Noah is not only one of this month’s (for some, this year’s) most anticipated releases, it’s also a rather prickly discussion topic due to co-writer/director Darren Aronofsky’s interpretation of the Biblical flood story – one that Paramount Pictures has been keen to emphasize (with its recent marketing push) is an auteuristic vision, rather than a purist adaptation of the religious source material.
On the other hand, Aronofsky has long maintained that his cinematic take on the Noah’s Ark narrative – originally a graphic novel he co-wrote with Ari Handel (The Fountain) – can be considered a literal adaptation in certain regards, with regard to how his movie carries over more adult content from the Bible that “got censored out of our religious upbringing” at a younger age (see: Russell Crowe as Noah getting drunk on wine, etc.).
That philosophy was also applied to the film’s central set piece, as illustrated by the featurette included above; production designer Mark Friedberg (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) explains as such, while breaking down how the blueprints and dimensions for the enormous and highly-detailed practical Ark set – fleshed out using digital components – sprung from descriptions in the original Bible text.
Costar Emma Watson – who’s among those interviewed in said featurette – has previously indicated that the setting depicted in Aronofsky’s Noah has a fairly timeless design, rather than a distinctly ancient world or futuristic post-apocalyptic feel. It’s for reasons like that that Paramount Pictures has tweaked the film’s marketing, in order to include a disclaimer that warns about how the film takes “artistic license” with its source material, even though it’s also “true to the essence, values and integrity” of the original story, according to the studio.
Side-stepping the controversy talk for a moment, Noah certainly looks and sounds as technically-accomplished as Aronofsky’s previous directorial efforts, combing the phantasmagoric elements of The Fountain and dream-like editing of Black Swan, with a more accessible narrative than those films to bind the whole thing together (good news, for those who felt that the aforementioned Aronofsky movies bit off more than they could chew).
Aronofsky’s big-budget adventure still has a ways to go to making back its $130 million price, but with the majority of those U.S. moviegoers who drove Son of God to a $25 opening weekend apparently planning to see Noah when it hits theaters – while also taking into account the higher ticket price for 3D screenings in certain countries – early signs are that Noah shouldn’t just drown (my apologies for the bad pun) at the box office, as some have predicted.
Noah opens in theaters on March 28th, 2014.