When Darren Aronofsky's epic film "Noah" hits U.S. theaters this Friday, it may well be the only movie to use marketing materials that include a carefully worded disclaimer designed to insulate the studio from angry critics.
The blockbuster movie, starring Russell Crowe as Noah and featuring Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connolly, and Emma Watson, has been the subject of threatened boycotts by Christian and Muslim groups. Jewish groups have been largely absent from the vocal critics who have been panning the film during its production and preview screeenings.
Here is Paramount's disclaimer:
"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."Early reviews from the international release are clearly mixed. Here's an excerpt from Eric Kohn's mixed review on InstyWire:
Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel pepper the story with a number of flashier ingredients, some fairly routine and others less so. These include Noah's hulking army of four-armed rock giants, an elaboration on the fallen angels known as Nephilim, who initially resist Noah's cries for help and eventually aid in the construction of the Ark; the screenwriters also give Noah a single antagonist, in the form of the scheming Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), who manages to wind up as the Ark's sole human stowaway and attempt to surpass even the will of the Creator to restart civilization.
While still sifting through the meaning of his vision, Noah receives advice from his ancient grandfather Methusaleh (Anthony Hopkins, scowling and smirking in a handful of scenes), while keeping his blandly anxious wife (Jennifer Connelly) at bay. The couple's children include the eternally worried Ila (Emma Watson) and Shem (Douglas Booth), who eventually fall into a perilous romance, as well as Ham (Logan Lerman), whose allegiances to his father grow increasingly dubious as the plans for the Ark take shape.The actual building of the ark for the movie is the subject of a video shown on ABC news. The behind-the-scenes look at its construction on Long Island as Hurricane Sandy raged is shown in the video below, followed by the trailer for the film. Whether or not it comes close to our understanding of the Flood story as we learned it a little more than a few years ago, it's a film that looks to be entertaining enough to warrant seeing on a big screen rather than waiting for the Netflix DVD to arrive months later.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)