Judge David Johnson has cracked the Genesis Code and the answer is: Wooden.
What if both science and faith are real?
It's an earnest attempt: crafting a Christian-centric film and tackling the question of origins, creation, and Genesis chronology head-on. Alas, "earnestness" is not one of the categories we assign numerical grades to on this site.
Facts of the Case
College hockey star Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) seemingly has it all: good looks, a promising sports career, and gravity-defying hair. But inside he's a mess, dealing with some serious family drama. Into his life enters enterprising college journalist and outspoken Christian, Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), who wants to do a profile on the hockey star. The two eventually transition from mutual skepticism to a more serious relationship. Meanwhile, Kerry's goofy brother resolves the centuries-long dispute between faith and science.
The Genesis Code is a movie with no audience. And it's utterly confounding.
Even now, a few days removed from watching it, I'm still grappling to figure out the thought process behind putting it all into action. Who are the producers trying to appeal to? The issue of faith vs. science—and specifically origins, which is what The Genesis Code traffics in—is so polarizing, right out of the gate an audience will be entrenched in their views. How many viewers can be swayed one way or the other, based on the theories put forth by a straight-to-DVD movie whose most recognizable cast member is Ernst Borgnine?! Vanishingly small.
Make no mistake, the filmmakers are all about putting forth their theory, devoting the bloated middle third of the picture to a seemingly unending science lecture that attempts to explain how the literal six days of creation can jive with today's scientific findings (spoiler: the "young Earth" community, of which I am not a member, may not like where this movie lands). This sequence, where Kerry's brother and his friends walk through their theory with a series of obtuse illustrations, sits like a giant matzo ball in the center of the film and hamstrings any momentum generated by the peripheral storylines.
Which is the biggest bummer, because lurking within this clumsy science lesson is a genuinely touching little love story. Bartholomew and Sanders have a nice, easygoing chemistry and their relationship is realistic and interesting, even within the context of Christian storytelling. Their faith conversations are grounded and they behave like real people. Extraordinarily good-looking real people, sure, but they're far from two-dimensional proselytizers.
Instead, what could have been a brisk, effective romance is expanded into a two-hour-plus science class that only 0.00008% of the population will be engaged by. Missed opportunity.
Straightforward DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, no extras.
The Genesis Code is a ballsy effort, grasping the faith/science/creation third rail with both hands, but the execution is too confusing and tedious to do any good. Worse, it short circuits a satisfying love story.
Back into the test tube with you.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
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