Movie Review - The Mysterious Islands

2009The Erwin Brothers

The Mysterious Islands was a film made by a group of men who had two purposes: to glorify God and to discredit Darwinism. One is a purpose we were all created for, and all equipped for. The other is a purpose that is unique to our era, and one that though required of almost as many people as the first, we are not all prepared to take on. Darwinism is a sizable enemy. However, science is a sizable ally. Scientist Dr. John Morris, father and son Doug and Joshua Phillips, and filmmaker Jon Erwin, are going to introduce us to both.

However, overtly Christian nature documentaries do not have to or rely solely on the historical or scientific information to hold an audience’s interest. The Mysterious Islands, in its overview of the biology, geology and history of the Galapagos Islands, presents an hour and a half rich with color, beauty, and variety. Sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins, cormorants, giant tortoises—everything from schools of sharks to Darwin’s celebrated finches is captured in undaunted action, and explained with unflagging enthusiasm. But, like any good documentary, The Mysterious Islands doesn’t just capture the landscape and wildlife and state interesting facts about them; it uses those facts to support the belief system of the filmmakers.

This is where The Mysterious Islands excelled. By rejoicing in the wonders of creation it unabashedly praises Jesus Christ as the Creator. By giving undeniable historical facts and quotes about Charles Darwin, it discredits him as a respectable naturalist, as an unbiased observer, or as an innocent man. By arguing against Darwinism through indisputable probability equations, the clear evidence against the reliability of radioisotope dating methods, and multiple proofs positive of the impossibility of the evolutionist model based on internal inconsistencies, The Mysterious Islands clears the creation account in Genesis of its most fearsome libel. And by upholding the first chapters of the Bible as scientifically sound, it gives an uncompromised foundation for all the chapters that come after.

The message of The Mysterious Islands is wonderfully holistic, and it is sound. Released on the two hundredth anniversary year of Darwin’s birth, and the two hundred and fiftieth of the publication of his infamous “On the Origins of the Species”—filmed on the very islands that gave evolution its feet—this historic film, put together by scientists and families, presents the story of Darwin’s worldview, its flaws and results. But more than that, it presents a stirring message of the joys and benefits of a reasonable faith in God’s inerrant Word. It is faithful to science, to history, and to the biblical commandments to go into all the world making disciples, to bring their own children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to remind their descendants of what God has done for them.

The Mysterious Islands also speaks of death, reminding us what sin has done in the world. Images of lifeless and decaying animals create an appropriate visual backdrop to evolution’s emphasis on death as the means by which the species, and the races, will be perfected. Describing the atrocities perpetrated by those who took Darwinism to its logical conclusion, the narrator speaks of the death, butchery and boiling of one set of human beings by another. Relatively mild Holocaust photos may be too much for some young children… but then, so might the salt-spitting Galapagos marine iguanas. Hemophobiacs may dislike seeing shark bait—blood—dripping from a man’s finger.

In the case of a documentary as useful as The Mysterious Islands, there is no question as to the rating. And, after earning a Recommendable just for the apologetics information, it goes on to be one of the most engaging nature programs to be found—lacking only the occasional helicopter shot, I believe, to rival National Geographic. In serving the distinct though related Kingdom purposes of glorifying God and discrediting Darwinism within the same film, I am skeptical as to whether The Mysterious Islands has a rival at all.


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