Noah could leave religious cinemagoers unsatisfied

Published 24 February 2014

The Noah blockbuster that's due to hit theatres in the coming months may not go down so well with the faith-based cinema going public.

The Faith Driven Consumer group has raised concerns about reports indicating that the Darren Aronofsky-directed flick strays considerably from the biblical plot.

Instead of taking the plot from the story of God's judgement of man's sin, reports suggest the film's main theme will be a modern-day environmental message.

Faith Driven Consumer - the group behind the recent IStandWithPhil petition - launched an online survey to find out how people of faith would feel about this.

It posed the question: "As a Faith Driven Consumer, are you satisfied with a Biblically themed movie – designed to appeal to you – which replaces the Bible's core message with one created by Hollywood?"

A massive 98 per cent said they would not be satisfied with this.

The Hollywood Reporter recently reported that test screenings alarmed audiences who "questioned the film's adherence to the Bible story and reacted negatively to the intensity and darkness of the lead character".

While this year is being dubbed the Year of the Bible Movie because of all the Bible-related movies coming out, it seems people of faith are clear about what they want - a movie that stays faithful to the original Bible story.

Noah is being made by Paramount Pictures at a cost of $125 million and stars Russell Crowe in the lead role.

In response to the negative headlines, Paramount has released internal tracking data from Nielsen's National Research Group and the Barna Group suggesting that 83 per cent and 86 per cent of moviegoers who describe themselves as "religious" and who know of the Noah film are anticipating its release.

In the information released by Paramount, Barna Group president David Kinnaman said a survey conducted over February 13 to 15 found that "the majority of pastors would recommend that people see Noah".

But it still seems like there's more bad news surrounding the film than good after it emerged that co-star Emma Watson fell ill after drinking stagnant water on set because Aronofsky had banned bottled water.

Watson, who plays the daughter of Noah, Ila, told Wonderland magazine: "Because the film has a pro-environmental message, Darren didn't want anyone drinking from plastic water bottles on set… so that made things slightly harder.

"Everything we used had to be recycled or recyclable. Having no water bottles on set at five in the morning, when you're exhausted and delirious, wasn't ideal.

"I was so tired one morning I picked up a mug from my trailer and drank some stagnant water that had been there for the duration – so three months. I was so ill."

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