'Noah' Trailer Analysis - True To The Bible?

By Benjamin Jones, Crossmap On November 20, 2013

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The new "Noah" film trailer was released 3 days ago, and what's on many Christian's mind is: how accurate to the Bible is this film going to be?

Producer of the film, Scott Franklin, told Entertainment Weekly in the beginning of the year: "Noah is a very short section of the Bible with a lot of gaps, so we definitely had to take some creative expression in it. But I think we stayed very true to the story and didn't really deviate from the Bible."

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How much creative expression did they take? And how much is too much? Jewish and Christian audiences who were given an early screening in October came out having worrisome and troubling reactions. 

The recent trailer gave clue to the rest of the world as to what they were worried and troubled about.

The opening shot of the trailer states: "At a time when wickedness was great in the world so too was the response", which can be seen as a short summary of Genesis 6:5-7, which states that God saw the greatness of man's wickedness on the earth and said He will wipe mankind and animals from the face of the earth.

Then what seemed like a dream sequence, Noah (played by Russell Crowe) sees the ground he stands on seeped in blood. Many Christians in social networks have been worried that the story of Noah may be told with an environmentalist's message, who could interpret this scene as the Earth bleeding, but the rest of the trailer seems go nowhere near anywhere near a 'green' slogan.

Noah asks his grandfather Methuselah (played by Anthony Hopkins) "Can it not be averted?" to which Methuselah replied: "Man corrupted this world and filled it with violence, so it must be destroyed." While this is voiced-over, a montage of people committing violent crimes confirms that this is the reason why God sends the flood, which follows Genesis 6:11.

"A great flood is coming, we build a vessel to hold the innocent" Noah says subsequently over scenes of constructing the ark. Now this implies that that Noah wanted to house more than his own families, which is what God had instructed him to do in Genesis 6, but also other people who are innocent. Whether this is Biblical is up in the air, as Christians with different backgrounds argue whether Noah warned the others around him of the flood and called them to repent and join him in the ark.

Then the trailer moved onto the story arc of Noah's brother Tubal-Cain who is also his nemesis in this movie. Tubal-Cain says: "I have men at my back, you stand alone and defy me?" Noah replied: "I'm not alone" implying most probably God being with him. Much of the remaining trailer focuses on their fight, turning Noah's mission into a sort of "defend the castle" kind of a story. Now this story arc is most probably one of the significant additions to how past Noah stories have been told. The situation could be plausible, however this is not in the Bible. This is understandably an important addition to this Hollywood film for commercial reasons, which telling from the film's poster where Noah stands holding a spear, makes it a selling point of this movie. Seeing the faithfulness of a man of God in building the ark for 120 years tends not to be what the general audience want to see, but violence, perhaps righteous violence from Noah himself is what sells movie tickets.

The trailer moves on to impressive CG animals entering the ark, and the flooding of the world with great rain and interestingly, the film depicts 'springs of the great deep bursting forth' as recorded in Genesis 7:11, which past story tellers tended to have missed, focusing only on the rain.

Overall, how much does the new 'Noah' story sticks to the Biblical original narrative? We will have to wait and see, as it has been reported that Darren Aronofsky and Paramount are still negotiating the final cuts in light of early screening religious audiences' ire response. But as we can see from the trailer and the poster so far, the focus of the story seems to land further from Noah's faith towards God, and closer to the typical Hollywood hero that we've all grown up with.

More:

Russell Crowe's Noah: 'Stood By While Others Perish', 'Not Benevolent Or Nice' 

New Hollywood'Noah' Film Starring Russell Crowe Flooded With Controversy

'Noah' Trailer Released Starring Russell Crowe as the Famous Biblical Figure, Received Mixed Reviews