Evan Almighty is released in the UK today so I thought it was about time I added another post to my series on Noah films.
Creation and Flood is the first entry in the generally excellent Testament: Bible in Animation series by S4C (Wales) and Christmas Films (Russia). Like the similarly titled Bible Collection film Genesis: Creation and Flood (1994) the story of the creation of the world is told by Noah. The creation part of the story and the Noah part of the story use two different styles of animation which not only helps the viewer differentiate between the two interwoven stories, but also split the workload between S4C and Christmas Films. The creation part of the story was created by Christmas films using paint on glass whereas the story of the flood was filmed by S4C using cell animation.
The result is an interesting mix of animation styles although the difference between them is not quite as marked as in The Miracle Maker. As a result it suggests that the two events reflect only marginally different layers of reality.
Unfortunately, this is not one of the stronger entries in the Testament series, with the Noah section being particularly disappointing. There's very little sense of wonder, or desperation in this tale. By cramming it into a half of a thirty minute section there's very little space to develop the story - it never feels like 120 days aboard the ark - that said the similarly-lengthed Disney films are definitely more successful in this regard. Those films also established a trend in animated versions of the Noah story of skipping past the flood's death toll. Here there is at least some mention of it, but once the rains start to fall the rest of humanity is swiftly forgotten.
The creation section of the film is far more successful. The animation is far more impressionistic, at least in places, which makes for more interesting viewing. In particular, the creation of Adam of Eve is handled with great skill. The single figure of Adam somersaults across the screen but appears to land upside down. It quickly becomes apparent that this is a reflection, only for a ripple to destroy the image. When it reforms, the image is different. The camera lifts up to see that Adam has now been joined by Eve.
There's also an interesting treatment of The Fall. This is also very impressionistic. Although the animation is more solid the Genesis account is proceeded by an account of the fall of Satan based on Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. When Satan does appear in the Garden of Eden, he alternates his physical form between a legged serpent and a floating mask.
Perhaps the most significant problem is that the way in which the creation and fall story is introduced disrupts the flow of the tale of Noah. This, combined with the lacklustre presentation of that story, means that by the end of the film, any interest in that part of the narrative has dissipated. Fortunately the Testament series survived its downbeat beginning and went on to achieve greater things.