(Photo: CBS video screenshot)
Evangelist Ray Comfort released "Noah – And the Last Days" days before the upcoming Hollywood epic starring Russell Crowe hits theaters. Comfort maintains that his version is "based on truth."
"Hollywood's [version] is listed as 'fantasy, while ours is based on the truth," Comfort contended. "Theirs is entertainment that will cost you. Ours is life-changing and will be freely available on YouTube."
The 30-minute "documovie" by Living Waters Publications features man-on-the-street interviews, with many saying they don't believe the biblical account of Noah and the ark is real. Comfort makes the case for the ark and compares the days of Noah and the flood to the 21st century.
"We hope people will watch 'Noah – And the Last Days' to learn the biblical reason God sent a worldwide Flood and be able to share these truths with those who see the Hollywood version," said Comfort. "Rather than providing mere entertainment, we want viewers to consider whether the biblical warning of Noah applies to them today."
Some Christians have objected to what they see as unbiblical themes in "Noah," directed by Darren Aronofsky and set to be released on March 28. But the filmmakers of "Noah" and many Christians who have seen the film have defended it, saying that although it takes artistic license, it stays true to the "essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," as the disclaimer by Paramount Pictures states.
Producer and filmmaker Phil Cooke, founder and chief executive officer of Cooke Pictures, maintained, "Sin is evident in the film, God's saving grace is evident in the film."
Air Handel, co-writer of the film, noted that adhering to the biblical account of Noah was a "very important" point for the filmmakers.
"It was very important to us to do two things at the same time: one was to not do anything which contradicted the letter of the text, and the second was wherever we could – without contradicting Genesis – we wanted to break expectations. So we went very deep," Handel stated.
Other stars in film, including Emma Watson, who plays Noah's adopted daughter Ila, insisted that Aronofsky treated the material with great sensitivity.
"I think with any text there is always artistic license, you're always looking at someone's specific interpretation of it," Watson told Sky News in an interview on Monday.
"And I think Darren has tried to be very sensitive, he has tried to be very mindful. He didn't take the task lightly, it's a very inclusive piece and I think it is very true to the spirit and the themes of the biblical story."
Crowe stated that the filmmakers "fully expected" the controversy.
"A lot of people think they know the story but what they recall is children's stories from Sunday school and not what the Bible says," Crowe said last week.
"This story is contained in every religious text. Noah is in the Qu'ran. People from all over the world outside of religion have flood mythology. In my eyes, Noah is just a normal man and, as he begins to realize the full weight of the task he's been given, it weighs down on him."
Cooke has urged believers to go see the film and form their own opinions.
"I've been on the set. I've talked to the Chairman of the Studio, as well as the producer, director, set designer, and even the star - Russell Crowe. Not once did I ever get the feeling they were anything but serious," Cooke commented.
"They didn't mock the story, went to great lengths to get the ark built to exact Biblical measurements, and did an amazing amount of research."