Let's face it: most documentaries these days don't bother to document anything in an objective, journalistic sense. We can thank Michael Moore for re-conceiving the documentary film as something akin to a sensationalistic, cinematic op-ed piece. If you have something you hate, or something you want to humiliate in as public a way as possible, make a documentary! And this is precisely what Bill Maher does in his new anti-religion film, Religulous.
Maher, who grew up Catholic (with a Jewish mother), loathes religion. This film doesn't make it clear why he hates it so, aside from some comments about how Catholicism "wasn't relevant" to his life as a child. But hate it he does. Religulous is Maher's attempt to sell the idea that religions are the most dangerous threat facing mankind, that "religion must die for mankind to live."
Maher spends the film traveling all over the world, along with Borat director Larry Charles and a small camera crew proficient in the art of "sabotage interview." The first half of the film is mostly focused on evangelical Christians, how they believe in things like a 5,000-year-old earth, etc. Maher takes a trip to the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky, where he interviews creationism guru Ken Ham against the backdrop of animatronic dinosaurs with saddles (for humans to ride on). And he also interviews young-earth evangelical Mark Pryor, a democratic senator from Arkansas who creates some of the funniest moments of the film. To be fair, Maher also interviews Christian evolutionist Francis Collins, but he too comes out looking a bit buffoonish.
Ever the equal-opportunity atheist, Maher spends the second half of the film undermining religions and cults of every shape and size. He goes to Utah and skewers ...1
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