Noah dramatizes a well known biblical story with all the spare no expense imagery of contemporary film making. The picture above shows the ark set under construction, and the size and design are realistic and based on the bible story. Unlike most representations of the ark, the film makers considered that the ark just needed to float, not navigate, and thus it did not need to resemble a boat.

Unfortunately the film pays less attention to the narrative aspects of the source material. The bible story is concise (Genesis 6-8), so some fleshing out is to be expected. Aspects of the story are pulled from obscure sources including books of the Apocrypha, but eventually the narrative directly contradicts the bible story. This has led many Christian organizations to condemn the film, and at one popular Christian film review site the moral rating is “extremely offensive.”

Biblical authenticity aside, the decision to present Noah as the worst kind of old-testment patriarch ends up confusing the story arc, limits viewer identification, and muddles the climax. Changes to the narrative also allow more opportunities for violence. Granted, the flood had a high body count, but I was not expecting the amount of fighting and killing shown, or the violence against animals in a story about saving animals.

Ratings boards agree this film is not suitable for children, but disagree on whether there should be restrictions on children attending. In Canada, only Ontario sets an age restriction.

Area Classification Advisories
Maritimes pg Violence, Not Recommended for Young Children
Quebec generalq Déconseillé aux jeunes enfants
Ontario 14a Disturbing Content, Graphic Violence
Manitoba pg Not Recommended For Young Children, Violence, Frightening Scenes
Alberta pg Violence, Disturbing Content, Not Recommended For Young Children
British Columbia pg Violence
MPAA (U.S.A.) PG-13 …violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.
BBFC 12A …moderate violence, injury detail, threat.
Ireland 12A Moderate violence, intense threat and some frightening imagery.
Australia M (not recommended for children under 15) Mature themes and violence
Catholic News Service (USA) A-III (adults)
New Zealand M (mature content, no age restrictions) Violence

Click the name of the jurisdiction for more details about the classification.

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