What is the first thing in your mind when the words Bible and movie appear together in the same sentence? I hope you didn’t think it was Armageddon. Although I wouldn’t put it past Michael Bay to transform anything or anyone, even their religion and girlfriends.
But when was the last time you remember being treated to a biblical movie? Maybe most of you will vaguely recall the widely-popular and highly-controversial movie The Passion of the Christ back in 2004 by Mel “Mad Max” Gibson. Mad Max? You will see my point as you read down. And if you haven’t seen this movie, then you haven’t missed much. Except probably not watch one of the most graphical, violent and edifying piece of artistic interpretation of arguably one of the most well-known chapters in the Bible – the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Given the nature of The Passion, the elements of this movie were much confined to its drama genre, but thankfully it was anything but boring. This is expected of course, given the chronicle-filled nature of the Bible. It is no wonder that most biblical movies (with the very few notable exception of some like The Passion, Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments), have never been globally successful in a done-to-death genre.
Most successful films’ formula in recent times spells only one word – epic. It is an easy formula because the epic genre is mainly a derivative of fantasy, and money. Lots and lots of money. But how do you apply that into a biblical chronicle? And make lots and lots of money?
You pray, you go to church and you do charities in the name of God. Ok, I was kidding.
That is why when Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s next film was announced this year, I thought that the Black Swan director was making a traditional version of the familiar tale. The only thing that is going to be traditional about Noah is Aronofsky’s penchant for controversial movies that are often associated with violent, bleak and depressing subject matter. He even loses the word “Ark” from the traditional title.
So no, Noah is not going to be a retelling of the biblical figure as much as the most of us would like to think it is going to be. A close adaptation of the chronicle of Noah’s Ark; now wouldn’t that have been boring and predictable, with no money? Just like how The Passion was biblically inaccurate but artistically resonant, graphically encapsulating, and faithful to the New Testament, Noah will accomplish the same for the Old Testament.
Before I go on, I wish to point out that Aronofsky is a genius for making this movie. The pieces all fall into place. Aside from his childhood fascination with Noah’s story from the Bible, here is what I’ve spotted: what Mel Gibson did for The Passion, Noah will do the same for Mad Max (the character, not the film; although both are the same). Confused yet?
And that is how Noah will turn out. This is Aronofsky’s Noah. He is going to be a Mad Max-style warrior placed in a pseudo-apocalyptic world where he has to face and survive six-armed giants. Intrigued already?
He isn’t the patriarchal prophet you remember from the Bible. This is a warrior out of the depths of ancient time; a world where pity has no place. A place marked by violence and barbarism. A fighter and also a healer who is subjected to imminent visions of the end of the world consumed by an endless wave of deluge. Absorbed yet?
For a movie this religiously epic, you need an equally epic cast with a balanced mix. So let me roll down the red carpet and present Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Ema Watson. And no, I’m sorry to disappoint but even Hopkins is way too old to be playing Noah. That honour rolls nicely to Russell Crowe of Luxley (please excuse his last on-screen disaster of Robin Hood). And yes, for the first time in more than a decade, Crowe and Connelly will be reunited on-screen to work that magic thing they got going so well for them in A Beautiful Mind. Impressed yet?
You can have a peek at the look and feel of this upcoming religious epic movie at the end of this article by checking out the video showcasing the graphic novel written by Aronofsky. It is published in French and drawn by Marvel and DC comics veteran artist Henrichon; created to help promote the film to Paramount Pictures. Unless you read French, just appreciate the gravity of the graphics and its dark undertone here – the score also tells you a bit about the mood and bleakness of this movie.
Noah is scheduled for release on the 28th of March, 2014.
Click below for the graphic novel showcase: