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Movie Review: Creation

Alternate Title: Survival of the Fittest

Story: 2009 was the 150th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Origin of Species' and the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and yet this new British film about Charles Darwin has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film's producer. Say what? Yes, it seems that his seminal publication about evolution is still a hot potato issue in these wacky, crazy United States. That alone is reason for you to go out to see this film - if you can find it in your area.

This biopic focus' on the years immediately preceding publication of his ideas. Thoughtfully directed by Jon Amiel and written by John Collee it is based on the book “Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, his Daughter, and Human Evolution ” by Randal Keynes, a great, great grandson of Charles Darwin.

Darwin feared that the publication of his book would effectively kill God. As we all know, that did not happen, but the more Darwin came to believe his theories the more certain he was that it was of the utmost importance to share his ideas with the world. The agony of bringing his book to publication is the heart of this film. It purports to show his struggle with his faith, his marriage and the deep grief over his 10 year old daughter Annie's death.

Truth be told, I would have preferred more scenes about his voyages on the HMS Beagle, but this film is not about those travels. Much of the film is shot between two time sequences. The so-called present and the time before his daughter dies. Much of the film shows Darwin's inner struggle to write his tome.

However, there are some very cool scenes showing growth and decay in the natural world and Darwin's belief that the natural world is cruel, harsh and constantly evolving to make way for the fittest. The film is a thoughtful homage to a great man and I recommend your seeing it -if you can somehow find it.

In celebrating Darwin's 200th birthday check out The Daily Show's Best Evolution Moments. http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/2009/02/12/the-daily-shows-best-evolution-moments/

For those that are Darwin loyalists, the Complete Works of Charles Darwin can now be found on line. http://darwin-online.org.uk/

One more site all about Darwin here: http://www.aboutdarwin.com/index.html

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3VOa2F_BzM

Acting: Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin is believably anguished and tortured. Jennifer Connelly as wife, Emma Darwin is just right for this role. Jeremy Northam as Reverend Innes, does an admirable job. Young Martha West as little Annie Darwin is terrific.

Trivia: Paul Bettany has been married to Jennifer Connelly since 2003. They met on the set of 'A Beautiful Mind.' Jennifer Connelly grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, except for the four years her family spent in Woodstock, New York.

Predilection: Charles Darwin is one of my heroes.

Critters: Oh my. All manner of creature from the wee maggot to the magnificent orangutan.

Food: I do not recall anyone eating anything.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Dramatically appropriate.

Opening Titles: A lovely sequence with Darwin telling a story of his adventures to Tierra Del Fuego to his darling daughter Annie.

Visual Art: A fine depiction of 1859 England.

Theater Audience: About 20 of the fittest.

Weather: It is England. We get to see all kinds of weather.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: If you accept the notion that the natural world is cruel you will not squirm.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I cried over the cutest orangutan called Jenny.

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Soap Box: Don't get me started on the Creationists.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 7.5