A new Hollywood epic on the life of Noah has stirred controversy among Christians, Jews and others who have pre-screened the film, as they state that the movie largely leaves out one important foundation: the Bible.
Noah is the brainchild of producer Darren Aronofsky, who says that he has wanted to make a film about Noah and the ark since his childhood. With a $125 million budget, the film is said to be more of an edgy action epic that depicts a man who fights off his enemies as he prepares for a coming apocalypse, rather than a story of a “preacher of righteousness” who calls the world to repentance from sin.
Russell Crowe, known for his roles in Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind and Robin Hood stars as Noah in the film, and Anthony Hopkins, known for his roles in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and The Legends of the Fall appears as grandfather Methuselah, who provides advice to Noah.
“Man corrupted this world and filled it with violence, so he must be destroyed,” Methuselah explains to Noah, who has a dream of “death by water.”
But as Noah begins to build an ark, he becomes the enemy of his brother-in-law Tubal-Cain. He tells Tubal-Cain to build his own ark, or die trying to take his.
“You don’t know your king,” Tubal-Cain asserts. “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”
“I’m not alone,” Noah replies confidently.
Tubal-Cain, who has gathered an army against Noah, later storms the vessel in battle-style as the rain begins to fall.
“Take the ark!” he orders his army of followers.
A number of battle scenes are said to fill the film, which in some aspects are reminiscent of Gladiator. Six-armed angels, known as Watchers, are also introduced, “who came down from Heaven to help fallen humanity by granting them wonders of knowledge from magic to science to stars, metal, and fire.”
Earlier reports of the film expressed disapproval that Noah was depicted as being centered on an environmental agenda, and that Aronofsky viewed Noah as the “first environmentalist.” Noah is also stated to be tormented with guilt for surviving the flood while others perished. It is not known whether those particular aspects still remain in the movie at this time.
As Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures have rolled out screenings of the film, which will officially hit theaters in March 2014, there has been mixed reaction from viewers. Some have praised Noah, stating that they were impressed with the production, while others have expressed disappointment over the movie’s departure from the Biblical text.
“You can’t stray from the Bible in a Bible-based film without upsetting a percentage of the Christian faith base. Interpretations may vary, but if the story changes, even a little, it’s deemed offensive,” Angie Meyer-Olszewski, an entertainment publicist, told FOX411. “When a studio releases a movie that’s biblical, they are playing a game of religious roulette.”
“[I]t’s clear that Noah is not a Christian film,” writes the blog Beginning and End in a lengthy critique of the production. “Yet when this movie hits the theaters, it will not stop the film company behind [it] from marketing the movie to churches and the Christian community in hopes of conveying the idea that it is a movie celebrating a Biblical story when it is not. Do not be deceived.”
Reports state that Paramount and Aronofsky have different visions for the film, and that due to some of the dissatisfaction from the screenings, the producers of Noah are working on making their final adjustments before its release next year. Some are hopeful that the changes will be more in line with Scripture.