When Darren Aronofsky announced his latest project, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be gripping cerebral drama. Following on the heels of Black Swan or Requiem for a Dream, he decided to make a film called Noah (2014), about the bible story with the ark and the flood (you might have heard of it). I was amused to read about people puzzling over his odd choice of subject matter, particularly UK Empire magazine, as well they might. Aronofsky takes a few liberties with the story, and some religious groups were angered by this, while others were not convinced by the films environmental message. What was he thinking?
Welcome to the new trend for faith-based films coming out of Hollywood.
The rumour is that Hollywood is targeting it’s home audience, the heartland being a very Christian place, say sights like Fox News and The Daily Beast. The market is there for moviegoers who want to see big blockbusters epics, but they are also tempting in a faith based crowd who might not otherwise see them. It seems to be thought that Hollywood is running out of comic book characters, and is turning to mining the Bible. And, to be fair, if the script is good, and not divisive, why not? You don’t have to buy the rights to make a movie based around a Bible story, that’s a selling point, and most people have heard of the stories, so it’s accessible.
And yet, to me this seems to be missing some crucial point that I can’t quite lay my finger on. For years people shied away from making these films, and now they have a strong market for them again, why is that? What is going on in the world at large, what social trends I mean, that are making people search for more literal spiritual meaning in films again? I do not care to speculate, and don’t have enough information to, but I find this very interesting.
So, look out in 2015 for Ridley Scots Exodus: Gods and Kings, Sony’s Redemption of Cain, LD Entertainments Resurrection, MGM’s remake of Ben Hur, Lionsgate’s Mary, and Warner Brothers Pontius Pilate, as well as loads more. They’re attracting some really big star power, and I’m curious to see how these films play out, and whether they have a strongly religious tone or are more historical.