The biblical story of the flood takes up just four chapters in the book of Genesis, so it’s not surprising to see some material here that looks a bit unfamiliar to those of us who went to Sunday school. In addition to Russell Crowe as Noah, for instance, we get Anthony Hopkins as his grandfather, Methuselah, a man who barely shows up in the Bible and is known mostly for his remarkable longevity. (He is connected to the flood inthe noncanonical Book of Enoch, and later texts depict Noah and Methuselah preaching repentance together.) We also get hints of a massive battle between Noah and his contemporaries.
What we do not get are the heavy religious overtones of the trailer that leaked online a few weeks ago. That one opened with quotes from Genesis and referred to the flood as “the most remarkable event in our history” (my emphasis). This one, somewhat pointedly, I think, declares that “the story is more than you imagined” (my emphasis again). The religiosity (or lack thereof) has supposedly been a point of contention between Aronofsky and Paramount, which of course would like to sell tickets to the Christian moviegoers who showed up for The Passion of the Christ, for instance. They were likely disappointed when an early review of the script by a Christian screenwriter declared Aronofsky’s Noah an “environmentalist wacko.”
Some of us, of course, are encouraged by that idea; the environmentalist overtones of the Noah story are among the reasons a movie seems worth doing now. And there are not many filmmakers I would rather see take it on than Aronofsky. His version is set to open next March.