Darren Aronofsky’s Noah came out on Blu-Ray and DVD one year ago this month, and to mark the occasion, I have rounded up every bit of footage I can think of that was deleted from the film itself but can still be seen in the trailers and featurettes.
The chronological Noah: an illustrated integration of the three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s film
There are two Creation stories in Genesis, and the details don’t always mesh. Likewise, there are three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah — the opening prologue, the story of the Watchers told by Og, and the story of Creation and the Fall told by Noah — and the details there don’t always fit together all that comfortably, either.
Films, children’s books and other retellings of the Creation story sometimes integrate the two Genesis stories by omitting some details and rearranging the rest, so that, for example, Adam names the animals and Eve is taken from Adam’s rib (a la Genesis 2) before God tells the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply (a la Genesis 1).
Similarly, I thought it might be fun to take the three origin stories in Noah and weave them together into a single narrative that shows the creation and fall of the Watchers and early humans together. The screencaps below are only a sampling of the images from these sequences, but I have kept every word that accompanied them.
Noah interview round-up: Oscar buzz, lessons learned, musical links between Aronofsky’s films, and more
As far as I can tell, there have been three times in the Academy’s history when it nominated two different Bible movies for Oscars in the same year: in 1951, when Quo Vadis and David and Bathsheba received over a dozen nominations combined (neither film won anything); in 1959, when Ben-Hur won a record-setting 11 awards and The Big Fisherman also scored a few nominations; and in 1966, when arthouse favorite The Gospel According to St. Matthew received three nominations while the big-budget film The Bible: In the Beginning… received just one.
Could it happen again this year? It’s a sign of how strong the Bible-movie revival is right now that Oscar buzz has followed both of the year’s major entries in that genre. Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings comes out in December, right in the thick of awards season, and while it might not be a front-runner just yet, no one can forget how, the last time Scott made an ancient epic (i.e. Gladiator), it won Best Picture. And then there is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
For one thing, they have generally been made by the same creative team, including composer Clint Mansell (who has scored all six of Aronofsky’s films), cinematographer Matthew Libatique (who has shot all of Aronofsky’s films except for The Wrestler) and a number of recurring actors (such as Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn and especially Mark Margolis).
But the films also have some thematic overlaps. As I mentioned in my review of Noah for Books & Culture, Aronofsky films often dwell on the notion that it is impossible to touch perfection and survive. They also tend to revolve around characters who are obsessed with something, often to the characters’ detriment. And more often than not, they tend to make references to the Bible, some more pronounced than others.
And that brings us to Noah. When the film came out, a number of critics (such as The Playlist’s Drew Taylor) noted that it had some striking things in common with The Fountain in particular. But Noah actually harks back — visually and thematically — to pretty much all of Aronofsky’s earlier films to one degree or another.
That’s the second sentence in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. It’s printed on the screen for all to see. It is accompanied by an image of a serpent flicking its tongue at the camera. And it is followed by images of violence and destruction.
To those who are even half-familiar with the story of the Fall, you might think that this would all seem pretty straightforward. But no. Instead, a bizarre idea has surfaced in recent days, to the effect that Aronofsky’s film espouses a kind of Gnosticism.
The first time I saw Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, I took six pages of notes, and I watched it with the memory of an early draft of the screenplay lingering in my brain. So I was distracted on at least two levels: by a need to jot down as many quotes and facts as I could, and by an awareness of how the script had evolved. Never mind people who obsess over how the film may or may not have deviated from Genesis; I kept thinking of how the film was deviating from that early script!
Needless to say, I don’t normally take that kind of background knowledge to the theatre when I go to see a movie, and I knew it wouldn’t be fair to Noah to hold that knowledge against it either. I also knew I needed to just sit back and watch the movie like a proper movie, to bask in the drama and let it unfold.
And so, on Wednesday morning, I saw the film a second time. And I can think of no better way to sum up the difference between my two viewings of the film than to say that I didn’t cry at all the first time I saw Noah, but I shed tears on a few separate occasions the second time I saw it. It’s a powerful, powerful film.