This weekend at the box office offers one of the greatest cinematic showdowns in Hollywood history. In one corner is a supreme being, whose presence and influence is a constant in the lives of millions. And going up against Arnold Schwarzenegger is God. Should be fun.
Arnold’s been having a rough go of it since he got out of politics and returning to Hollywood full-time. If it’s not an Expendables movie, people just don’t seem to care anymore; The Last Stand and Escape Plan couldn’t even muster $40 million combined. The truth is Arnold’s become a nostalgia act, and there just ain’t enough of us willing to indulge in our fond memories to make his films hits anymore. So Sabotage could be chock full of good old-fashioned Schwarzenegger goodness, but that’s not an instant draw anymore. People prefer a shambling, almost accidental action star like Liam Neeson to a muscle-bound Superman these days. Not that I’m not interested in seeing Sabotage; I’m just keeping expectations at the B-movie level. Which, honestly, Arnold could do a lot worse than.
Meanwhile, we’ve got Darren Aronofsky giving the book of Genesis the Lord of the Rings treatment. Noah conjures up a lot more back story than the Lord Almighty put into the Bible, basically turning the story into a fantasy epic. Depending on how much credence you give the Bible, you may have thought it was an epic fantasy already, and there are some of the faithful who will undoubtedly take issue with giving Noah’s story that sort of fictional sheen. But hey, if you think it actually happened, what can it hurt to get the story out there? And if you don’t, why not treat the Bible with the same amount of elaboration we give to Greek and Roman myths? Whatever the results of Noah are, they’re bound to not be boring; Aronofsky knows what he’s doing, and if he can make ballet and wrestling into gripping films, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
And who knows? If it makes money, maybe we’ll get Noah 2. I’d sure like to see him try to get all those animals back out of the ark.