Ooops! Noah is Gone... full movie review - Creationism vs. Evolution
The movie is visually engaging and often funny, and it's for these reasons that our 9, 10 and 11-year-old seemed to enjoy it. But the 14-year-old laughed "at it," not "with it." Here's why, I think.
While in no overtly way religious, this is a Noah's Ark story, so by definition it's a biblical story. What's amazing about All Creature Big and Small is the implausibility of it all. The basic setup is that Noah subcontracts who's "on" and "off" the Ark. The Lion - a spitting image of The Lion King, who - first decrees that omnivores can't eat herbivores. Then he gets the final say over what animals can and can't board the Ark. (As for Noah himself: like all humans, he's conspicuously absent throughout movie.) After the flood eventually comes, some on the "out list" stowaway aboard the Ark. So far, standard kids fare.
One creature excluded from boarding the Ark, Finny, is a constantly-worried pessimist while his daughter, Hazel, is a silver-lining optimist. All this proceeds entertainingly enough. But when push comes to shove toward the end of the movie and their lives are imminently threatened, things fall apart. The pessimist learns the value of trust and kinship, while the optimist comes to appreciate the value of force and decisiveness. But rather than leaving things there, the movie makers decide to moralize the story, metamorphosing the now-extinct species into one fit for the post-flood world. The problem, of course, is that evolution - at least as it's currently understood - does not affect a single generation but rather occurs over thousands, if not millions, of years.
On the surface, this deus ex machina is a simple contrivance to create a happy ending for all (excepting the villains of the story). But more deeply it seems to suggest not only that Creationism and Evolution each have their merits, but also that they are not mutually exclusive of one another. How? By force-fitting a "happy ending," allowing *all* creatures great and small (except the most minor and villainous) to survive.
The means by which they survive is wrapped up in their silly (and inexplicably previously-unrecognized) abilities: breathing under water, farting or squirting a noxious fluid, or an oversized slug turning into a whale. These creatures evolve within a single generation, a resolution that is neither satisfying nor plausible. No one we care about dies. Instead,
I suspect that it was not the producer's intention, but by fictionalizing the story of the non-fittest animals, they debase the entire argument of Creationism. So instead of crafting a story in which Creationism and Evolution could plausibly co-exist, by relying on inexplicable Acts of God, the movie debases the prior ideology while making a mockery of the latter.
The movie evades death - particularly the death of a species - in its wrong-headed portrayal of natural selection as something that can redeem an individual life, rather than that which governs the continued existence of a species. Though clearly anti-scientific, the movie might be forgiven as mindless entertainment for kids. The net impact for adults, however, is that in attempting to appeal to both Creationists/Individualists and Evolutionists/Collectivists, neither narrative is coherent.
For some such beliefs in life, there can be no viable middle ground.