Last weekend during the trailers before the unoriginal new young adult dystopian flick Divergent there was a new trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah. It began with Emma Watson telling us we were about to see a preview of her new movie and she really hoped we liked it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did something similar for his directorial debut, Don Jon, and it irritated me then just as much as it did here. What's the purpose of this? To get our attention from fiddling with our phones or rustling our bags of popcorn? To make us be more prone to see their new film because they asked so nicely? All it does for me is make me think there's something wrong with their film that for some reason results in them begging for me to view it. At the end of the trailer, however, was something far more egregious. Flashing on the screen slightly too fast for you to really read it was what appeared to be a disclaimer about the film being a version of the story of Noah and that one should refer to Genesis for the true story. Here is what the disclaimer said in full:
"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."
The essence, values, and integrity contained in a story about the slaughter of millions or billions of people by starvation, drowning, disease, or other violent means? A story which leaves only a handful of survivors floating in a massive boat built by a 500 year old man that contains two of every animal (including dinosaurs according to some since the Earth is only several thousand years old and they have those pesky fossils to consider)? No problem. Fair enough and I'm with you!
Consider this an official announcement that I'm demanding a disclaimer from New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros., and WingNut Films be placed after the trailer for their upcoming trilogy capping film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which is an interpretation of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. In fact, this disclaimer also needs to be placed before the film itself and all future home video releases of all six films which encompass both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series. I think something like this will suffice:
"The film is inspired by the story of Bilbo Baggins. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of fantasy for millions of people worldwide. The canonical story of Bilbo can be found in the book of The Hobbit."
In fact, why stop there? I would like the following disclaimer to be placed in front of all future releases of George Lucas' Star Wars prequels:
"The film is inspired by the story of the Skywalker family. While artistic integrity has been nearly completely abandoned, we believe that this film is true to the essence, value$, and poetry of a story that is a cornerstone of science-fiction for millions of people worldwide. The preferred story of the Skywalkers can be found in the film Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (directed by Irvin Kershner.)"
All kidding aside, shame on Paramount Pictures for bowing to the bullying of religious groups such as Focus On The Family and Faith Driven Consumer. Including this disclaimer gives legitimacy to the bullies and to a fictional story which there is no scientific evidence to support and sets a dangerous and irresponsible precedent. Paramount Pictures should also be ashamed for aligning themselves with the groups I mentioned above. Aside from various ploys to play up the victim role, both also spread anti-gay propaganda under the guise of "Christian values" on their websites (of course on FOTF's website the first page immediately grants you the option to make a one-time or monthly monetary donation.) FOTF's website includes an offensive video called "Homosexuality and Change" in which two people talk about how nobody is born gay and someone can stop being gay through various means. This kind of thinking has contributed to countless suicides by people who were pressured to change who they are lest they never fit into someone else's narrow minded view of human sexuality. FDC has an article about how readers should reconsider donating to Christian charity World Vision simply because they've decided to allow same-sex marriage amongst their employees.
This disgusts me. The same groups offended enough by a fictional film based on a fictional story to threaten boycotts have no problem being truly offensive by promoting ideas which hurt our progression as a society. During an age where more information then ever is literally at everyone's finger tips we continue to be bogged down in arguments and propaganda driven by believers of superstitious fallacies that support the marginalizing of anyone who doesn't conform to their out-dated ignorant views. Specifically related to the film industry, this is a year where we seem to be getting several religious based films getting a major push. Meanwhile, good films about great discoveries important to our species continuing to challenge known facts and explore the unknown like Particle Fever barely register since they don't have big dollar machines or major studios behind them.
I will be refusing to see Noah despite my admiration of director Darren Aronofsky because of this weak-willed move by Paramount and urge others to do the same. Personally, I will not give a dime to any film supported by groups which support hate and anti-science under the guise of family values.