on June 17, 2004
The first time I watched this movie, I though it was terrible. However, after watching a 2nd and 3rd time, I've learned to appreciate the humor. It's a fun and lighthearted movie. The special effects are quite good, the monsters are impressive and the acting is not bad. David Duchovny isn't a great commedian, and some of his lines are terrible, but overall, he does a good job.
It's the kind of movie you put on when you are depressed and just want to drink a beer and be amused. In the same league as Caddyshack and Stripes. Great mindless fun.
on March 4, 2004
Perhaps David Duchovny is doomed to follow in the steps of many tv stars who just can't make it "big" on the big screen. The X-FILES star did well enough in the feature-length film of that series, but other than that, he's floundered. EVOLUTION does have some wonderfully wacky moments, and some brilliant special effects. What it lacks is a consistency in tone and a good team of actors. Julianne Moore is hilarious as the clumsy CDC rep; Orlando Jones is as effective as Ernie Hudson has been; and Seann William Scott does his usual goofus stint. Ted Levine is very good as the greedy general, and Dan Akroyd is wasted in his role as the governor.
There are funny sequences, but there seems to be a lot of time when you're waiting for something to make you laugh again.
Inventive, but not the movie it should have been.
on December 16, 2003
Let's be entirely honest here, "Evolution" is a silly movie based upon a barely palpable grasp on science. However, it doesn't matter because it is genuinely entertaining. The plot is just plausible enough to allow the viewer to enjoy a great cast offering up some genuinely funny lines amidst some very good CGI (and I write this two years after the film was released).
The story revolves around rapidly evolving alien life forms that arrive in Arizona via a meteorite. This nod to the theory of Panspermia shows that while the link to real science may be tenuous, it won't be severed altogether. This is an element that the viewer comes to appreciate as it allows a reasonable suspension of disbelief, which adds to the movie's appeal.
As these "aliens" become more sophisticated they wreak a rapidly escalating amount of havoc on a nearby medium sized city. It is here that our rag-tag band of heroes, David Duchovny as a disgraced biologist, Orlando Jones as a geologist who is more interested in anatomy than rocks, Julianne Moore as a hard driving CDC researcher and Seann William Scott as...well, Seann William Scott, come to the rescue. OF course, along the way they face the requisite bone-headed general, not to mention the rigors of a Division III women's volleyball schedule. Nonetheless, they rally together and triumph in fine style. The reason why this journey is fun to watch is simple: while each one of these actors offers up an excellent performance (particularly impressive given Moore and Duchovny aren't known for comedy), it is as an ensemble that they really shine. In particular, the exchanges between the three men are always hilarious as Duchovny plays a perfect straight-man for Jones and Scott. Moreover, Moore shows a remarkable ability for prat-falls that are the highlight of some strong physical acting.
As the film progresses to an inevitable showdown with the aliens, the viewer is treated to more great performances from the supporting cast, including a cameo from Dan Akroyd that is perfectly delivered. At the same time, the effects, which are contemporaneous with "Jurassic Park II" still view well, even if they aren't cutting edge. In particular, there is a dragon -type creature that ranks among the best CGI creations I have encountered (pre-Gollum of LOTR, of course).
Finally, unlike far too many DVD's, "Evolution" offers a great value in terms of quality and extras. The sound and picture are both excellent, but that is becoming more of the norm than the exception. Where the disc really shines is in the bonus features. The deleted scenes are well chosen and include commentary that offers an interesting look at the film making process. Moreover, storyboards, commentary and visual effects features all make for an entertaining, interesting viewing experience.
What this review really comes down to is this: if you don't appreciate silly humor, if you pick apart movies for the slightest flaws, skip "Evolution", you won't like it. Conversely, if you enjoy the give and take that comes from a cast that obviously enjoys working together, if you appreciate good special effects, and if a good "popcorn" movie is what you crave, "Evolution" is right up your alley. I've watched it literally dozens of times and I never get tired of it. It's eminently quotable, fun to watch, and makes great use of its cast, and silly or not, is a movie I never get tired of.
on December 13, 2003
It's clear that as long as Ivan Reitman works in sci-fi comedy he will never achieve the greatness he did with Ghostbusters. That movie was a masterpiece of genius. Evolution is nothing but a fun ride that comes nowhere near the class of Ghostbusters. But it's still well worth it.
