Creation

Rating- ***

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On The Origin of Species, one of the most important, revolutionary, and (inexplicably still) one of the most controversial publications in human history. Anyone who doubts that, note that Creation has only just secured a US distributor……… you’ve got to laugh or you’d end up crying. But this film doesn’t actually concern itself with evolution in depth. Instead it’s a mini biopic which chronicles the small period of Darwin’s life where he actually wrote the book. With echoes of A Beautiful Mind, it reveals the intense anxiety he suffered, exacerbated by family tragedy and poor health. Nice performances, and some effective fantasy imagery (ever wanted to see a pickled fetus cry?) ensure this works as a solid drama. Though I can’t escape the feeling that it could have been so much more. With such huge shoes to fill, I suppose that classic summary “the book was better” was always a cruel inevitability for the makers of Creation. I’m not making that as a serious comparison but I’m still slightly underwhelmed. Despite enjoying the films content, it’s what’s missing that causes frustration.

The release coincides nicely with Darwin’s bicentenary. It would serve as a fine introduction to the subject for school children, to see the tangible human issues behind the theory. But I suppose I was expecting the film to focus more on Darwin’s epic global voyage on The Beagle, where he would first make the observations which spawned his revolutionary theories. That side of things has always appealed to me greatly. From the age of four I was hooked on Attenborough and had already decided to be a zoologist or wildlife cameraman. I even wrote to him to express my bold plans (ok my Dad probably helped address the envelope). Sure enough he wrote back, and I still have the framed letter “from the desk of Sir David Attenborough” This is the kind of giddy enthusiasm I was hoping to see represented in Creation. Wading through ponds and hedgerows with wellington boots and a bucket of fish, frogs, newts, and anything else that crawls will always be a fond memory. Darwin had the unique privilege to undertake this duty on remote coral atoll’s or tropical forests in the shadow of active volcanoes. Creation pretty much lacks any trace of this excitement, and what remains is ironically, vestigial.

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~ by thewholebuffalo on September 28, 2009.

One Response to “Creation”

  1. I went to see it on Saturday, with little to no knowledge of what the film was exactly about. I actually found it refreshing to see a different side to this frequently covered book/genius (I think I’ve watched 5+ documentaries about On The Origin Of Species in a couple of months!)

    So for me it was the story and performances that really stuck in my mind, not so much the broader subject at hand.

    “suppose that classic summary “the book was better””

    Do you mean OTOS or the book the film is based on called “Annie’s Box”?!

    It also brought to light the fact the theory was actually born out of years and years of work and painstaking personal conflict(s), and not the “Eureka” moment on a trip to the Galápagos Islands, as is so often mistaken!

    JB

    ****

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