will probably be offended, but that’s true for most things worth thinking about.
If you come from a Judeo-Christian background or have a passing knowledge of the Old Testament, I think this is worth seeing in theaters for the feat of writing alone. If not, I’m not convinced you’d get any more out of this than I do out of Game of Thrones. Antediluvian, post-diluvian, it’s still a bunch of grizzled dudes shouting at monsters in broad old-timey English. (Don’t hurt me.)