Noah (2014) (Blu-ray)
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As a young boy, on the day of his bar mitzvah, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by Tubal-Cain. Tubal-Cain takes the snake-skin scroll that Noah's father was about to pass on to him. It is clearly an important relic, and it resembles the straps of the Tefillin, but it had a magical glow to its characters.
Many years later, Noah is living with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It was explained that the world was overrun by ancient metropolises created by the descendants of Cain, but the cities have all fallen, and the people have destroyed most of the natural world. While out foraging with his sons, Noah sees a dog-like animal being hunted and tells his children to hide, knowing that violent men will soon follow. Noah goes to rescue the animal and remove the arrow from its thigh, but he is confronted by the hunters, group of men (descendants of Cain), and he fights them off. Noah had explained, somewhat vaguely, to his children that they were supposed to lead a vegetarian lifestyle, living off only what God provided them, and that it was wrong to kill and eat living creatures. After the men are beaten away, Noah saves the animal and goes back to his camp (home) with his children. On the way he sees a flower grow instantly from the ground, emerging as if from a single drop of rain. That night, Noah is haunted by vivid dreams of a great flood, seeing countless dead bodies. Noah doesn't quite understand these visions, the flower and the dreams, so he decides to take his family to visit his grandfather, Methuselah.
Mervin, South Africa. 12 September 2014
Picture Quality: Noah floats onto Blu-ray with a top-end 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. The digital production nearly passes for film. It's very detailed and not particularly flat. It captures the fairly gritty, mostly gray and bleak backdrops beautifully. Details are so exacting as to be borderline startling at times. Clothing details are immaculate, down to the smallest fray, the largest stitch, and the finest fabric texture. Likewise, human skin and hair are precisely displayed, revealing the finest lines, dirt, and sweat with remarkable clarity. Image depth is rather good for digital as well, and the frame is sharp and satisfying close and far, near and wide alike. The film isn't at all what one would describe as "abundantly colorful." Beyond flesh and natural greenery, there's precious little vibrancy. Much of the film is made of bleak terrain, gray rocks, and wood. That natural greenery truly sparkles when it has the opportunity to do so, but nowhere else is there much of note. Still, the finest transitions and color details, limited in range as they may be, are faultlessly displayed in every scene. Blacks are deep and pure, never crushing details and never brightening up. Likewise, flesh tones never appear to betray real life, whether under the sun or darkened by cloud and rain. Nowhere does the image suffer from any noticeable banding, blockiness, or noise. In short, this is beautiful, borderline miraculous presentation from Paramount and one of the finest the format has yet seen.
Audio Quality: Noah's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack delivers. Musical delivery is expectedly big and sweeping, engulfing the listening area with a flood of beautifully orchestrated and placed sound that features rich clarity and accuracy from every corner of the stage. Low end support is healthy and full, both in music and sound effect. The track frequently transports listeners into the film with a deluge of beautifully balanced and light atmospherics prior to the flood, including light blowing wind and rustling grasses. The torrent of rain saturates the stage with remarkable effectiveness later in the picture, while crashing waves and minor creaks heard from within the vessel are equally impressive and immersive. Dialogue is balanced and clear, firmly delivered from the center whether whisper or shout. A quality light reverberating effect is heard within Methuselah's cave in chapter six. Overall, a powerful yet balanced and full presentation from Paramount.
Bridgitte, South Africa. 17 February 2015
Region B - Includes most European and Middle-Eastern countries, all of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.