Attempting to breathe new life into classic tale such as Noah’s Ark is no easy task. Most directors with only six films under their belt would shy away from such a huge project, but Darren Aranofsky is no ordinary director. His previous films such as The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream attracted more than their fair share of controversy for their hard-hitting content.
The following lists looks at reasons why Aronofsky’s latest project could be his most spectacular film to date.
1. It Stars Russell Crowe
Fans of Russell Crowe have been anxiously waiting to see the New Zealand actor return to form with another epic blockbuster. Ever since the success of Gladiator, the gruff-voiced actor has been struggling to find a project that will do justice to his immense talent.
Master and Commander and Robin Hood were huge disappointments to both fans and movie critics and almost derailed the actor’s career. However, the trailer for Noah looks like it could be another big hit for Russell. The multi-talented actor is barely recognizable as the title character with a long beard, shaved head and huge muscular arms.
2. It Gives The Classic Bible Story a Dark Twist
Those who are hoping to see an uplifting tale of survival and triumph over adversity will be sorely disappointed. The film is a re-imagining of the classic bible story as a terrifying apocalyptic world filled with mystical creatures and a vengeful God. Aronofsky previously stated in an interview that he became interested in the story of Noah as a child.
However, the director imagined him as a reluctant survivor who suffers from terrible guilt as he tries to come to terms with the fact that he and his family are the last human survivors. Aronofsky’s dark vision takes centre stage throughout the entire movie.
3. No Real life Animals Were Used During Filming
Although Aronofsky’s movie revolves around the character of Noah, the animals are one of the main features of the original story. Instead of bringing in hundreds of live animals to create the movie, Aronofsky instead opted to have all his animals created using CGI.
The director is well-known for his deep respect for animals and the environment and decided to use digital technology to create his animals for humane reasons. During filming of The Fountain, Aronofsky used live monkeys to shoot some scenes. He stated in an interview that he was “horrified” and “deeply disturbed” by the conditions the monkeys were kept in.
4. It’s Set in a Fantasy World
Aronofsky decided to shun the traditional vision of the Noah’s Ark story filled with desert, sandals and giraffes. Instead, the director has created a fantasy world that resembles something from a Peter Jackson epic. Aronofsky explains that the bible speaks of mythical creatures that walked the earth during Noah’s time such as the Nephilim.
These huge beasts were said to be the sons of God and the daughters of men and resembled giant angels. The Old Testament also speaks of the Leviathan, a gigantic sea-monster that breathed fire and smoke. Aronofsky has created a mythical world filled with magic and mystery in order to tell the story.
5. It Stays True to The Story
Despite being only two hours long, the movie has attempted to fit in all four chapters of the story. Paramount, the studio that handled production of the movie, also want to keep the story as true to the original as possible in order to keep the religious demographic happy.
In America, this makes up a pretty large percentage of the population and could prove disastrous if the Christian community decided to boycott the movie. However, other fans believe that Aronofsky should have free reign over the story and be able to tell it in his own unique way.
6. Jennifer Connelly Makes Her Second Debut As Russell Crowe’s Wife
Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe first appeared together in A Beautiful Mind that told the true story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who struggles with schizophrenia. Jennifer earned an Academy Award, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her performance as John’s wife. In Noah, Russell and Jennifer team up once more as husband and wife.
Jennifer plays Naameh, a direct descendent of Cain and wife of Noah who accompanies him aboard the Ark. Julianne Moore was originally considered for the role, but Jennifer eventually won out. Aronofsky and Jennifer previously collaborated on Requiem for a Dream.
7. Aronofsky Almost Killed His Actors While Making the Movie
In a recent interview, Emma Watson who plays Noah’s adopted daughter Ila in the movie stated that she fell ill after Aronofsky banned bottled water from the set. In an effort to make the production as environmentally friendly as possible, actors were only allowed to use recycled or recyclable items.
The pretty actress eventually fell ill from the effects of dehydration. After complaining that she was too frail to continue filming due to her illness, Aronofsky simply told her to “use it in a scene.” Another report claimed that Ray Winstone almost passed out under his heavy makeup and beard.
8. Movie Fans Will See the Directors Cut
Director Darren Aronofsky is well-known for creating dark, brooding characters that struggle with their own personal demons. His previous films such as Pi, Black Swan and The Wrestler are celebrated for their tragic themes. However, Christian audiences were not so thrilled by Aronofsky’s version of their beloved bible story.
This led to Hollywood executives cutting up the movie and editing it to try to appease their religious fans. Christian fans were still not happy with a moody, alcoholic Noah that contemplates wiping out mankind. After an almighty battle, Aronofsky managed to get his version of the final edit approved.
9. It Has a Lot of Special Effects
Along with digitally created animals, the movie features mythical creatures, terrifying apocalyptic scenes of floods and chaos and even a six-armed angel. Industrial Light and Magic, the company that created all the computer imaging for the film, claimed that one of the scenes they created for the movie was the most complicated computer rendering they had ever produced.
Whilst movie audiences are accustomed to seeing fantasy creatures and monsters created entirely out of computer graphics, something as simple as an animal can be infinitely more complicated. Trying to create realistic fur, body movement and facial expressions for high definition playback is extremely difficult.
10. It Has Darren Aronofsky At The Helm
If the story of Noah were directed by Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott, we could expect a swashbuckling tale filled with excitement, action scenes and a feel-good climax. Aronofsky is renowned for creating thought-provoking films that handle the subject matter in a new and unusual way.
Black Swan is a tale of revenge, love and tragedy that stunned audiences by mixing the beauty of ballet with the darkness of human nature. The fountain is a love story that forces the audience to consider their own mortality.
All of Aronofskys previous projects have showcased the director’s auteur method of film making. Hopefully Noah will continue this tradition and offer something that could only have sprung from the mind of Aronofsky.