Family and fallen angels in the Noah Super Bowl TV spot

Needless to say, there isn’t a whole lot of new footage in the 35-second Super Bowl spot for Noah that Paramount released online tonight, four days before it will air on TV. But the ad does give us a few new images and a few new bits of dialogue, as well. Check ’em out below the jump.

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A last-minute casting change to Aronofsky’s Noah?

Darren Aronofsky tweeted this morning that Nick Nolte has just been added to the cast of Noah as the voice of Samyaza, one of the Watchers or Nephilim. (In most Jewish literature, the Nephilim are the offspring of the Watchers, but in Aronofsky’s film, they appear to be one and the same.) This is a little concerning, as the character had originally been played by Mark Margolis, an actor who has appeared in every single one of Aronofsky’s previous films. Margolis will still be represented in the film, sort of, as he provided the motion-capture performance that the CGI character is based on. But still, I had assumed his voice would be in the film. Let’s hope this bit of last-minute re-casting hasn’t been imposed on the film by the studio, the way New Line Cinema forced Chris Weitz to replace Nonso Anozie with Ian McKellen as the voice of an armoured bear in The Golden Compass (2007).

January 18 update: I just noticed that Aronofsky posted a follow-up tweet in which he assured Margolis fans that the actor is still in the film — as the voice of another Watcher named Magog. All right, then. Oh, and Aronofsky also indicated that Frank Langella may be voicing one of the Watchers, too. That could be interesting.
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The Nephilim are coming! The Nephilim are coming!

I have seen at least four different trailers for Noah so far — two that were shown at church conferences, and two that were released to the general public a couple of weeks ago — and if there is one thing that has been conspicuously absent from all four of those trailers, it is the gigantic fallen angels known as the Watchers. Oh, sure, I suspect that there are hints of those creatures in a few of the more cryptic shots in those trailers, but so far the studio has held back any bit of footage that might give us a clear sense of the role that they will play within the finished film.

Director Darren Aronofsky, on the other hand, has been teasing us with their presence in the film for a while, now. You might remember the “nephilim wuz here” picture, which didn’t really show anything, that he tweeted fifteen months ago. (In the Jewish apocrypha, the Nephilim are the offspring of the Watchers, but in Aronofsky’s film, these appear to be interchangeable names for the same basic set of creatures.)

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Noah’s buzz cut and other (possible) anachronisms

Now this is my kind of nit-picking.

Jeffrey Wells wrote a blog post the other day in which he complained that the buzz cut worn by Russell Crowe in the Noah trailers is historically improbable.

To make his case, Wells began by linking to the Wikipedia entry on scissors, which states that the earliest known scissors were made in Egypt or Mesopotamia sometime between 2000 BC and 1500 BC. This would place the invention of scissors well after the Flood, which — for those who believe it was an historical event — is thought to have occurred no more recently than 2349 BC, and possibly much earlier.

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The Noah trailers: a shot-by-shot analysis

It can be fascinating to see how the same movie is marketed to different audiences. Is Noah a family man of prayer, as the trailers that have played at various church conferences suggest? Or is he an action hero who wields weapons in self-defense, as the just-released international trailer suggests? Well, in Darren Aronofsky’s hands, he appears to be both — and that’s just one of several fascinating ways in which the trailers for Noah are sending different signals to their various markets.

What follows is a shot-by-shot analysis of the two trailers that were released today, focusing primarily on the North American trailer, but continuing with some screen-caps from the international trailer and a note about the elements in the church-conference trailers that were not included in these new trailers.

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Quick updates on two of next year’s big Bible movies

Son of God, the big-screen movie spun off from this year’s hit mini-series The Bible, finally has a release date: February 28, 2014.

Not coincidentally, one assumes, that’s just a few days before Lent: in the Eastern churches next year, Lent begins on Monday March 3, while in the Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday or March 5.

A press release announcing the release date confirms that the film will feature “never-before-seen footage” and that it will cover the life of Jesus “from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.”

The release date is also precisely one month before the release date of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. And while the studio has yet to release any footage from that film, it seems that there has already been at least one test screening of it.

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