Saturday, June 15, 2013

MR Evolution

Okay, this is not Ghostbusters III, but the closest thing we ever got to it.

Movie: Evolution
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Release date 2001
Genre Science-fiction/comedy
Country USA

Evolution is another science-fiction comedy film from Ghostbusters I & Ghostbuster II director Ivan Reitman.

The story was originally written by Don Jakoby who imagined it as a more serious horror film. But then Ivan Reitman had the script entirely rewritten by David Diamond and David Weissman 

The film was then entirely shot in California. Since they had to film it around winter, they had to ask the local people to put on Christmas decorations as late as possible.

Anyways, the film was produced by DreamWorks with a huge $80 million budget - more than both Ghostbusters combined!

Why do I keep comparing it to those films? Well basically said, Evolution is sort of "another Ghostbusters" with aliens instead of ghosts.

Even the plot roughly follows the same structure.

The movie opens with a meteor crashing into the car of wannabe fireman-trainee Wayne Grey in the middle of Arizona.

We then are introduced to our rag-tag duo of scientists. College professor Ira Kane and his best friend geologist & coach (for the female volleyball team) Harry Block. Our duo are quickly introduced to the meteor beneath a cave and find there some nitrogen-based alien organisms. The single-celled lifeforms quickly evolve into multi-cellular creatures who then proceed to keep rapidly multiplying. And multiplying again. And again. And again.

Ira and Harry want to keep this discover for themselves. Harry sees a ticket to fame, a chance for making a lot of money. And Ira wants a shot at making it big time, a chance to come back to the professional field and get out of college.

But soon the military arrive on the scene. The army takes over the research. And the General Russell Woodman kicks Ira and Harry out of there. He replaces them with the well-intentioned but clumsy scientist Dr. Allison Reed.

It only gets worse when the Governor of Arizona himself (Dan Aykroyd's hilarious random cameo) arrive there.

But this is only going to get worse.

They plan to napalm the entire cave where the creatures originated from, but this is only going to accelerate their evolution. More and more monsters have been spotted all around Arizona's mountains. And only our team of unlikely heroes Ira, Harry, Reed and Wayne can put a stop to it. With the power of Head & Shoulders!

It's an odd movie at times.

Evolution is a big epic PG-rated scifi adventure in the pure style of Ivan Reitman.

It's a big epic science fiction like there hasn't been since the 80s, with lots of silly toilet humor over it.

The movie is pretty close in tone to Ghostbusters II. It's kids friendly, with a fun adventure tone yet some cheap ass jokes for some reason. Lots of them.

At least it's served by a pretty brilliant cast of actors. An hilarious David Duchovny and Julianne Moore who aren't particularly used to comedy usually. And a fantastic Orlando Jones who really supports most of the film with his well timed humor. Our scientists act more like big kids than actual grown men. And Seann William Scott is the involuntary fourth non-scientist Ghostbuster "Alienator". He gets some great bits in this film.

All our characters are all a bit over-the-top and don't take their roles too seriously, but it's also a great thing. Julianne Moore who usually plays in more serious films is here all clumsy and does a lot of slapstick comedy.

The film is kinda silly but you gotta like the art direction. The chara design for the alien creatures is pretty fun. From the simple organisms to the big blue monkeys.

The special effects are kinda cartoony at times, but they look great in action. The CGi monsters running havoc are really fun.

The whole movie is very silly, but there's a lot of great memorable scenes in Evolution. From the serenade for the giant flying dinosaur in the mall ("you... are... so beautiful... to me!") to Harry's "alien invasion" in his suit.

Evolution has some pretty random cameos, not only Aykroyd but also Kyle Gass, Sarah Silverman, Richard Moll, Tom Davis, Jerry Trainor, Miriam Flynn, Caroline Reitman and John Cho are in it.

The three-eyed smiley logo used on posters and the cover was actually borrowed from a comics, Transmetropolitan. With permission from DC Comics since it was copyrighted.

The score itself is quite epic in proportions. The music was composed by John Powell. I'd personally rate it as memorable and as good as Ghostbuster's to keep using this comparison. It is orchestral and has a great rhythm through the entire picture.

Sadly it got a real bad reception at the time. The film had great ideas.. even if it didn't ring with the audience. At least it went through making well internationally.

Overall, it's a very funny film. Sure it can be a bit silly and stupid at times.

There's even a pretty fun random fake Head & Shoulders commercial at the end. Since it helps save the day from the alien invasion at the end. (it's not an actual advertisement, the crew had to buy all the lotions used in the film by themselves)

Evolution is pretty entertaining and really worth it.

It was ignored by most people and critics around its release.

Some dismiss it as a pretty bland film but I'm sure a modern day Ghostbusters would have the same type of plot, humor and character development.

The film was then followed by an animated series vaguely inspired by the film, Alienators: Evolution Continues (kind of like Real Ghostbusters for GB at the time, or Men In Black: The Animated Series). And a couple video games on handled systems based on that same cartoon.

I give it:
2 / 3 UFOs!

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