Tuesday, December 10, 2013

RR Evolution: the Animated Series

Also known as Alienators, although that name doesn't do this show any justice...

Name: Alienators: Evolution Continues also known as Evolution: the Animated Series
Directed by Will Meugniot
Original run 2001
Genre Comedy/adventure animated series

Produced as a direct continuation to the modestly successful film Evolution, Evolution: the Animated Series aka Alienators: Evolution Continues in the US (I hate that title!!) would like to be what Real Ghostbusters was to Ivan Reitman's classic. Or perhaps it's closer to Extreme Ghostbusters, what with all the derivatives from the film?

Produced by cartoon veteran studio DIC Entertainment in partnership with Ivan Reitman's own Montecito Picture Company and DreamWorks SKG and airing on Fox Kids, the show aimed to continue the adventures of the misfit team of heroes formed in the big picture epic.

And give a more Ghostbusters-vibe (I mean, than it already had).

Did Reitman aim to surpass his own 1980s film's success or was this just a larger plan to bring a sequel in the works... who knows!?

The story picks up where the movie left off.

After a quick recap/reinterpretation of the events seen in the climax of the film, we meet our unlikely heroes in the aftermath of the catastrophic events.

To summarize it quickly: In the movie a meteor carrying alien organism crashed in the Arizona Desert. The crash on Earth woke up a rapid evolution and quickly California was being overrun by various beings from single-cell organisms to very complexes alien creatures - now dubbed "Genus".

Our heroes are now going by the colloquial term "Alienators".

Turns out some bits of the huge amoeba monster survived and soon they start spreading all over again.

The governor demand the Alienators to work with the military this time and elminate all possible threat that might destroy life on Earth as we know it.

We are introduced back to our main character Dr. Ira Kane - kind of a Venkman crossed with Egon from Real Ghostbusters - a biologist fascinated with these alien lifeforms and the big brains behind the team, Harry Block a scientist-turned-school coach of the girl's team, wannabe-fireman Wayne Gray now renamed Wayne Green - the most radical departure from the film - 17 years old now and Dr. Allison Reed also returns albeit she's more of a background character now for some unknown reason.

Evolution: the Animated Series introduces to the team gets a Lt. Lucy Mai, a lieutenant that serves as a Special Forces-liaison to the Alienators. To be fair the movie had kind of an anti-military vibe, that's why they added this character to bring another point of view to the characters. At first she's a bit annoying and cold to the team but she warms up to our heroes' unorthodox approaches.

The very annoying General Russell Woodman also comes back and is the man in charge of our team (think Walter Peck in Ghostbusters).

Their first new case has them capture and retrieve a Genus specimen and trapping it in a specific evolutionary stage. Yes. They get their obligatory pet/mascot Slimer-stand in, based on the 3-eyed logo from the movie and series. They dub this slimey creature GASSIE for "Genetically Altered Symbiotic Stasis in Evolution" and will go on to use him to detect other Genus mutations.

The series would go on for 2 seasons from 2001 to 2002 for a total of 26 episodes.

This first volume on DVD collects the 3-parter pilot which kind of forms an animated Evolution movie on its own (also released by itself on a prior home release) as well as the 4th episode of the show.

The pilot is engaging enough that fans of the film might want to check it out even if you don't intend on watching the rest of the cartoon.

The pilot "movie" introduces a more humanoid complex manifestation of the Genus that takes a name, SCOPES, and would go on to become a recurring foe for our heroes. This Scopes is able to also evolve depending on the situation. This villain was actually taken directly from the original script of the then-more serious sci-fi thriller Evolution was. The film was planned to end with this super-intelligent highly-evolved creature instead of the giant amoeba.

Later on Wayne gets infected by the Genus and is able to manifest some strange Jimmy Olsen-esque transformations.

The plot might be a bit childish at times, it might not sport the best animation ever done and the characters kinda look generic at first look, but it's a fun series nonetheless. Also, the creatures designs sort of reminded me of the great Men In Black: the Animated Series from the 1990s.

It's kind of silly at times but actually watchable and sort of fun. It's obviously not meant to be taken seriously at all. Like the movie actually!

Overall, Evolution: the Animated Series is actually pretty enjoyable.

Much better than what it's given credit for!

Like the movie itself, it's a very underrated product, often disregarded as another cheap tie-in knock off. The movie was also ignored a lot, even though I consider it one of my favorite films of 2001!

This first DVD volume only collects the first 4 episodes of the show. Which is a shame, I doubt a lot of people will buy this for their collection they should have gone Complete Series or at least divide it by the two available seasons.

So far only two volumes have been released, and I doubt more will ever come...

The second volume ditch the rest of the episodes - since they would probably never going to cover the entire show with these releases - to only include the 5th and 6th episodes along episodes 24 and 24! If they had to skip the entire series, I wonder why they didn't go for the finale 3-parter episode "Reaper" which would make another sort of-movie on its own. Or why they didn't bother including the last 26th episode and series finale which would have made a great closer...

Oh, well.

It's a fun series I suggest you give a chance! Look it up.

I give it:
2 / 3 Felixes!

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