Weird really when you consider that Ghostbusters: Go to Hell, the second sequel in which hell got so full that spirits started spilling out into the real world, was re-written and redrafted that it became this...something completely different. You probably know the story. A meteor crash lands in the desert and the single celled organisms living on it very, very quickly become multi celled and then little worm creatures and then...many other things. The movie repeatedly calls them aliens but since they evolve from nothing on earth and are conditioned by earth's environment they are, effectively, earth creatures. Watching them run riot and cause havoc is the main fun of this film.
Ghostbusters had a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, like a fine wine. Evolution has a crude, gross-out sense of humor like American Pie, which seriously lessens the overall quality of the film. The lead trio of actors perform rather well together. Duchovny is much looser and easy-going here than his stiff, X-Files character. Seann William-Scott once again plays a dufus but he's more endearing here than he has been in other roles. Orlando Jones is kind of good but he too often takes his role in the stereotyped 'only black guy in a white movie' direction. Sadly though, Julianne Moore's accident-prone scientist just isn't funny and her clumsiness seems false and forced.
But obviously when you judge Evolution next to something better it seems an inferior movie. Judge it on it's own terms and you'll definitely enjoy. The DVD is in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (though it really could have benefited from a scope 2.35:1 aspect ratio) and is in rather lacklustre Dolby 5.1
on September 30, 2003
Evolution, while a very slick movie, ultimately fell flat for me. I love good science fiction movies and I love good comedy movies, but in this case two great tastes did not go great together.
This movie stars David Duchovny (Dr. Ira Kane), Julianne Moore (Dr. Allison Reed), Orlando Jones (Prof. Harry Block), and Seann William Scott (Wayne Grey) and while I am sure all four actors were happy to work with such an accomplished director, Ivan Reitman, I wonder if they were equally pleased with the final product. As far as the actors' performances, Duchovny played his part pretty well, while Jones seemed to go overboard as the comic sidekick. Moore seemed a little out of place compared to some of her other roles, and I kind of felt sorry for Seann (no, I am not misspelling his name as it really has two n's at the end of it. What's up with that?) William Scott in that his character was so moronic. I felt he could have offered a lot more to this movie, given a chance.
In the beginning (no, not that beginning), we see a meteor slam into the Earth, and soon discover that it's teeming with alien life. The alien microorganisms start growing and evolving at an exponential rate, creating some rather nasty life forms. Ira and Harry, who both work at the local community college, are the first scientists on the scene. Their discovery and dreams of fame and fortune go down the tubes as the government arrives on the scene and assumes control of the situation. Dr. Reed, a member of the CDC, working with the government, begins to find herself at odds with the military and they way they're handling the infestation, and slowly starts to align herself with Ira and Harry. Seems like a pretty standard sci-fi plot, but did I mention this is also a comedy?
Evolution follows the formula of Ghostbusters, one of Reitman's biggest hits, but the comedic chemistry between the actors in this movie just doesn't seem to gel like it did with the stars of Ghostbusters. I read that this was at one time a straight up science fiction movie, until Reitman got hold of the script and rewrote it, adding the comedy elements. I would have liked to see this movie before that happened, see what could have been.
The special effects are really good, providing lots of gooey alien stuff, and interesting looking creatures, but all that seemed a little wasted in this movie. You can see the movie is based on science fiction, with the comedy forced into the picture like a square peg into a round hole. Some parts were pretty funny, but I think the mix is a hard one to make work, and the effort fell flat. Another reviewer mentioned Tremors, a movie where these two elements worked well together, creating a more palatable end result, and I would agree.
A decent effort, but not Reitman's best. I think we've come to expect more from him based on his past efforts. This movie has plenty of eye candy, but not a lot of substance. It's easy to watch, geared more towards the not so discriminating viewer, but ultimately forgettable.
