I checked out Evolution last night. My
thoughts are below.

Cast and Crew

David
Duchovny
plays Ira Kane
Orlando
Jones
plays Harry Block
Julianne
Moore
plays Allison Reed
Seann
William Scott
plays Wayne Green
Directed by Ivan
Reitman

Written by Don
Jakoby
, David
Weissman
, and David
Diamond
.
Numerous others, listed on the IMDB page here.

Original Release Date

Evolution was released on Friday, June 8,
2001.

Premise

You’ll notice this section is not a synopsis.
I’ve decided that
doing a complete synopsis only makes sense when
reviewing an episode
of a TV show, in which case someone may need to know
what happened in
that episode before next week’s episode airs. In the
case of a movie,
a complete synopsis just gives spoilers. Instead,
I’ll discuss the
premise and characters.

In the opening shot of the movie, a meteor crashes
into Earth. It’s
found by Wayne, who is trying to become a fireman.
Two professors
from a local college come out to investigate. (One,
Harry Block, is a
geologist. The other, Ira Kane, is a friend of his.)
They discover
single-celled organisms growing on the rock only a
few hours after it
crashed, which is far faster than it should happen.
They begin to
investigate, only to have the government (military
and CDC) step in
and take over.

High Point

The “Play that funky music, white boy” celebration.

Low Point

Luring the creature in the mall. I provided some
chuckles, but didn’t
make sense.

Review

The concept was not entirely dissimilar to many
action films in the
past. The dangers of evolution have been
demonstrated before. (For
example, the original concept and early scripts of
Species made
it clear that Sil had the ability to reactivate
dormat genes in her
human genetic makeup, which is why should could morph
into various
creatures.) We’ve also seen the idea of the lone
heroes trying to
save the day despite the interference of the proper
authorities.
However, I can’t remember ever seeing this done as a
comedy. Kudos go
to Ivan Reitman for taking the action thriller script
he was given and
having it made into a comedy. For
originality, I give it 4
out of 6.

The effects were well done, but not perfect.
Some of the
creatures suffered from the same flaws I saw in
Phantom Menace,
Mortal Kombat, and other heavy CGI films; the
textures were too
shiny, making it appear as though somebody had gone
around waxing the
aliens before they appeared on screen. The motion
wasn’t convincing
on some (like the stubby green on that came out of
the closet), making
it obvious that they were CGI inserts. Most
creatures were very well
done, though. I give the effects 4 out of 6.

The story itself was well planned, with the
various
characters introduced quickly and efficiently.
However, it never left
me in suspense. The sense of danger was never really
there. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The acting was up to most standards.
Duchovny did a fine job
with the only personality he ever seems to play.
Orlando Jones and
Seann Williams Scott were perfect for their roles,
and Julliane Moore
was fine as Dr. Reed. (Unfortunately, I never got
the “ice queen”
impression from her she was supposed to have given
off. I think her
pratfalls, especially at her introduction, undid that
image for me. I
don’t blame the writers; the pratfalls were Moore’s
idea.) In
general, the roles were well played, if
one-dimensional. I give the
acting 4 out of 6.

In terms of invoking an emotional response,
well, I was
laughing through the entire movie. I felt the sense
of victory that
was felt by Ira and his pals when they were
celebrating (see the High
Point), and I understood and expected Harry to go for
his revenge by
the end of the movie. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was well designed. Ivan
Reitman knows how to
implement effective comedic timing in his films,
although some of the
other aspects show little originality and effort,
such as his choice
of camera angles and lighting. He is one of the few
directors that
can make a comedy out of a typical action thriller
premise, though.
(Can you imagine what would happen if somebody wanted
to make
Ghostbusters now? Comedies don’t bring in the
same grosses as
action films. You can bet it wouldn’t have Mr.
Staypuft.) The score
was almost non-existant. There were a few songs
inserted at
appropriate moments, but no memorable custom-made
mood music. I give
it 3 out of 6.

Overall, I find myself thinking that this
was a comedy
designed to be a fun summer movie. As far as that
goes, it does a
great job. I’d rather watch this than any Jerry
Bruckheimer or James
Cameron film I’ve seen recently. In fact, I’ll
probably shell out for
the DVD. I give it 5 out of 6.

I give Evolution 27 out of 42. Note the 5 out
of 6 overall;
this is a movie I strongly recommend, despite its
seemingly low score.