is the latest comedy from Ivan Reitman. If you look at the pictures
that he's directed (Dave, Kindergarten Cop, Twins,
and Meatballs), you'll get an idea of what to expect from
Evolution: an amiable comedy. The sci-fi comedy Evolution
has some imaginative creatures, and it's good for a few laughs.
Unfortunately, Reitman also directed a little supernatural chuckle-fest
known as Ghostbusters, which will (surprise) elicit endless
comparisons. I haven't seen Ghostbusters for several years,
so I feel unqualified to compare the actual quality of the two films.
Suffice it to say that Evolution may not measure up well
to the idealized memory that so many filmgoers have of Ghostbusters.
Lightning will probably not strike twice, and Evolution will
be remembered as a minor, but mildly amusing movie.
appropriate, since Evolution is a minor, but mildly amusing,
impressions of the previews you've seen for Evolution. If
you're first thought was, "That looks dumb," then don't
bother going. If your first thought was, "That looks like fun,"
then you'll probably enjoy it. Often, a preview will misrepresent
a movie (Genre fans, be warned: despite the implication in the title,
and the mysterious, vaguely ominous tone of the television ads,
Angel Eyes is not supernatural in any way, shape or form).
Evolution's preview, however, wears its goofball heart on
its sleeve. There are also many movies where the film's entire stock
of good jokes and nifty visuals fit into the 90-second preview.
Evolution is not one of those.
Both the gags
and the action are hit and miss, but fortunately the hits come often
enough to keep things interesting.
and Orlando Jones are a just a couple of community college professors
in Arizona who happen to be at the right place at the right time
to save the world. Orlando Jones is easily the best thing to come
up out Fox's Mad TV, and he does good work. Duchovny has
fun deadpanning his way through the movie playing off his X-Files
character is a member of the Center for Disease Control who helps
the profs fight the alien menace (The ever growing web of Jody Foster/Julianne
Moore/Gillian Anderson connections is getting a little creepy).
I love Julianne Moore, but she isn't given much to do here (though
she does model what I predict will be the next trend in geek chic
fashion: a t-shirt emblazoned with the periodic table of the elements).
Scott (he of the "That's like a big loogie!") plays basically
the same characters he did in American Pie and Dude,
Where's My Car? Sometimes funny, sometimes annoying, but I'm
beginning to wonder: is this guy acting at all?
extended cameo is of note because he was in Ghostbusters.
The best type of stunt-casting (Sean Connery in Robin Hood: Prince
of These; Patrick Stewart in Robin Hood: Men in Tights)
infuses the screen with energy. But Aykroyd's character isn't memorable,
and his performance is stilted. Dan, you ignorant slut!
about this movie will bother people: the bad science and the sophomoric
is the misuse of the term "evolution" throughout the movie.
Hey, the film's called Evolution, because the creatures start
out as microbes and quickly "evolve" into big monsters.
But it should be called "Mutation" instead. Evolution
is basically the long-term effect of natural selection. Animals
with certain traits are more likely to survive than others. The
genes of an individual creature have no biological imperative to
"evolve." They just want to replicate themselves. There
is no map in our genes that we can use to predict how we will look
in 5000 years. It's this type of lobotomized science that allowed
Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager to "evolve"
into a big lizard and mate with one of the male crewmembers.
it's just a movie, I know. Maybe the ooze that lands on our planet
contains the genetic memories of every species in its home planet's
history. Or whatever.
One other thing:
I can maybe buy that the boneheaded government doesn't bother to
pretest its proposed "solution" to the alien problem,
but neither, evidently, do the scientists, who are supposed to be
smarter than that.
But in spite
of all this, Evolution still has more believable (and more
interesting) science than many serious sci-fi movies (or the average
episode of Seven Days).
definitely shows that Ivan Reitman's summer camp sensibilities haven't
changed all that much since Meatballs.
There is plenty
of crude gutter-brain humor. But PG-13 gross-out gags seem almost
tasteful after you've subjected yourself to Scary Movie
and Me, Myself, and Irene. In fact, I found myself laughing
out loud at the crudest scene, in which a mosquito-looking critter
gets under Orlando Jones' skin (I can still hear Julianne Moore
cooing, "You're very brave."). They say that, psychologically,
a large part of laugh response to physical humor is an expression
of relief that it's not happening to us. That's certainly true here.
(A bit of trivia. In the television previews, the doctor says, "It's
moving toward his crotch." In the theater previews, he says,
"It's moving toward his butt," and in the movie itself,
he says, "It's moving toward his testicles." I'd love
to have heard the conversations during the meeting where they made
these command decisions.)
effects supervisor for Evolution was Phil Tippett, who's
worked on effects for Coneheads, Jurassic Park, Robocop,
Starship Troopers, Willow, and Dragonslayer.
The monsters in Evolution don't disappoint, particularly
if you enjoy the whimsical aesthetic (think Return of the Jedi
and TV's Farscape) in which creatures can be funny,
beautiful, gross, and scary, all at the same time. However, as in
The Haunting (which Phil Tippett and his studio also did
work for) the integration of CGI with human actors is not always
up to snuff. Some scenes are startling real, and others have a sort
of fuzzy line of demarcation between actor and effect (especially
when the scientists are battling
what is that they are battling,
? the creature from Akira
And, as is
the case with so many movies (Men in Black, The Mummy
Returns, The Haunting, and countless others) the whizbang
pull-out-all-the-stops effects-laden finale turns out to be not
nearly as interesting (and, in this case, also not nearly as funny)
as the events leading up to it.
But the last
15 seconds will make it hard for you not to leave with a smile on