My review copy of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Video edition includes a trio of extras comprising an hour-long making-of featurette in three 20-minute chapters.
Chapter 1, “Iceland: Extreme Beauty,” is about the filming of the prediluvian world in the mountainous lava deserts of Iceland.
Chapter 2, “The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits,” documents the building of the ark exterior in a Long Island arboretum, and the challenges of filming the great battle and rain scenes.
And the somewhat misleadingly named chapter 3, “The Ark Interior: Animals Two by Two,” does not in fact deal with the animals (most if not all of which are computer-generated), but with building the interior of the ark in an armory in Brooklyn.
All three extras are the usual blend of behind-the-scenes footage and talking-head interviews: most of it interesting, with occasional eye-opening insights and occasional dull patches.
I like the idea that Iceland, being geologically one of the planet’s youngest land-masses, is especially appropriate for portraying the prediluvian world in a way that a more typical Bible-movie desert landscape is not. On the other hand, the filmmakers take a lighthearted interest in Icelandic fairies, perhaps to reassure less pious viewers that this isn’t, like, some kind of faith-based film or something. In part 3 co-writer Ari Handel has some interesting things to say about the story’s biblical themes.
Probably the most striking section deals with the challenges of filming the rain sequence at the ark exterior location. The crew set up an enormous rain machine over the ark, with lighting gear over them so that they could shoot at night to control the lighting. Unsurprisingly, they made movie history by churning out more water in a single shot than any other movie in history.
For human interest, you can’t beat Aronofsky’s cute reunion with the seventh-grade teacher for whom he wrote his award-winning poem about Noah.