We were alerted to this by one of our clandestine operatives — code named “Bluegrass” — who knows everything that’s going on in Kentucky. This doesn’t have a lot of laughs, but it’s interesting. It’s a movie review — of all things — published in Variety, which reports show business news. Their headline is Film Review: We Believe in Dinosaurs’.
We wrote about the film when production was just getting started, a bit more than two years ago — see A Documentary About Hambo’s Ark Encounter. Now it’s completed and being shown. We’ll give you some excerpts from the review, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. It begins on a melancholy note:
This summer will see the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It may also provide opportunity to meditate upon the fact that an awed populace back then could hardly have imagined an American near-future in which anti-science sentiments would become so widespread, particularly at the highest levels of a government that once rated NASA as a top priority.
Adding to that discussion is Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown’s documentary “We Believe in Dinosaurs.” Attempting to portray both sides even-handedly (though a principal figure [Ol’ Hambo] presumably refused to be interviewed), it offers not so much a critique as a slightly bemused observation of the Ark Encounter, a Biblical theme park-style attraction in Kentucky designed to promote a creationist rather than scientific view of Earth’s history — which spans about 6,000 years, in this reckoning.
Then they describe the even-handed nature of the film:
The peculiar brand of pseudoscience utilized to provide supporting “evidence” is controversial, needless to say. So is the “separation of church and state” breach many view in such projects getting de facto governmental approval. Often amusing, but never condescending towards either Ark proponents or their equally vocal opponents, this feature should attract interest from various exhibition channels — perhaps particularly abroad, where admittedly it will not do Americans’ current popular image any favors.
So true. Moving along:
The purported $150 million Ark is less than an hour’s drive from the Creation Museum, an attraction also built by Australian-born Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis organization. Legally a nonprofit, AIG nonetheless runs these businesses (as well as numerous ministerial and educative endeavors worldwide), selling them to local authorities as job-generating investments of a purely commercial “entertainment” nature, while on the other hand telling the faithful that they are very much intended to “evangelize.”
There’s nothing new here for our regular readers. We’ll scan through the review to see if there’s something of particular interest. Okay, how about this:
Not least among those [imaginative leaps not found in the Bible] is the depiction of dinosaurs and other extinct (as well as some murkily confabulated) creatures as passengers, since it’s the belief of creationists that fossil-record species simply died during, or shortly after, the Flood. It is also interesting to see the attraction’s PG-13 diorama of the decadence [Gasp!] that triggered God’s watery wrath. There are even animatronic figures used to address such philosophical quandaries as, “Why does a loving God allow so much death and suffering?”
Hambo has some illustrations of decadence? We’re shocked — shocked! Let’s read on:
Without laying on any overt message, “We Believe in Dinosaurs” does definitely suggest that this eccentric collision between faith and secularism, commerce and politics — one that might have seemed wholly outlandish not long ago — is kinda-sorta the direction in which our republic is now headed. [Groan!] Politicians increasingly bend to accommodate religious causes, with judiciary right behind them. Science denial is a trend, whether the motivation is Biblical literalism or simple capitalist greed.
We’re doomed — doomed! Here’s one last excerpt:
We see Ken Ham (who presumably refused to be interviewed by the filmmakers) selling his wares every which way, using whatever terminology will gain acceptance with a particular audience, but always advancing the creationist cause. That the wind is blowing in his direction is underlined by a closing-credits compilation of recent American politicos publicly distancing themselves from (or outright decrying) evolutionary theory.
According to Variety, the success of Hambo’s ark means our whole culture is falling into the slime. It probably seems that way to those who few rational folks who live in Kentucky. But we hope they’re wrong.
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