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Monday, November 15, 2010


Title: Evolution

Year of Release: 2001

Date Viewed: November 3rd, 2010

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Evolution is about a primitive alien species that quickly evolve into intelligent advanced creatures. It's too bad the same can't be said for the humans that worked on this movie.

Set outside a college community in Arizona, Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and Harry Block (Orlando Jones) are two professors that investigate a fallen meteor that crashed in the desert. Kane takes home a sample of unknown specimen and is astonished at how fast they change. These organisms are separating and growing at a rate that even the naked eye can witness in progress.

Convinced that a Nobel Prize is within their grasp, Kane and Block return to the crash site for more research only to discover that the area is now under military control. Evidently, the professors' data research had been hacked into and reported as a possible national threat. Sensing that he wouldn't be receiving due credit for the discovery, Kane disobeys orders to stay away and infiltrates the guarded area, putting him at odds with attractive scientist Allison Reed (Julianne Moore).

Before anyone knows what hit them, the alien beings have grown more hostile and are now the size of the dangerous kind of zoo animals. An all-out military assault appears to be the only plausible option to save the human race from being devoured by these new visitors. But Kane soon realizes that nuclear warfare will only add to the problem. A new solution needs to be implemented if he can only convince the arrogant General Russell Woodman (Ted Levine) to listen to him.

Playing the role of sideshow clown is Seann William Scott. He plays the useless sidekick character that only exists so the audience can laugh at his stupidity, clumsiness and annoying animal calls. The real reason he was casted was because the American Pie movies were popular in 2001. America loved watching Seann William Scott but realized too late that he was only funny when playing Stifler.

David Duchovny and Julianne Moore are not known for their comedic timing yet were expected to perform at the same level as Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. How can I tell, you ask? Because the entire storyline is an obvious nod to the Ghostbusters franchise and it even has Ivan Reitman as the director. But whereas Ghostbusters was charming and fresh, Evolution is as stale as the cereal in my cupboard. The much needed chemistry among the cast was not there. Yet the script still forces a romantic relationship between Kane and Reed using the same circumstances that we've seen in the movies a billion times before. Guy and girl come from different backgrounds and disagree over a matter. They can't stand each other. The guy then does something cool that the girl admires. Then they both kiss and act as if they were made for each other all along. That's the way the cookie cutter crumbles.

What's most baffling to me is the way the human characters respond to these alien beings. Their impressions have an irrational transition from wonderment to panic. Sure, the creatures are getting larger. But what real harm have they done? You would think that these scientists would have a better solution than simple termination unless they were the crazy comic book mad scientists. But there is no reason to believe there was ever a real danger outside of character dialogue explaining hypothetical situations.

A few highlights exist. One standout moment involves Professor Block in a scene that parodies the chest bursting scene from Alien. A small creature invades his body, leaving the doctors with no choice but to remove it by digging into his rectum.

The creatures in question are digitally animated. They look cute and grotesque at the same time. Probably the perfect design to compliment the movie's zany tone.

The idea behind Evolution is not bad. It just failed to evolve into a good result. Ivan Reitman may have an eye for effective comedy, but nobody is perfect and even a veteran like him can be stumped on how to present what's pitched to him. He tried to re-use the same formula that has worked for him in the past to no avail. When the scientists in the movie found out that the end would be disastrous, they went back to the drawing board. The screenwriters would have been wise to follow suit.

Rating: 3

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