MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Everyone knows who Charles Darwin was, but few know the family and professional struggles of his personal life. “Creation” tells the story of the man behind “The Origin of the Species.” Paul Bettany plays Darwin as he balances his family’s religious beliefs with his work and deals with the tragic illness of his beloved daughter.
WHAT I LIKED
The best part of “Creation” is the acting. Bettany brings something special to the character, and he plays well off his real-life wife, Jennifer Connelly, who plays Darwin’s wife. Like many period pieces, this film looks fantastic from both a costume and location angle.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Films like “Creation” often serve as a spotlight on an actor, and as much as I did enjoy Bettany’s performance, the film seemed to brood too much around his character. When dealing with a polarizing figure like Charles Darwin, it’s hard to come at the film without an agenda. And while director John Amiel clearly is trying to focus on Darwin the man, he stumbles into religious debates. This is to be expected with a film about Darwin’s work, but the problem falls in the fact that the focus is outside of Darwin’s actual beliefs and becomes more about his emotions.
I can respect a film like “Creation” because of how it tries to fill in the blanks that most people have about Darwin. It just became tedious when focusing on his brittle emotions, often in a non-linear and random sort of way.
The DVD comes with a nice array of special features, including a commentary by director John Amiel and a making-of documentary called “The Battle for Charles Darwin” (which points out how hard it was for the film to secure an American distributor, which is ludicrous to me, considering it released with a whimper). There’s also a seven-part featurette “Digging Deeper Into Darwin” which does a better job coherently examining the man’s personal life than the film itself does.
However, for a science nerd like myself, I found the three part “Debating Darwin” featurette the most interesting. These short videos have several sides of the evolution debate – from a young-earth creationist to an atheist scientist – discuss their stances.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who love watching a good actor act in movie that’s not as good as the performance itself.