Apparently Paramount has entirely renounced hope that Darren Aronofsky’s beleaguered Bible epic Noah will be popular with Christian audiences. Yesterday the studio preempted expected religious outrage by releasing a statement warning Christians to please not freak out, but the movie won’t be 100% Biblically accurate.
Paramount’s statement reads,
The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.
Damn. Not since the “this may cause vomiting/fainting/spontaneous combustion” warning for 127 Hours has a studio anticipated such a flood (get it?) of complaints.
The warning was issued after Paramount tried unsuccessfully to produce a cut of the movie that would test well with the kind of conservative Christian audiences that made Passion of the Christ a box office success. io9 reports that Paramount tried out as many as six different versions of Noah on religious audiences, all of which received negative responses. The version that will be released on March 28th has never been tested in front of what will likely be its harshest critics.
Aronofsky explained to The Hollywood Reporter,”My version of the film hasn’t been tested … It’s what we wrote and what was greenlighted.” In other words, Aronofsky is preparing himself for a figurative crucifixion from conservative groups, regardless of Paramount’s appeal to audiences’ common sense.
Ironically, Paramount’s Rob Moore told The Hollywood Reporter that religious audiences weren’t testing poorly because sections of the film aren’t faithful to the Bible–instead, conservatives had negative responses to Old-Testament accurate scenes in which Noah, God, or both are being difficult. Explains Moore,
…people had recollections of the story that weren’t actually correct.People said the door to the ark is supposed to be so big that no man can close it. Well no, that’s not actually what it says. What it says is that God ultimately shut the door of the ark when the flood comes, so it wasn’t Noah shutting the door on the rest of humanity — it was God making a decision…most people do not remember or were never taught the fact that after Noah’s off the ark, there is a moment in the story where he is drunk.
In other words, Paramount’s disclaimer shouldn’t tell audiences that Noah isn’t a 100% Biblically accurate movie, although of course that’s true.
Instead, they should warn conservatives that Aronofsky’s movie is faithful to the text in his depiction of a complicated God and Noah–faithful to a Bible that does not easily encourage faith.
(via io9, image via Noah)
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