The Movie Evolution has Stalled

I'm no biologist, but how many cells do single-celled organisms have? - Harry

David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott and Orlando Jones in Evolution (2001)

"Evolution" is just wrong, plainly wrong as it tries to combine the quirkiness, the comedy and the fun of such movies as "Men in Black", "Ghostbusters" and "Mars Attacks!". It has a top director in Ivan Reitman, it has a good cast which with David Duchovny in a central role should allow for some "X-File" mickey taking. But it just doesn't come together to make "Evolution" the truly fun movie it should be. But whilst "Evolution" is wrong and ultimately disappointing it isn't terrible due to a few comical scenes and witty dialogue.

After a meteor comes crashing down to earth, teachers Harry Block (Orlando Jones - Bedazzled) and Ira Kane (David Duchovny - Return to Me) are sent to check it for the National Geographical Organisation. What they discover is and alien life form which is quickly mutating, evolving from a single cell to multiple as they adapt to the worlds climate. But whilst they try to keep their discovery under wraps, the Pentagon get wind and send in their own team of researchers. Before long the Alien life forms have evolved and are becoming a threat to the human race with Harry and Ira trying to find a way of destroying them before they take over.

Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones and David Duchovny in Evolution (2001)

One thing is for sure the storyline to "Evolution" is ultimately pointless and unoriginal as it cherry picks elements from various other movies. So what we get after the meteor comes crashing down to earth is an alien attack movie, with a touch of a monster movie with a mix of alien busting and ghostbusting. But none of that matters as a strong storyline is not central to making "Evolution" work, it's the comedy, the set piece scenes, the chemistry between characters and the in jokes which should be what makes it work. I say it should because quite frankly it doesn't work.

The thing is that the comedy runs thick and fast through "Evolution" there is barely a minute where there isn't some joke being made, be it trainee fireman Wayne Grey getting hit in the nuts by a fire nozzle, an alien bug penetrating geologist Harry Block or scientist Allison Reed slipping over. But many of the jokes fall flat on their face with a feeling that the writers have tried too hard to be funny and often end up being the opposite. There are a handful of funny scenes which work, an in joke over David Duchovny's character, Ira Kane's, part working for the Pentagon being one of the more memorable. But you get to the end of "Evolution" feeling like you have been bombarded by writers desperate to throw as many jokes in as possible.

Whilst the comedy is hit and miss the special effects are a little better. The alien effects are by no means astonishing, they even seem intentionally a little dated harking back to older monster movies but they add to the amusement. the scene with the green dog/pig/seal like creature has that cute and shock factor all rolled into one and that is one of "Evolution's" strong points it has a fun mix of cute and comically shocking.

As for the acting well again the word average springs to mind as whilst David Duchovny, Orlando Bloom, Julianne Moore and Seann William Scott all deliver some amusing scenes most of the time it feels like they are just going through the motions, told to be funny by a director not fully committed to the project. It's not helped by the fact that none of their characters are more than 2 dimensional making it difficult to get behind and support any of them. Even the amusing side notes such as Geologist Harry Block coaching women's volley ball and having an eye for the ladies fails to make it any more than 2 dimensional and not overly amusing.

What this all boils down to is that "Evolution" whilst having its moments and is overall averagely amusing it could have been so much more. The constant flurry of jokes ends up being one of its biggest failures with only a few of them really working. And whilst the effects are amusing the acting and the characters just end up adding to the issues. It's a shame as "Evolution" had the potential to be so much more, but ends up being barely average.

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