Published on June 1st, 2008 | by simeon0
Charles Darwin once published a very controversial series of essays titled “On the Origin of Species”. The works was based on his studies of nature in the Galapagos Islands and formed the basis for the modern study of evolution and species.
In 20001 Director Ivan Reitman, who brought such Blockbusters as “Ghostbusters” and “Twins” to the silver screen gives us a look at evolution on a cosmic basis and how the rules on Earth may not apply elsewhere in the universe in his new film “Evolution”
The films star David Duchovny of the X-Files as Ira Kane a once prominent government scientist who has fallen from grace and ends up teaching at a small community college in Arizona. Ira is making the best of his situation and spends his days dispensing knowledge while grading with a very liberal grading curve to the delight of his students.
Ira’s day takes a slight detour when his fellow teacher, and college Womans Volleyball coach, Harry Block (Orlando Jones of Mad TV) tells his that he has been assigned to check out a meteor that has crashed nearby, and that he would like Ira to come along.
Before long, Ira and Harry discover that the meteor is something out of the ordinary, as it contains alien microbes that evolve at a rapid pace. With visions of fame and fortune in their heads, the two conduct their studies in secret, less they have to share their Noble Prize.
Before viewers know it, The Military gets wind of the site and steps in to take control of the situation. Matters are complicated for Ira and Harry when the General in charge of the site, General Woodman, (Ted Levine) is a former colleague of Ira’s who remembers all to well Ira fell from grace.
Heading the research team is Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) a klutzy yet brilliant scientist who sees the meteor as the find of a lifetime. It does not take long for the Government to be in way over their heads, as the microbes evolve at a rapid pace and soon, nasty life forms are starting to sprout up all over town, at a pace that will have the new life forms in control of the entire country in just two months.
Not content to let the Aliens take the planet, General Woodman, and the Governor (Dan Aykroyd) decide to blow them all sky high, despite Ira’s warning that the heat in the explosions will only make the life forms grow even faster.
With the destruction of humanity evident, it is up to Ira, Harry, Allison, and a vapid fireman hopeful, Wayne Green (Sean William Scott to save the day.
The film does have its funny moments, but there are some big lags between the jokes, and the characters never seem to gel. Duchovny and Jones work well with one another, but Moore seems to be there to only be the love interest as her character provides little to the film. Scott also suffers the same fate as Wayne is little more than comic relief and onboard to play the loser, who is the wrong guy in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more story to the film as despite the rapid evolution of the creatures, we did not see much menace from them, unless you count mall shoppers being buzzed by a flying life form, menace terror. It seems that Reitman was trying to do a homage to the old Alien invasion flicks of the 50’s but those films always had images of the mass destruction and terror caused by the creatures and this film had little of that.
I discovered that the film was planned to be a serious film but had the tone lightened significantly when Reitman came on board. What could have been a comedy/sci-fi classic quickly becomes an exercise in waiting for the jokes in between special effects that are not so special. If “Evolution” is any indication of the films being offered to David Duchovny, then perhaps he might want to rethink his decision to leave the X-Files less he becomes the next David Caruso.
One can only hope that Darwin was right about only the strong surviving, and that “Evolution” will wither on the vine, as the film is disaster, that is badly in need of evolving a better story, dialogue, and more substantial parts for the very talented cast
2.5 stars out of 5