on August 3, 2003
Before anything, I have to point out that Reitman isn't a very skillful director. He can do some shabby work in his efforts to make crowd pleasing movies. Take the "Ghostbusters" movies. Not very well executed. But they succeed, thanks to some endearing characters. "Evolution" lacks such characters. So it falls flat on its face. Duchovny and Moore have lousy comedic delivery. He's certainly no Bill Murray, which is what the Kane role needed. But you must admit, Jones's delivery is impressive. Dan Aykroyd's minor role can't salvage things. Reitman's directorial faults are naked to the world. Granted, screenwriters Jakoby, Diamond and Weissman must take a large part of the blame and shame. But Reitman should have seen that script needed a huge rewrite before production. And you would have thought the Dreamworks gang would have exercised some judgement. But no. We sat and waited for two hours for a joke to work. But finally, the three-eyed smiley face came along to tell us we'd been had. The supernatural "Ghostbusters" required much less suspension of disbelief than this science themed movie. Those writers did much more homework than these. Loose ends flow though your fingers like the zillions of evolving flatworms. To think that the final explosion wiped out every last alien creature is the final insult. I won't bother with all the shows this rips off. That's been dealt with. We suffered through so much, waiting for something witty. But it never came. At least it wasn't a total failure. Thanks to "Evolution," I discovered the lovely actress Sarah Silverman and the nifty band Self. But that's almost no consolation. Reitman, you owe us all a huge apology for this travesty.
on April 17, 2003
Evolution, starring David Duchovny, is one of those rare breed of movies, a sci-fi comedy. The premise is based on a small meteorite that crashes to earth and brings with it a very basic, almost amoeba-like life form. The life forms oozes out of the meteorite and evolves at an extremely rapid rate, creating a bizarre array of weird and dangerous creatures that plague, and in some cases terrify, a local town.
First, let's get thing's straight. Evolution is not a movie aimed at intellectuals. You can leave your brain on engage for this one.The SFX for evoloution are very good, and the CGI is practically flawless. The plot is rather recycled, but is OK nonetheless. The humour used is very crude and juvenile, but it is in places very funny. The action sequences in evolution vary tremendously, from OK to very, very good.
In particular, there is an excellent and funny scene in a deserted mall involving a giant 'bird', that brings shocks and surprises in equal measure. The end scene is pretty funny, and the idea is very new, so full marks go to originality for the ending. Acting in evolution is, fair to say, basic, but the action within the film more than compensates for it.
What i found more mundane about evolution was the pace. Unlike the subject of the film, the picture itself goes very slowly, and i always get the feeling when watching evolution that the film isn't quite up to it's full potential, and it never really gets into 2nd gear. Some parts of the film i found rather unnecessary to have been added in. For instance, the whole subplot about one of the lead actors wanting to become a fireman. I found that sub-story rather dull, althuogh i do admit it does tie in to the film. This is one of those films that you are quite happy to watch with friends, but you couldn't really expect the family to gather round to at christmastime, or some other big occasion.
At times the film is actually too sarcastic, and you get the feeling that evolution doesn't really know whether it is truly a comedy or a sci-fi. This means that evolution is only OK at either,so it is moderately funny instead of very funny, and only a partially thrilling sci-fi. Films such as evolution that try to do two things at once encounter a whole range of problems that a normal film doesn't have. I would have been happier had evolution concentrated on wholly being a comedy or a sci-fi instead of half each. Oh well, i suppose that's why there are not too many films like this around.
Despite this, evolution does contain some riotous sequences, brings in laughs and some good action, and due to the quality of the SFX, is a welcome addition to any DVD collection. Recommended to anyone who like sci-fi, spoof or comedy. Films like evolution are not taxing, intead they are fun and lightweight.
on March 26, 2003
"Evolution" isn't the best sci-fi comedy ever, but it's certainly very good. It's one of those guilty pleasure films that you enjoy over and over again.
The plot is nothing special. Two community college professors (played by David Duchovny and Orlando Jones) discover that a meteor that crashed in the desert is teeming with life that is rapidly evolving. The military comes in and screws things up, leaving the two profs, a government scientist (Julianne Moore), and a wannabe firefighter (Seann William Scott) to stop the alien menace before it takes over the world. There's also a funny cameo by Dan Akroyd as the governor of Arizona.
The acting is good. Duchovny and Jones have excellent chemistry together, really playing off each other well. Duchovny plays more the sarcastic, cynical scientist, while Jones is more manic, particularly in a scene where they're in the cavern. Moore is decent as a very clumsy and socially inept scientist. Scott's a little flat as Wayne, but that's part of being a character who's dumb but trying to look smart. There's also other bit players that are really funny, including two fat guys who are hysterical.
The story and script move along briskly, with only a few really unnecessary scenes. The jokes comes at a similarly brisk pace and are very funny for the most part. It's not a very realistic movie, as some of the things that are said and done are things most normal people wouldn't do, but that's part of the charm of this movie.
