Plot Synopsis (courtesy of IMDb):
“The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.”
This morning the anticipated first trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was unleashed. It’s been a long time in the making, Aronofsky first discussed the project back in 2007 and in recent months has been reportedly struggling with Paramount over final cut after mixed reactions at test screenings. Why can’t they just leave the proven auteur alone? Paramount has a lot riding on this $130 million epic, not to mention the attached sensitivity of adapting what many call “the word of God.” The casting is worth exploring: Russell Crowe stars in the titular role with Jennifer Connelly playing Naameh, Noah’s wife. Emma Watson and Logan Lerman play Noah’s kin while Ray Winstone plays Tubal-cain, a leader of the hardened people who oppose Noah’s new hobby in ship-building. Anthony Hopkins has never looked older as Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, and Aronofsky-favorite Mark Margolis (you may know him best as Uncle Hector in Breaking Bad) plays a fallen angel known as Samyaza. Ryan and I did an Instant Trailer Review for the trailer which you can see below:
My feelings remain rather torn on Noah, which was easily my most anticipated film of 2014 until I saw an egregious leaked trailer for it a few weeks ago. They’ve cleaned it up significantly since then, including replacing an unbearable Celine Dion-type song to drive the spiritual sentimentality all the way home, though maybe not enough (see that Garden of Eden dream sequence). What remains looks like a Judeo-Christian converted Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Genesis story. Which isn’t a problem until you take into consideration it’s Aronofsky at the helm with Ari Handel aboard as co-writer and collaborator. A graphic novel (Noah: For the Cruelty of Men) was created in preparation for this film, showcasing how many liberties they would actually be making in their big screen adaptation. This may best be summed up in a (hilarious) quote of Producer Scott Franklin speaking with Entertainment Weekly, “Noah is a very short section of the Bible with a lot of gaps, so we definitely had to take some creative expression in it. But I think we stayed very true to the story and didn’t really deviate from the Bible, despite the six-armed angels.”
Notice, there are no six-armed angels in the trailer. How many audiences of faith would be up in arms (sorry) at the inclusion of such in what they consider sacred? How many audiences of <merely looking for a great time> would be ecstatic at the inclusion of these creatures and whatever else they could throw into the mix? And will the latter be sorely disappointed if/when it ends up being a faith-affirming epic that ultimately plays things safe? Because that looks like what this may be. This film is so large in scale that it feels like a polar opposite of Aronofsky’s previous Biblical-tied The Fountain, which boasted certain practical effects over giving into CGI wherever possible. There’s not a single real animal to be found in all of Noah, which is completely understandable when you take into account there are supposed to be two of each coming aboard, but I cannot help feeling how much this feels like a studio tentpole and not the mad vision of a filmmaker I have come to deeply admire. How else can you tell the story of Noah?
Noah hits theaters on March 28th, 2014. Are you excited to see it? Did this trailer change your expectations at all? Who do you think this movie is for? Feel free to address these questions or anything else on your mind in the comments below.