With less than one week until the release of Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming film “Noah,” a new promotional video has been released featuring Christian leaders who have nothing but praise for the feature film.
In the midst of ongoing skepticism over the exercise of creative license in “Noah,” Paramount Pictures asked media producer and consultant Phil Cooke, a Christian who has publicly touted the film, to produce an explanatory video.
The nearly 8-minute “Noah Featurette” highlights quotes and comments from pastors and faith leaders, alike, who support the project — an effort likely aimed at stymieing continued controversy.
At the start of the clip, “Noah” writer and executive producer Ari Handel described the challenges that Aronofsky’s team faced in taking the Bible story and converting it into a feature film.
Handel said that the Bible provides no real character arc and, thus, no solid sense of “what the characters were thinking and feeling on the inside.”
So, the film crew had to make some distinct choices in presenting emotion among the story’s central characters. While they needed to bring these elements out in the film, Handel said the team was also intent on not contradicting the source text.
The length of the Bible story, of course, led to some of these challenges.
“Noah is such an incredibly short story in the Bible,” said Cooke, who also appears in the video. “It doesn’t take up much space and it leaves a lot to the imagination.”
Gregory Thornbury, president of The King’s College, a Christian school in New York City, said that “Noah” captures what is truly a “horrifying story” about the seriousness of human sinfulness — and that the film dives quite deeply into religious themes.
“It arrests you. The characters are gritty and realistic,” he said in the video. “I really didn’t expect this sort of deep level of moral and theological reflection.”
Addressing some of the critiques that have come against “Noah,” Karen Covell, founder of the Hollywood Prayer Network, said that movies aren’t intended to be viewed in the same light as church sermons.
“Movies aren’t meant to preach. Movie’s aren’t sermons, and so if they can bring up the topic and start conversations, that’s a good movie,” Covell proclaimed. “And this one made me ask questions.”
Watch the video below:
Covell also said that “Noah” may or may not “change lives,” but that the most important thing is what Christians decide to do with the film.
Rather than complaining about extra-biblical contents, some believers have advocated using the movie as a touch point to discuss human sinfulness.
Cooke told TheBlaze earlier this month that there are valid reasons for people of faith to express concern over theological themes, but that some of the criticism has been unfair.
“I have no quarrel with anyone who is concerned about what I would call extra-biblical, or doctrinal issues in the movie,” Cooke said in an email. “I have a Ph.D. in theology, so I get that completely. My biggest problem is the number of people who have negatively reviewed this and other films on blogs and other platforms without ever seeing it.”
Cooke said that it’s problematic to take a stance against something critics haven’t yet viewed — and that such actions and proclamations add to the reasons why secular culture continues to marginalize Christianity.
He also offered advice for believers when it comes to confronting Tinseltown.
“Christians have to stop looking at Hollywood as the enemy, and start reaching out,” he said. “Missionaries have discovered that you don’t change minds by criticism, boycotts or threats. You change minds by developing a relationship and a sense of trust. You work from the inside.”
At the time, Cooke didn’t have an official relationship with Paramount. He told TheBlaze that this business dynamic has now changed with the release of this new video that supports the film.
Note: Greg Thornbury, president of The King’s College, talked about the movie with us on a recent BlazeCast:
Read more about the “Noah” controversy here.