Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

3.8 26
Director: Nathan Frankowski

Cast: Nathan Frankowski, Ben Stein, Richard Sternberg, Mark Souder

     
 

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Intrigued by the recent trend of scientists, journalists, philosophers, and teachers who have been ostracized and discredited for daring to suggest that humankind may be the product of intelligent design rather than a random fluke in the cosmic scheme of things, Ben Stein sets out on a journey to investigate the supposed persecution of the many by the select few.… See more details below

Overview

Intrigued by the recent trend of scientists, journalists, philosophers, and teachers who have been ostracized and discredited for daring to suggest that humankind may be the product of intelligent design rather than a random fluke in the cosmic scheme of things, Ben Stein sets out on a journey to investigate the supposed persecution of the many by the select few. Stein asserts that in recent years, anyone who dares to question the idea that adaptation is responsible for the development of Earth's organisms is held to ridicule, and over the course of the film, he travels the globe to speak with the supporters of both theories, pondering the reasons why believing in a higher power has seemingly become a massive taboo in the eyes of educators and the media.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Intelligent Design (I.D.) proponent Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed embodies one of the most gutsy and audacious political documentaries to come down the pike in decades, and anyone with atheistic and/or evolutionary beliefs will almost certainly feel infuriated by it. Stein uses the majority of his screen time not to establish the idea that an underhanded conspiracy exists among liberal educators to spread militant atheism and Darwinism among learners. Instead, he demonstrates the fact that such agendas are now out, about, and fashionable. And he pulls off that goal adroitly and convincingly, with no sleight of hand. In one of the film's most intriguing interviews, Stein visits Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, whose stated goal it is to "stamp out" intelligent design wherever it crops up in academia, by maneuvering to have pro-I.D. educators censured or dismissed. During the interview, she turns around and proudly displays a bulletin board with colored push-pins inserted wherever the said goal has been effectuated. (This moment achieves greater emotional impact by arriving, in the film, after Stein interviews a series of professors humiliated, emotionally broken, and bereft of their jobs thanks to the woman's doings -- most of whom are not even self-professed creationist advocates or religionists, but who simply acknowledged the concept of I.D. once or twice in peer-reviewed collegiate papers). Unfortunately, these sorts of interviews take up far too much screen time during the film's 90 minutes, and quickly outwear their welcome. Stein could increase the dramatic impact and audience interest in the material if he used screen time to scientifically explore the concept of intelligent design as it stands opposed to Darwinian evolution. This should happen via a detailed and objective discussion of the probability of one versus the other, and the evidence that suggests planned schematics for biological structures in lieu of random occurrences (and vice versa). The filmmaker does incorporate this material to a small degree, but limits such apologetics to one sequence of around ten minutes or so. While that sequence is onscreen, it captivates the audience, but the film then returns once more to discussions with atheistic educators and falls into the trap of exhaustively repeating itself. As the film stands, Stein is preaching to the converted in lieu of helping the unfamiliar explore the assets and weaknesses of one system of thought versus the other. As such, the film partially represents a wasted opportunity. One can also take issue with a couple of stylistic choices that Stein makes which render the film somewhat difficult to watch and appreciate. The most pronounced involves his decision to interpolate old film clips into much of the material (often during the middle of interviews) during the first half of the film. The seriocomic, often campy nature of the clips (pulled from such films as The Wizard of Oz and Planet of the Apes) both undercuts and seriously cheapens the interview material to an overwhelming degree. Moreover, for some unknown reason, director Nathan Frankowski and cinematographer Ben Huddleston opt to film interviews with the heads severely cropped, which will invariably distract viewers; whatever the motivation, it makes the film look cheap, sloppy, and unpolished. The second half of the film delivers an emotional wallop, though, in spite of the above shortcomings. It feels most compelling when Stein boldly establishes a connection between the scientific Darwinism of contemporary America and the social Darwinism of the Nazis, with their unfettered and unapologetic propagation of eugenic breeding to accelerate natural selection. On a spiritual level, Stein also engages in a haunting and amazing discussion with an atheist philosopher, Richard Dawkins (the author of a book entitled The God Delusion) who, though an outspoken proponent of Darwinian evolution, eventually admits on-camera that Intelligent Design is feasible and viable. Overall, whether one agrees or disagrees with Stein's central theses, the film will certainly provoke a great deal of discussion and introspection about intelligent design and the limits of free speech per se. In the future, however, Stein seriously needs to rethink his strategy for presenting information and the stylistic approach of his film projects, and to associate himself with co-writers and a director who exhibit defter skills behind the camera. If he can do so, his gutsy and relentless inquisition will lead him to scale even loftier and more provocative ideological heights than this.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/21/2008
UPC:
0883476004990
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG
Source:
Premise
Time:
1:35:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; A special message form Ben Stein; Using intelligent design for medical research; Bonus music tracks by Andy Hunter; Expelled super trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Stein Host
Richard Sternberg Participant
Mark Souder Participant
Guillermo Gonzalez Participant
Caroline Crocker Participant
Richard Dawkins Participant
P.Z. Myers Participant
Eugenie Scott Participant
Christopher Hitchens Participant
Michael Shermer Participant
John Lennox Participant
David Berlinski Participant
Alister McGrath Participant
Stephen C. Meyer Participant

Technical Credits
Nathan Frankowski Director,Cinematographer,Editor
Robbie Bronnimann Score Composer
Joseph Condeelis Animator
Logan Craft Producer
Paul Engstrom Camera Operator
Gillian Fritzsche Asst. Director
Renae Garcia Makeup
Ben Huddleston Camera Operator
Andy Hunter Score Composer,Screenwriter
Patricia Lay Asst. Director
Mark Mathis Associate Producer
Kevin Miller Screenwriter
Lisa Monet Makeup
Kevin Nowicki Camera Operator
Kenji Ono Animator
Andrew Peterson Art Director
Walt Ruloff Producer
Ben Stein Screenwriter
John Sullivan Producer
Patrick Tittmar Sound Mixer
Simon Tondeur Camera Operator,Editor

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