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There will be people who divide their lives into two parts; the time before watching The Riot and the Dance: Water and the time after watching The Riot and the Dance: Water. This film is that important! Think of BBC Earth, but with far more human and animal interaction, along with a whole lot of adventure and some fabulous music. They actually do go diving with sharks, no shark cage in sight. Is Gordon Wilson, the host, completely mad? To avoid spoiling the surprise, I will not mention the evidence that definitively answers this question. It comes right at the end of the film and let’s just say, it involves some very large reptiles. The Riot and the Dance: Water is exploration, beauty, poetry and a kind of sublime theology that rings true without apology.
How can anyone see manatees coming up to hug and nuzzle someone, without breaking the Tenth Commandment just a little bit? Or is it really coveting when you realize at the core of your soul that this is the way things were meant to be for everyone, not just that very lucky cameraman? Or what about the frog having its insides liquified by a giant water bug? How can anyone fail to see that this isn’t the way it should be? The realization that there are millions of empty frog skins, sinking to the bottom of ponds is a shock that cries out for an answer. There is an answer, it is beautiful and it becomes clear in The Riot and the Dance: Water.
A couple of years ago, the original Riot and Dance film, The Riot and the Dance: Earth, was unique. It brought a different eye, a different angle, on nature that needed to be presented to the world. Water brings this same perspective, but focuses on the majority of life, the incredible array of aquatic organisms that remain unseen to we airbreathing mammals. So now neither film—Earth or Water—is unique, and that is something to be celebrated.
Probably the closest other film to The Riot and the Dance: Water is Illustra Media’s Living Waters: Intelligent design in the oceans of the earth. Both films are fantastic, both deal with similar subject matter, everyone should see both of them. But they are still very different films, even where they overlap directly in subject matter. For example, both touch on salmon migration in the Pacific Northwest, but Living Waters dives a little deeper into the science while The Riot and the Dance: Water explores different species and the marvel of what is occurring. The scientific wonder that Living Waters brings is poetry in The Riot and the Dance: Water. But this is not a suggestion that either is deficient; watching both is not redundant, it is complementary and anyone who does so will come out of the experience with a combined understanding that is more than the sum of its parts.
One of the most refreshing things about The Riot and the Dance: Water is its lack of apology for the perspective it brings on nature. This is a Christian film, a biblical film; not in the sense that there is pretty music, pretty video and bible texts, but in the sense that God is unapologetically recognized as the Creator. What the creation tells us about its Creator is an integral and natural part of the film. If anything, Water is even more explicit about this than Earth, yet somehow it does it with such elegance that no reasonable person could be offended. Instead of making some formal argument, viewers are simply invited to share the joy and awe of viewing the creation from a biblical perspective. Who could not be caught up in Gordon Wilson’s gracefully expressed excitement at the glory of the natural world? This is one of those miracles that no one should feel any embarrassment about sharing with their friends and neighbors. Yes, this includes those who do not yet share the joy and peace of knowing Christ—the Creator and Savior of the world and the ultimate source of all the wonder.
The Apostle Paul said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV). Gordon Wilson has love—love of God and love of His creation—and that is the ingredient that makes The Riot and the Dance: Water so very very special. It is to be released on March 6 and can be shown in churches or other venues. If your church isn’t showing it, find one that is, go there and take a friend. Be prepared for a lifechanging adjustment to your perspective on this world we are so privileged to be part of. The only downside is… who am I kidding? There is no down side. Find a showing of The Riot and the Dance: Water, or arrange to show it in your church. If that proves impossible, invite your neighbors and show it in your own home.
Reviewed by Timothy G. Standish, PhD
Geoscience Research Institute