The effects are also very good for a movie that's more comedy than anything else. Things really look very realistic and are on-par with a movie like "Men in Black" and "Harry Potter".
As far as extra go, there's not a whole lot. Most of it has to do with the special effects, although you do get some funny deleted scenes. The commentary track is the biggest treat, with Ivan Reitman, Duchovny, Jones, and Scott all in a room at once. It's really funny.
Overall, this is a good film if you're just looking for some laughs. It sort of has the charm of "Ghostbusters" and "Men in Black" with some great interplay between Jones and Duchovny. Definitely a must-see if you're a "Men in Black" fan.
Ask Charles Darwin to explain the implications for natural selection of the fact that comedic second bananas Orlando Jones and Seann William Scott manage to steal most of the seasons from romantic couple David Duchovny and Julianne Moore in the 2001 film "Evolution" and the great naturalist would probably just turn over in his grave in Westminster Abbey and refuse to answer. After all, it is not like Hollywood is a human or even a social institution and therefore is not going to be subject to natural laws or common sense.
Wayne Green (Scott) is out in the desert practicing saving an inflatable doll from a burning shack when a meteor comes to earth on top of his car. Harry Block (Jones), a scientist from Glen Canyon Community College shows up to investigate in the name of the U.S. government and brings along Dr. Ira Kane (Duchovny), the head of the science department. The meteor has ended up in an underground cavern when strange little things are growing. Every time they come back to the cavern it is as if several millions years of evolution have taken place. Kane and Block get excited, but then the feds and the army show up and spoil all the fun. Moore, tired of being nominated for Oscars all the time, finds a role that requires her to fall down a lot in Allison Reed, a scientist affiliated with the army. The boys want to keep investigating the evolving creatures but the feds have frozen them out, despite Allison's help. In the best 1950s science fiction film tradition the military is completely wrong about how it is handling the aliens and the scientists are right, which means they are going to have to end up saving the day.
Even if "Evolution" had not been directed by Ivan Reitman or had Dan Ackroyd playing the Governor of Arizona, it would still remind most viewers of "Ghostbusters." Kane and Block are a similar sort of tag team, able to talk knowledgebly about strange things beyond their experiences. The biggest difference between the two films is that the special effects for the evolving alien creatures are a much bigger part of "Evolution." The film becomes a series of alien encounters building up to the climax where our heroes have to take on the biggest alien monster of them all, at which point there is a rather inspired example of product placement.
We already know from "The X-Files" that Duchovny can do humor, so the problem here is not the acting but the script. Jones has all the good one-liners although Duchovny gets the big stinker at the end when he saves his friend from a horrible fate. The cast look like they had a good time making the film, but that must have been due more to their enjoyment of each other rather than of the script. "Evolution" is one of those films where you say, okay, good first draft; now let us try to come up with something that would make a funny movie. If there is always time for lubricant (you will understand when you watch the film), then there is always time to do a decent rewrite. This is not so much a bad movie as it is one that is just not good. Still, it is a pleasant enough diversion for a rainy afternoon, although you would never want to be diverted from studying for a science test by such a film.
on February 8, 2003
I was never a real fan of X-Files. Mulder was always droning on and on about 'finding the truth'. I got bored with that after a while. Duchovny showed that he was a good drama actor, and that was about it. Now, let's get to Evolution....
This film rocked. Duchovny showed that not only is he a solid drama actor, but he can do comedy as well. I thought Orlando Jones played a pretty good role too, although this is the only thing other than 7-Up commercials I've seen him in. Of course, there was that annoying, 'Dude, Where's My Car"' guy, but I can get past that.
The special effects and CGI portions of the film were perfect. There was just enough to make the scenes believable, but closeups were done with animatronics. Excellent mix. The video quality on the disk, as well as the sound were first rate. I don't remember much from the surrounds, but I wasn't constantly listening for them, either.
The storyline is good, and pretty believable. Being a scientist myself, I found some small plot holes, but these are things the general population would never pick up on, so I won't hold that against anyone.
I can't say anything bad about this film, really. I enjoyed it immensely. I don't know if I'd let a six or sever year old watch it, due to some sexual suggestions, etc., but everyone else should get a kick out of this movie. I'm really surprised it didn't get better ratings when it was in the theatres.