Friday, September 18, 2009

Creation and the creationist boogeyman!

You might remember earlier this week, I was ranting about the producers of Jon Amiel's new film Creation about Charles Darwin. Seems the film hasn't yet been picked up for distribution in the U.S., and the producers were blaming the creationist controversy for scaring away distributors. I thought that claim was nonsense, especially since so very many controversial films get picked up for distribution. Conservative Christians don't determine what you see in theaters; the almighty dollar does. If there's a buck to be made, some company will distribute it.

Not surprisingly, though, there were plenty of (gullible) people who fell for the ruse, but to my delight, several thoughtful commentators saw through the silliness. Over at Newsweek, Sarah Ball points out that "Even Paul Bettany Can't Make Charles Darwin Sexy" (great title). Her point? It's a period drama that's not likely to make much money, and in this economy, distributors want a sure thing to send to the theaters. Very clever. The New York Times has a piece on the difficulty of finding distributors for movies other than just Creation, which would back up her claim.

Over at New York Magazine, Dan Kois was even more clever:
We asked the film's publicists if the producers could provide any evidence to back up the claim and were told, "They remain optimistic that they will get U.S. distribution and are working hard to make that happen."
What a surprise. No evidence, just hot air.

My favorite piece was by Katey Rich at CinemaBlend.com, who dared to ask, "Are Creationists Hurting Creation, Or Is It Just No Good?" She points out that the critical response to the movie was tepid at best, but the producers "won't admit that anything could possibly be wrong with their movie, so they're blaming creationists instead." Creationists make "a handy boogeyman."

So, is anyone still convinced that I, a creationist, have the power to dictate what you see at the movies? If so, you're giving me far more power than I actually have. But hey, if you want me to dictate movie selections, I'd be glad to do it. We'll start by bringing Creation (and some Kurosawa) to a theater near me and getting rid of junk like Transformers 2. You're welcome.

On one final happy note, while searching for stories on Creation's distribution, I stumbled across a genuinely intelligent and accurate piece on Darwin's religious views written by Nick Spencer at the Guardian of all places. Read it. It's pretty good.