During recent test screenings in the states, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, his $100 million adaptation of God’s great flood, received startlingly negative reactions from two of its key demographics. Both Christian and Jewish audiences were left troubled by the Black Swan director’s biblical epic, leading to a major battle for final cut between the ambitious Aronofsky and Paramount Studios.
Despite this unresolved tussle for control of the film, Noah’s advertising campaign has kicked up a gear, possibly to distract from the problems behind the scenes that are doubtless hampering attempts to have the film ready in time for its current release slot in early spring 2014. First was the poster, which showed Russell Crowe’s titular sailor with his back to us, facing God’s mighty storm, spear inexplicably in hand. It’s a fairly simple one sheet that bares unfortunate resonance to the poster for Roland Emmerich’s end-of-the-world turkey 2012.
The trailer that was released a few days later meanwhile, gave us our first real look at Aronofsky’s vision. As well as having to contend with building an arc to fit all the animals in, it appears Noah’s mission has caught the attention of Ray Winstone’s grizzled villain, who wishes to stop Noah as the rains begin to come tumbling down… and up (huh?!?).
The script seems to be comprised of dull, optimistic dialogue; “is this the end of everything,” asks Emma Watson’s Ila, “it’s the beginning,” replies Noah (yawn). Whilst Ray Winstone’s gruff antagonist seems unnecessary, trying to add convoluted, generic jeopardy to an already crowded narrative. But it certainly looks good; the studio quality SFX no doubt meaning the flood will at least be spectacular to watch, even if the rest of the film looks to be uninspired.