Sunday, February 1, 2009

Evolution inspiring art

Following up from the previous post, Darwin and his ideas certainly have been the subject of art (as opposed to influencing art). Darwin-related books and films with which I'm familiar:

-Famous Hollywood movie Inherit the Wind, about the Scopes trial

-Angels and Insects, an A. S. Byatt novella about a young Victorian naturalist not unlike a young Darwin, who falls in love with the daughter of his upper-class patron. The Victorian family dynamic is compared/contrasted with the dynamics of the ant colonies the naturalist is studying. A very good read, highly recommended. The book was made into a film of the same title which is well-worth seeking out, as it sticks very close to the book and is equally good.

-A Darwin biopic is slated for release this year: Creation (working title: Annie's Box). The film will focus on the tensions between Darwin's scientific ideas and his family life. The film is based on the Darwin biography Annie's Box. Paul Bettany will play Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly will play his wife Emma; they've both been in a bunch of movies you've heard of. Jon Amiel (Sommersby, and more unfortunately, The Core and The Man Who Knew Too Little) directs a script by John Collee (Master and Commander). The release date was supposed to be Feb. 12, but has been pushed back to Sept. 25 (see, which makes me wonder a little if it will end up being released at all (or maybe the studio thinks it's so good they want to set it up for Oscar buzz...)

-I was once given Mr. Darwin's Shooter as a gift but never read it (though I tried really hard). It's a literary novel told from the point of view of the boy assigned to serve as Darwin's shooter on the Beagle (i.e. it was his job to shoot whatever animals Darwin wanted collected). The boy is religious and has qualms about helping Darwin do science. Anyway, to borrow a line from Anthony Lane, I found the book so finely written as to be unreadable (it reads somewhat like Moby-Dick). But maybe that was just me.

-No, Planet of the Apes does not count as a movie about evolution. Nor does Jurassic Park. ;-)

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