We need to talk about this now. Charles Darwin has officially become a product of Hollywood. This movie is no small matter; both stars who plays Charles and Emma Darwin are, at least in my opinion, pretty big deals. The plot and trailer evince it as semi-epic filled with love, conflict, and elaborate costumes. I mean, after taking this class, I think it is mandatory that I watch this film. However, I would have to wait until September as well as make a trip back to England in order to do so, making the endeavor a little difficult. For now, I'll look at how the film's promoted package Darwin to appeal to pop culture.
The website where I found it emphasizes, by stating first, that the movie was made with heavy guidance from an actual Darwin descendant, Randal Keynes. With such a source, the website heavily suggest that the movie closely adheres to truth. Being a film, I know that dramatization of real events is expected but to what extent, I was curious.
With just a brief glance through, I noticed several aspects of the film's presentation and promotion that bother me.
At the forefront, I feel that knowing what I know now, the film's title, Creation, rouses ideas and notions that skews the details I learned about the Darwin and his work. It suggests that a bulk of Darwin's work and life was dedicated to studying how we were created or in other words, our origin. It challenges Darwin's historic association with Evolution. As stated in class, his work never answered or addressed the title of his own book 'Origin of Species'; Darwin, we learned, was more interested in natural selection and the means by which species carry on traits to survive. Additionally, the title 'Creation' reels in thought of Creationism. I am bothered by this because if this film is really about Darwin, then it should know that Darwin's work and Darwin the man did not seek to directly deal with or challenge Creationism. Perhaps the movie really intends to focus on Darwin's struggle with religion. Or, maybe --since the debate surrounding Darwin, Evolution and Creation has historically roused strong emotions that still carry forth today-- they aim to rouse the attention and emotions of both Darwin enthusiasts and the religious fundamentalists alike and capture a larger audience. Anyway, I think by titled the film 'Creation,' the films marketers are purposely and successfully invoking some emotions to increase the film's allure.
Furthermore, as a potential audience member, I am getting really strong mixed messages about what the film is about. The title hardly seems to fit with what the blurb details is the movie focus --the relationship between Darwin and his daughter Anne. Then, the bulk of images shown in the trailer focuses in on Darwin and Emma and what potentially could be a torrid and scandalous battle between love and beliefs --though no epic backgammon games were featured. The site leaves me confused as to what to expect from the film as it tries to get at too many topics at once.
Ultimately, regardless of my own criticisms, I definitely want to see the movie, if not to better understand how Darwin is seen in today's pop culture, then to laugh, cry, and be on the edge of my seat in a theater.