Whenever Hollywood takes another stab at a biblical story, the evan- gelical community divides into
three camps – the flattered (They noticed
us), the focused (Let’s take advantage
of the attention. Cue the accompanying
outreach campaigns) and the offended
(They’re taking liberties with our stories).
If the previews are accurate, director
Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming film Noah,
which includes apocalyptic visions, fallen
angels and brutal clashes with other humans, is going to blow every Sunday school
flannelgraph, flowing-robed, rainbow-glow-ing cliché out of the proverbial water.
Test screenings of Jewish and Christian
audiences – the two markets the studio
wants on board to guarantee commercial
success – have reportedly not gone well.
Despite previous reports of disagreements
between the director and the studio over
the final cut of the film, a recent article
in the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that
Aronofsky’s version, which has not been
tested, will be the cut moviegoers will see.
Early on in the Noah film saga, American screenwriter Brian Godawa (To End All
Wars, Alleged and the novel Noah Primeval)
read an undated draft of the script and decried Aronofsky’s version of the Noah story
as an “environmentalist wacko” in a 2012
post on his blog Hollywood Worldviews.
“The notion of human evil [in the draft]
is more of an afterthought or symptom of
the bigger environmental concern of the
great tree-hugger in the sky,” he writes.
Godawa then goes on to lay out a script
laden with the message that God and Noah
are working together on an endgame that
will take mankind, who has abused the
Earth, out of the picture for good.
He also outlines plot twists, such as one
of Noah’s enemies stowing away on the
ark, and Noah’s plan to kill the child of a
pregnant woman on the great boat (who
exactly the woman is, is not identified) if
she gives birth to a girl – eliminating the
threat of future human propagation.
We have to remember, of course, that
the average Hollywood screenplay is rewritten more times than a four-year-old’s
Christmas list. So some of the movie elements Godawa is critiquing may not make
it into the final product. No doubt, being
accustomed to miles of rewrites himself,
Godawa says, “It’s never too late to right
a ship that is heading in the wrong direc-
Coming to a Screen Near You
Christian film critics reflect on upcoming mainstream movies
about Noah and Jesus. By Jeff Dewsbury
Pho To: NIKo TAVErNISE
Will Noah, which opens on March 28, be more concerned with environmentalism than with god punishing human evil?
Jennifer connelly is Naameh and russell crowe is Noah in Noah, from paramount pictures and regency Enterprises.