2020 / 84 minutes
Biologist Gordon Wilson has produced another beautiful ode to God’s creation. The Riot and the Dance: Water explores how gloriously the Lord has made life in the lakes, rivers, oceans and ponds of the world. Wilson’s narration is at times playful, at times serious, but always joyfully awestruck at what God has made.
“Water is full of death. Water is full of life. It forms another world inside our own…”
“…we will enter the liquid world and we will reemerge a little bit changed, with eyes that see this creation differently, with a little more knowledge of the artist who made it all.”
Wilson swims with sharks, snorkels with manatees, scubas with alligators, and wades in a slimy swamp, all in the quest to chronicle life underwater. Off the coast of Oahu, he finds green sea turtles, Galapagos and sandbar sharks, moray eels, and spinner dolphins.
Why do spinner dolphins spin as they playfully leap from the water? “Because it’s fun. Because it’s fantastic. Because it pleases God.” Another leaper found off the California coast is the humpback whale, expending tremendous energy to push its massive, 60,000-pound body out of the water in a display of power and joy.
While exalting the beauty of created life, Wilson also explores the horrors of death, which is such a part of our fallen world. Chum salmon by the thousands die as they flail and flop on their journey up freshwater creeks and rivers. A giant water bug captures a much larger frog, pierces its victim’s skin with a sharp beak, and literally sucks the life out of its prey (yes, this scene is pretty chilling, and perhaps a bit too graphic for youngsters).
The biologist also muses on what nature will be like in the next life:
“We see that all of creation is going to be redeemed, and some of the greatest threats that we see in the animal kingdom… they are going to be redeemed, and they can be redeemed without becoming tame. I’m not even going to guess what it’s going to be like, but it’s going to be glorious!”
The camera work is wonderful, the vistas and scenery are inspiring, and Wilson’s thoughtful narration brings a sense of wonder and adventure. It is very refreshing to watch a nature documentary without having to ignore secular commentary on evolution and billions of years. We can heartily recommend this film to Christians of all ages… although some might wish to skip the giant water bug scene!