“I was upset — of course,” the director says of Paramount testing alternate versions of the $125 million epic as he and the studio break their silence on efforts to appease a small but vocal segment of the faith-based audience: “Those people can be noisy.”
(source of image and quote: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rough-seas-noah-darren-aronofsky-679315)
Okay, by now many Christians are aware of the “Noah” movie starring Russell Crowe. And probably all of these are aware that the movie is very controversial.
Question is, which religious groups are praising the movie? And which religious groups, on the other hand, are condemning the movie?
Below I’ve provided excerpts from several relevant articles. Besides naming names of various groups, the articles give background concerning how the movie was tested and what reactions it got from various Christian test groups.
Note – I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. I’m also adding links to endorsements and criticisms by various groups.
“… But the real trouble was on the horizon, when Paramount grew anxious that “Noah” might offend some on the religious right and started testing its own cut of the movie while Aronofsky raced to finish his. Franklin said that even with unfinished visual effects and a rough score, Aronofsky’s version tested better than Paramount’s, even though the studio’s had fewer missing pieces and was more polished.
“I think a lot of films of this size go through this. I don’t think it’s singular to us,” Franklin said. “But we were steadfast in our vision for the film. The great thing about the process is that everybody came out agreeing that our version of the movie was the best version of the movie.”
Even so, Paramount again blindsided its filmmakers [including Aronofsky] by agreeing in late February to add a disclaimer to “Noah’s” marketing materials without giving Aronofsky a heads-up.
The move came after several Christian groups [what groups?], including the National Religious Broadcasters, objected to how Aronofsky was interpreting scripture.
Jerry Johnson, the president and chief executive officer of the NRB, wrote in two blog posts after seeing the film that he found “some” parts of the film to be “commendable,” but his praise was tepid. He was far more vigorous in attacking “Noah,” complaining that a scene about evolution “will be a concern for many” who are creationists, that “secondary biblical details are blurred” and that Aronofsky’s Noah is so dark in some places “that you do not want to like him.”
Several other religious leaders and interested parties have been far kinder to the film, including representatives from the American Bible Society, Catholic Voices USA, the Christian Film and Television Commission and the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
Designed to appease people like Johnson and prepare moviegoers for some of Aronofsky’s inventions, Paramount’s disclaimer notes that the film was “inspired by the story of Noah” and that “artistic license has been taken.”
Aronofsky, who is both an atheist and a biblical scholar, knows that no matter how thoroughly he researched his film and for all of his attention to biblical detail — if you look closely there are seven pairs of some “clean animals,” as Genesis has it, in addition to the single pairs of other creatures — some will nevertheless find fault… [ This would be funny if not so tragic – the movie is the very antithesis of biblical accuracy.]
Kim Masters, Rough Seas on ‘Noah': Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians (and Everyone Else)(The Hollywood Reporter, 2/12/2014)
… The studio is aware that a vocal segment of Christian viewers might reject the film over accuracy. Still, Moore says, “Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it.”
The studio and its faith-based consultant, Grace Hill Media, have reached out to a number of key figures, with some success. Special trailers were screened to positive reactions at U.S. Christian conferences, including Catalyst, the Global Leadership Conference and Women of Faith: Believe God Can Do Anything. In January, Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong, a Pentecostal megachurch based in Australia and with outposts around the world, were invited to a screening on the studio lot. Ben Field, the church’s head of film and television, who was there, says the pastors will support the movie. “If you’re expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you’re in for a shock,” he says. “There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense. [But] we were pretty excited that a studio like Paramount would invest in a Bible-themed movie.” On Feb. 4, Pastor Brian, at the church’s Heart and Soul night in Sydney, spoke before a few thousand congregants and joked, “You’ll enjoy the film — if you’re not too religious.”
Also, Focus on the Family gave a mixed review of “Noah”, with more favorable comments than I am comfortable with.