Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Noah: Making Movies of Disasters

November 19, 2013 12:13 pm 3 comments

Russell Crowe as Noah. Photo: Screen shot.

Sandwiched between the Super Typhoon Haiyan last week and the devastation from tornadoes in Illinois a few days ago, I caught a first glimpse of the film trailer for “Noah,” set to hit theaters next spring.

Over the past decade (as I’ve written about), movies about either an oncoming apocalypse or a post-apocalyptic world have been on a constant loop. Having now drained the pool of every conceivable storyline, I suppose Paramount Pictures figured, why not go back to the very first Armageddon with next year’s “Noah.”

In the trailer, Noah, played by Russel Crowe, utters the words, “I saw water, death by water. And I saw new life.” Ironic how theaters are being flooded by apocalyptic disaster movies right when all these storms are hitting theaters!

There were some 81 reported tornadoes due to powerful storms across three states including central Illinois this weekend where six people died. Far worse is the destruction in the Philippines where there are some 2,275 confirmed deaths and another 3,665 hurt according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The pain and suffering felt by the victims of these disasters is as real as it comes. (And of course Israel is one of the first responders to any and all such tragedies.)

Yet there’s something in the way the thin veneer of a movie has of transforming real carnage into something manufactured out of celluloid.

Take for example the movie “Noah” being directed by Darren Aronofsky, a director with a knack for dancing the fine line between fantasy and reality and telling stories about characters who, depending on your take, hear voices in their head or are simply paranoid. Add a cocktail of drugs into the mix and voila, we have an Aronofsky fest.

This was the case in 2010’s “Black Swan,” where Natalie Portman’s Nina descended into a nightmare state, with a dose of ecstasy, over the pressures she had to endure to take on the role of the Swan Queen.

Likewise, in his “Requiem For a Dream”, he portrays hallucinations with drugs and bakes it into a psycho kiln of electroconvulsive therapy to create a movie about several characters’ delusions. He caps it off in the illusory hue of television’s carnival-like mirror when in Sara’s dream (played by Ellen Burstyn) she’s catapulted into TV land, winning the grand prize on a game show.

And in one of his earliest successes, “Pi”, he has number theorist Max Cohen, suffer cluster headaches, paranoia, and social anxiety disorder spliced onto a story that intertwines the Gematria and stock picks.

I’m guessing there will be a similar theme when our Noah, played by Crowe, is hearing G-d’s voice telling him to build an ark because a flood is coming and the audience will be made to wonder, as will most of his neighbors, if at age 600 he’s nuts or for real.

One can also assume Hollywood is going to graft a 21st century environmental theme onto the Biblical story—maybe even play Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” or the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” as the credits role.

Written around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, some thought Dylan’s song referred to nuclear fallout (the cause célèbre of that day). However Dylan himself said that it wasn’t any specific reference and in a radio interview with Studs Terkel in ’63, responded,

“No, it’s not atomic rain, it’s just a hard rain. It isn’t the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that’s just gotta happen … In the last verse, when I say, ‘the pellets of poison are flooding the waters’, that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers.”

Indeed, when movies try to replicate disasters making them so palpable they practically become real – right as the news media is reporting on actual horrors – and turning them into spectacles, we can start to feel like we’re in an Aronofsky film.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com.

This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

3 Comments

  • Judging from the trailer, the Noah movie seems an arbitrary Hoolywood blurb. The acting comes across as B-level, and not even the CGI appears convincing. Then I saw a comment elsewhere saying that, given the present stage of science and education, the idea that all species where bred from a single surviving couple is insulting for the human intellect. I fully subscribe to this point of view. People who nevertheless believe in such a story should never board an airplane because according to their belief, only birds can fly and nothing else.

    • did you enjoy the movie of Thor? or any others based on legends?? Harry Potter was good movie huh? why do you put too much emotions for just movie?

      • I agree with you ! It’s a movie like all the others you mentioned, so just watch as entertainment and quit putting so much emphasis in the theologically aspect of it!!! Duh!
        Thor was a good movie but I do not expect the Gods to come riding in a tornado any time soon.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →