Seiler on Science

Thoughts on the history of science, with a special focus on the relationship between religion and science through history, all coming from an Objectivist perspective. ("Seiler" is pronounced "Sy-ler")

Location: Virginia, United States

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creation Movie a Melodramatic Mess

Today I saw the movie "Creation" -- the biopic about Darwin that I mentioned in my last post. It was a real disappointment. The overwhelming focus of the movie is on Darwin's physical and mental suffering, which for me got really tiring to watch. A major event in Darwin's life was the death of his favorite daughter Annie at the age of ten, and this contributed to Darwin's turn away from religion. Consequently, in the movie Darwin is shown as constantly talking to a ghost or a hallucination of Annie, and at certain points this just goes too far for me. It makes Darwin seem almost psychotic, which he was certainly not.

To be fair to the movie, I must point out some positive points. The acting on the part of Paul Bettany is very good, and there are a number of beautifully done scenes, such as the one where he plays with the chimpanzee. But overall I have to agree with the words of the Washington Post review, which says that the movie "drowns in its own melodrama." My final complaint is that there are many scenes done in that headache-inducing jiggly-camera style.

The Darwin movie that you should watch
Charles Darwin was a major hero in the history of science, and it is worthwhile to learn about his life. The good news is that there is a Darwin biopic that I can recommend. It is "Darwin's Darkest Hour," produced by National Geographic in 2009. You can find more information about it here.

A positive review of the Creation movie was posted by Jason Rosenhouse here. He makes some good comments relating to the movie's treatment of religion. I agree with him that the movie has the right attitude toward Christianity. But for me, the central focus on Darwin's suffering led to my overall negative estimate of the movie.