Let's make this clear, I'm rating this highly because it's a very entertaining BAD movie. If you like that sort of thing (and you know who you are), this may be the movie for you. If you're looking for a serious Biblical epic or an *intentionally* funny movie, keep looking.
I saw some clips on Encore, and assumed it was a parody (think "Monty Python's Life of Noah"). Then I googled it, and realized it was meant to be taken seriously. With that in mind, it's kind of like a horrible car wreck you can't look away from.
Where to start...
First of all, they combine the stories of Sodom and Gomorra. Since I don't actually believe either one, this didn't bother me so much. God warns Noah that He's going to destroy Sodom, and Lot gets saved because he's Noah's friend, rather than the whole "Please rape my daughters" thing that's in the Bible. In fact, Lot's daughters are left out entirely, which also gets them out of the awkward part where he gets drunk and has sex with them after they leave the city (what, you never learned that part in Sunday school?). The Ark stuff comes later.
In order to make appeal to a wider audience, the "punched it up" a bit, with action, cheesy special effects, and attempts at humor, some which are funny - although the funniest bits are unintentional. There's also an incredible amount talent wasted on this film. Oscar winners (!) Jon Voight and F. Murray Abraham play Noah and Lot, with Mary Steenburgen and Carol Kane playing their wives. Even James Coburn makes a couple cameos. Their salaries didn't leave them a lot left over for minor things like decent sets. The battle scenes really do look like Monty Python. In addition to playing Noah, Voight also provides the voice of God, presumably because they couldn't afford James Earl Jones. Also, what is it about made for TV movies and accents? Noah and his wife clearly have American accents, while most other people - including their kids - have strong British accents.
The tone is a roller coaster, ranging from sincerely reverent, to bawdy humor (Lot: "Not staying for the orgy, Noah?") to actual slapstick (Lot's wife fall head first into a vat of dye at one point). The music faithfully tracks the tone, transitioning from Cecile B. DeMille to Three Stooges.
You may wonder why the flood happens only halfway through the movie. Without giving any spoilers, I'll just say that there's plenty to come. Grab your beer and popcorn, because that's when things get *really* weird.
So if you like to watch bad movies and give them the Mystery Science 3000 treatment, keep this one in mind.
In the end, I dinged it a couple of points because as a two part miniseries, it's a bit too long, and when it's not really bad, it's merely boring. I'm seriously considering buying the DVD so I can edit down to a 90 minute party cut.
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