Reviews of “We Believe in Dinosaurs.” Links courtesy of Dan Phelps. Excerpts by me.
“In the end, I liked We Believe in Dinosaurs. Unlike most of you reading this, in the past, I viewed the debate from the Creationist side. On occasion, I’d venture to the other side for education[,] and the facts presented in this film are both fascinating and fair. Brown and Ross smartly bring in local church leaders, who have equally grave concerns about the museum and its problematic existence. Films like this serve as a mirror to Christians to show just how the world sees our actions.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat.
“We Believe in Dinosaurs captures a disturbing current in contemporary America, but it’s far from the whole story. There are a few naysayers among the film’s interview subjects — a former creationist who changed his mind and a geologist who tries to debunk the pseudo-science depicted at the museums — but the doc cries out for a few more scientific voices. The directors understandably didn’t want to overwhelm their audience with talking heads, but a few more sage voices would have been welcome.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter.
“Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown’s look at the Ark Encounter, Kentucky’s monument to young-earth creationism, highlights the false legitimacy afforded by competent design. Most responsible for that is Patrick Marsh, who created the Jaws ride and whose enthusiastic participation almost feels like a betrayal. Opposite him is beleaguered paleontologist and audience proxy Dan Phelps, whose role in the drama can sometimes feel a little Quixotic, with the Ark standing in for windmills. … I could have done with a a smidgen of humor in a film about people who believe dinosaurs lived a few thousand years ago.” – Arlin Goldin, Film Inquiry.
“And while the film checks all the boxes you expect from a documentary about this issue, with interviews with believers and non-believers alike, by trying to cover such a massive story (both figuratively and literally) ‘Dinosaurs’ spreads itself so thin and loses its grip on the basics of storytelling.
“If “We Believe in Dinosaurs” has one saving grace, it’s the subjects that are interviewed. From artists that sculpt the titular beasts that will populate the 510-foot long, 51-foot high Ark to a former creationist that is struggling with his own personal beliefs to a lonely, non-believing paleontologist that makes it his life’s mission to be the thorn in Ken Ham’s side, Brown and Ross have culled together a group of characters that are sincere, open, and above all, fascinating.
“The best of the group, without a doubt, is Dan Phelps, the aforementioned paleontologist and one-man army against the Ark Encounter exhibit. ‘Dinosaurs’ paints a portrait of a man who loves science from an early age and illustrates his day-to-day life, foraging for interesting specimens on the side of the highway. ‘Dinosaurs’ helps you get to know Phelps on a very deep level through his actions and his own words, and it’s an utter joy to behold. …
“Ultimately, the film struggles with its ambition. Brown and Ross attempt to tell the entire story of the Ark Encounter, down to every nail used to build the boat and every legal battle fought to ensure specific tax incentives. When the credits finally roll, and there is even more information being fed into your eyeballs—it’s just too much.” – Charles Barfield, The Playlist.
“The multi-year journey features a number of fascinating and complex personalities, including Dan Phelps, a geologist and head of the Kentucky Paleontology Society who serves as a frequent and vocal critic of the museum’s faulty science; David MacMillan, a former creationist who could no longer reconcile his beliefs with the facts of the real world; and the Tri-State Free Thinkers, an atheist group who show up on opening day to protest the museum’s message of “incest and genocide,” for which a conservative radio host condemns their leader to an eternity of damnation.
“Notably absent are any direct interviews with Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, ….
“We Believe in Dinosaurs illustrates the ever-growing divide between religion and science, and manages a fairly even-handed portrayal of both sides of the debate, despite the clear skepticism of the filmmakers toward the Creationist belief system. Some stones are left unturned, and it would have made for a compelling addition to explore the conflict between the teachings of Answers in Genesis and their actions, such as Ham’s decidedly non-Christian scheme to escape tax liability by selling the Ark Encounter land to his own non-profit organization for $10. But the existing material is certainly captivating and disquieting enough to engage with.” – Brent Hankins, The Lamplight Review.
You may also see a clip from the film and a short background article in The Playlist here.