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...

  • Features World Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Tour operators are calling attention to Jamaica’s little-known Jewish heritage by arranging visits to historic Jewish sites on the Caribbean island, including a cemetery where Jewish pirates are buried. A report in Travel and Leisure magazine describes the Hunts Bay Cemetery in Kingston, where there are seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia. According to the report, centuries ago, Jewish pirates sailed the waters of Jamaica and settled in Port Royal. The town, once known as “the wickedest city in the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Telling Israel’s story. It’s the specific title of a short film that Eyal Resh created last year. It’s also the theme behind the 27-year-old Israeli filmmaker’s broader body of work. The widely viewed “Telling Israel’s Story” film—directed by Resh for a gala event hosted by the Times of Israel online news outlet—seemingly begins as a promotional tourism video, but quickly evolves to offer a multilayered perspective. “I want to tell you a story about a special place for me,” a young woman whispers […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    JNS.org – The entrance to Jerusalem’s Sacher Park was transformed from April 25-27 by a fire-breathing robotic dragon, which flailed its arms and attempted to take flight. The robot, a signature feature at Jerusalem’s first-ever “Geek Picnic,” was one of more than 150 scientific amusements available for the public to experience. This particular dragon was designed by students from Moscow’s Art Industrial Institute in conjunction with the Flacon design factory, said Anatasia Shaminer, a student who helped facilitate the display. Children […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →