[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Review of Creation

From one of the in house folks at Ain't It Cool News. Ouch

Somewhere in this movie about Charles Darwin and his wife Emma is a great story, but you're going to have to search through miles of extraneous material to get to it in the unnecessarily bloated CREATION, from director John Amiel (SOMMERSBY; COPYCAT). Paul Bettany is quite good as the oft-sickly Darwin who is all-too aware that if he actually pulls together his thoughts and theories on evolution that he would be effectively killing God using science as a weapon. For most scientists, this isn't a problem, but Darwin was not only raised in a religious household, but his wife (Bettany's real wife Jennifer Connelly) is also among the faithful and is caught squarely in the middle of these torn allegiances as much as her husband. But when their eldest daughter becomes terminally ill, Darwin withdraws from his religious roots and turns his attentions to "On the Origin of Species."

The greatest shortcoming of CREATION is that it devotes too much time to subplots, in particular an excessive number of scenes showing Darwin getting treatments for his various ailments. While the scenes are at times horrific, they don't really add anything to the main stories about the scientist's research or his family relationships. CREATION is far from a total failure. Darwin's meetings with other scientists and admirers, including those played by Toby Jones and Jeremy Northam, are really exciting and amusing as they pick apart Darwin's findings and push him to publish and shake the foundation of religion to its core. Martha West plays young Annie Darwin, and the scenes of her being tutored on evolution by her father are exceptional. The two have a wonderfully believable father-daughter chemistry that could have saved this movie were it not for one too many fever-dream sequences.

Once the book is published, much of the story's inherent drama simply evaporates, and what we're left with is a couple simply agreeing to disagree. Fascinating! Maybe that's exactly what happened, but that doesn't make it any more exciting to watch. I'll give CREATION credit where it's due. It's a gorgeous movie to look upon and the performances are all great, but somewhere along the line, Amiel gets lost in his own visual style and he sinks the movie's best dramatic moments. It's a close call, but CREATION doesn't quite evolve into anything worth traveling to go see.