If you’ll pardon the pun, Paramount Pictures made a big splash this week, releasing a theatrical poster and a pair of trailers for Noah, the highly anticipated biblical adaptation by filmmaker Daren Aronofsky (The Fountain). The movie wrapped up filming in 2012, with the intervening time spent crafting the visual effects; if the trailers are any indication, it won’t disappoint in that regard.

With an Academy-Award nominated director and a cast loaded with talented actors (including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, and Emma Watson), Noah is sure to be a major artistic achievement. What is yet to be seen is how the film ultimately will play with religious audiences. Watching the trailers, Paramount is marketing this as a straightforward, uplifting epic which closely follows The Bible. They clearly hope to make big money by appealing to the faithful masses like The Passion of the Christ did.

Word in Tinsletown, however, is that the studio is wrestling with the director over final cut. There are rumors that the film isn’t testing well with Jewish or Christian test audiences; apparently Paramount wants some changes made before the March 28, 2014 release date. Some have said that the film depicts Noah’s drunkenness (Genesis 9:20-25) as being the result of “survivor’s guilt.” There have been reports that the film’s message is about environmentalism, not sin (though the trailers suggest otherwise), that Noah recruits six-armed fallen angels to help him, and that mythological beasts enter the ark along with the other animals.

What the finished product will end up being is anybody’s guess, but the previews suggest a biblical epic with the scale and reverence to match Demille’s The Ten Commandments (and I don’t say that lightly). Here’s hoping. I’ll be following all the news on this, so if you’d like me to keep you in the loop, please “like” my Facebook page. Also, be on the lookout for my review in March!

Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He is the co-host of The KJZZ Movie Show and reviews Hollywood films from a Latter-day Saint perspective at Jonathan’s book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, is now available in paperback and kindle.

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