Free film: Genesis impact

Docudrama
68 minutes / 2020
RATING: 7/10

This is a very good…something. The topic matter is plain enough – human origins – but what’s less clear is whether this is a documentary or drama.

The beginning is standard documentary: apologist Ray Comfort, just off camera, interviewing college students about their views on evolution.

But when the camera pulls back we discover these interviews are actually a smartphone’s 3-D holographic projections being viewed by a teen boy sitting on the edge of his couch (presumably a decade or two into the future seeing as there’s no app for that quite yet). When mom wanders by to put away groceries, he shares his doubts about whether God really did create in just six days. “What if they’re right, and we’re wrong?” he asks, “I mean, the scientific evidence for evolution is pretty overwhelming. What if God…used evolution?” To answer his questions, mom takes us through another scene change, shifting back 20 years to modern day when she was still in school, listening to an origins lecture at a Natural History museum. When the speaker concludes and most of the other students leave the auditorium, the young mom-to-be stays behind to question, and eventually debate, the scientist/lecturer. That’s where we stay, along with a few student stragglers, listening to a well-reasoned critique of the lecturer’s evolutionary presentation. While Genesis Impact hardly has a plot, it still has plenty of drama as evolution and creationist go head-to-head over the next hour.

Genesis Impact shouldn’t be evaluated as a drama though. The acting is fine – solid enough not to get in the way, and better than many a Christian drama – but the young lady is far too knowledgeable, and the evolutionist lecturer far too reasonable (readily conceding her every good point) to be realistic. Fortunately, the filmmakers’ goal isn’t realism. They wanted to present a challenging, highly educational lecture on a pivotal topic, and they wanted to deliver it in a really unique and entertaining manner. Mission accomplished!

Caution

While the topic matter is the sort you might want to share with an atheist friend, that this is a staged debate – an acted out debate – provides the “out” any skeptic would take to dismiss it entirely, arguing that a real evolutionist would have had better responses, or wouldn’t have conceded so many points. So one caution would be that this isn’t one to win over an unsympathetic or hostile audience.

Conclusion

What makes it valuable is that the creationist critique is a really good one. Evolutionary proofs aren’t so overwhelming as it seems, with guesses built on assumptions, stacked atop beliefs. Secular science presents their conclusions as being unassailable, though sometimes the hype is as much the fault of the media as the scientists. Even when researchers couch their guesswork with phrases like “could be” and “might” and “probably” the media is likely to trumpet “Evidence of life has been found on Mars!” in 36-point front-page headlines.  Still, the same sort of unwarranted certainty can be found in Natural History displays, and in university classrooms, so evolutionary arrogance isn’t simply a mainstream media invention.

Who should see Genesis Impact? It’s best suited for bible-believing Christians who are interested in, or troubled by, evolutionary accounts. It’ll be an encouragement and could serve as a leap-off point for further study. The depth of the material discussed also means this is best suited for college-age and up.

You can watch it for free below, and visit the film’s website to dig deeper: GenesisApologetics.com/Impact.

Movie Review: A courtroom drama, a romance, and a battle over creation vs. evolution

ALLEGEDAlleged
Drama / Romance
93 minutes; 2011
Rating: 8 / 10

Dayton, Tennessee is a small town in 1925, and too small for local reporter Charles Anderson who wants to make a big name for himself by going to the big city and working for legendary Baltimore Sun editor H.L. Mencken. His fiancee and coworker Rose is rooting for him, and when a legal battle in the town’s courtroom garners attention from the national media, it looks like Charlie may have just the news story he needs to grab Mencken’s attention.

Only, things don’t go quite how he was expecting. He does get Mencken’s attention, who is even willing to teach Charlie how to craft a news story. But this close-up tutelage lets Charlie see that his mentor won’t let a little something like the truth get in the way of a good story. Mencken is more than willing to make up a story if it will sell papers. Is Charlie willing to go that far to land the job he’s been dreaming of?

Setting

Though Charlie Anderson is fictional, the story’s setting is true. In 1925 an anti-evolution law that forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools was challenged in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged with violating the law by teaching his students about Charles Darwin’s theory.

The “Scopes Monkey Trial” pitted creationists vs. evolutionists and enlisted big name “stars”: the Scripture-quoting, Bible-believing, 3-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution; and for the defense, Clarence Darrow, infamous for his defense of two indefensible child-killing clients. These big names got the attention of one other: Baltimore Sun editor H. L. Mencken. His columns largely influenced how the trial was perceived by the public – while the creationists won the court case, Mencken made sure that the evolutionists won the publicity battle.

Cautions

The film is excellent, with only a few cautions to consider.

First, Charlie is drunk as a skunk in one scene, though his fiancee’s disappointment and disapproval makes this an object lesson in the idiocy of drinking to excess, so there’s not too much to object to on that point.

Also one character shouts “Hallelujah!” insincerely in a church service.

I should add, because the film teaches about the implication of Darwinian thought, there is a subplot that deals with eugenics. This is a topic that our older children need to learn about, but is also too much information for a younger audience that doesn’t yet need to know how horrible the world can be.

Conclusion

This isn’t the first film to depict the Scopes Monkey Trial. Three decades later the events of the trial were again fictionalized as a play (1955) which was then adapted to film as Inherit the Wind (1960). Both the play and the film presented creationists as ignorant, foolish, bigoted and even bloodthirsty (Inherit the Wind has the townspeople threatening to burn John Scopes!) and because the film was shown to generations of American public school children it has had a lasting impact on the way the creation/evolution debate is conducted. It can be given much of the credit for why creationist arguments are assumed to be ignorant and more often mocked than answered.

Alleged is an enjoyable counter to Inherit the Wind, presenting a much more accurate account of the trial. It could be enjoyed as an above average Christian romance, but the setting makes this more than a fun little film. The historical importance of this event means this is a film for just about anyone. It is educational and informative, yes, but also fun, romantic, generally light, and quite well acted. Highly recommend for older teens and adults it is available at Amazon.ca. This review was first published on www.ReelConservative.com.