From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creation - C+

Rated PG-13 for some intense thematic material, 108 minutes

You may not believe in this dull "Creation"

Whether team you choose - Team Creation or Team Evolution - you always believe in the power of love, which is the theme of the boring drama "Creation," which is part-biopic on famed scientist Charles Darwin, who penned the theory of evolution, and part love story. The handsome production features warm performances and is remarkably even-handed, but then that may be its chief flaw. It's a rather bland, tedious and depressing effort, which is unfortunate given the compelling subject matter.

"Creation" tells the personal story Darwin's theory of evolution, as written in his famous master-work "The Origin of Species." Darwin (Paul Bettany) and his conservative religious wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) have confounding views, but still manage to be devoted parents to their many children. As Darwin continues to hone his theories, one of his children, the precocious Annie (Martha West) tragically dies at a young age, threatening to tear apart his faith, his ideas and his family.

"Creation" is an affecting but unrevealing portrait of the story behind Darwin's theory of evolution, whose ideas became famous after his "Origin of Species" was published. The highlight of "Creation" is the performances of real-life husband and wife Bettany and Connelly, who share some absorbing scenes together as Charles and Emma and who weather not only differing views on life itself but the death of their beloved young daughter Annie.

The film spends far more time in looking at Darwin's personal life than his actual theories, and while it in fact had impact on his ideas, the film spends little time looking at the actual development of his theories, much of which were already in place by the time the film took place. The devastation of the death of his daughter is perhaps overstated as well, though Bettany, a fine actor seen in the recent horror film "Legion," conveys his agony and illness memorably. Connelly, with less footage than her husband, also shows the finer points of why she's an Academy Award winner, in a more delicate performance.

Director Jon Amiel ("Entrapment") tries to tie all of Darwin's sad life at the end to produce his famous work, though it fails to show the considerable impact it had on his family following its publication, which would've been more dramatic than "Creation's" downbeat script. The film lacks a strong emotional core and could've been far more powerful than what ends up on screen, though Bettany and Connelly are certainly worth seeing.