How can anybody summarize Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Noah in 23 seconds of promo footage? Paramount tried yesterday with a brief (and admittedly effective) preview clip, but now that the full official trailer has gone online, it’s a struggle to imagine how the film could be synopsized even with a greatly expanded three-minute preview.
The big takeaway for all viewers should be clear: Noah operates on an absolutely massive scope and scale, one that’s appropriately sized in light of the Biblical exploration that makes up the core of its narrative. Certainly no one can accuse Aronofsky of a lack of effort; unlike so many blockbusters that get unnecessarily saddled with the term, Noah actually looks epic. Between the titular character’s dreams of devastation, the sheer enormity of the task he takes on as his personal burden, and the human threats to the safety of Noah, his family, and his quest, there’s an ever-present sense of grandiosity in nearly every frame on display here.
In other words, Noah means to be big and important, retelling the tale of Noah and the flood through the eyes of one of today’s most ambitious auteurs. The basics gist remains the same – Noah (Russell Crowe) builds an ark to protect his family (Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Douglas Booth) and the Earth’s creatures after receiving visions of the world’s destruction from God – but Aronofsky expands on the details, pitting his hero against not only impending Armageddon but also against the barbaric Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), who believes Noah to be a madman rather than a true prophet.
The trailer captures most of these details, taking special care to showcase Noah’s confrontations with Tubal-cain, but shows little and less of the film’s purported fantastical elements. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of a Nephilim – one of those six-armed angels spoken of in the production process – will be disappointed. At the same time, the effects on display here are really impressive, from images of the climatic flood to the painstakingly rendered hordes of animals that find refuge aboard Noah’s vessel.
If Aronofsky’s goal is to spin a visual feast out of the apocalypse, it looks like he’s succeeded. Perhaps that alone will allow Noah to skirt around controversy; the film could be taken as just as much a tale of human survival as a work of Bible interpretation, and regardless, Aronofsky’s work here (brought to life by his usual standby cinematographer, Matthew Libatique) looks stunningly gorgeous.
Noah will be in theaters on March 28, 2014.