Given the very touchy subject matter of Jon Amiel's Creation, many people made a scene before the film's U.S. release. Needless to say that the film was very anticipated up here in Canada. However, Creation fails to live up to its expectations.
The story brings us before the day when English naturalist Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) had decided to send his controversial book On the Origin of Species to a publisher. In his research, Darwin developed a new theory on evolution. He came to the conclusion that there's no such thing as a plan devised by "God" for human beings, animals and the world we live in. Moreover, he added that some species survived through time because they adapted themselves to their environment and are stronger than other creatures surrounding them.
Unfortunately, even before the publication of his book On the Origin of Species, Darwin and many people around him don't see eye to eye. First of all, his very religious wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly), implores him not to send his work to a publisher. Indeed, she fears that her husband will burn in hell. Secondly, Darwin no longer gets along with Reverend John Innes (Jeremy Northam), who believes that the Bible contains the truth about how the world became the world. All in all, as much as he wants to publish his work, Darwin also hesitates to do it.
Even though natural science is not your cup of tea, I don't need to repeat why Darwin is one of the most interesting fathers of modern science as we know it. While some people complained that we learn very few things about how Darwin developed his theories in the first place, the problem is actually somewhere else in the script. By trying to deal with so many aspects of Darwin's life before the publication of On the Origin of Species, the film gave me the feeling that it should have been made into a miniseries. In fact, we get to know about Darwin as a husband, a scientist, a man who visited the New World and, most of all, a father. As a result of that, it's an understatement to say that the controversy around his theory of evolution and his apostasy are explored in a perfunctory way. All in all, in the best world, Creation would have dealt only with Darwin as a scientist and a husband, which are the most interesting facets of the film in my opinion.
Finally, besides being well acted, Creation is certainly a film that sheds a little bit of light in Darwin's life. However, although the film isn't necessarily a masterpiece, it doesn't put its priorities at the right place when it comes to choose what to reveal about Darwin's life. All in all, the film looks like a buffet that tries to please to so many people.
|Screenplay:||Jon Amiel and John Collee|
|Starring:||Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly and Jeremy Northam|