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[personal profile] innocent_man
Evolution is a silly comedy in the spirit of Ghostbusters, but without nearly the skill or wit, starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Juliane Moore and Seannnnn Willllliammm Scotttt, and directed by Ivan Reitman.

Duchovny and Jones are college professors at a community college in a small town in Arizona. Jones, who is the local rep for the USGS, goes out to investigate a meteor strike (and takes his colleague Ira Kane (Duchovny) along "in case I actually have to do something scientific"; he's the Venkman of the group). Turns out the meteor is filled with a blue goo teeming with single-celled organisms, that rapidly evolve into mutli-celled, then flatworms, then insects, birds, reptiles...and they're spreading.

The army, led by General Woodman (Ted Levine) and with a CDC rep in tow (Moore), rolls in and seals the area off, but not very well. The creatures are spreading, and it's up to Kane, Block (Jones), Reed (Moore) and a local firefighter cadet Wayne Gray (Scott) to fight the aliens and kill them! With a...fire truck full of shampoo.

OK, unlike Ghostbusters, which had a problem and a solution full of psuedoscience that it didn't even try to explain, Evolution actually tries to make a shred of sense, and there it fails miserably. The third act is appalling in its laziness - the aliens grow and evolve in response to fire, so Jones just lights up a cigarette (despite not being a smoker) and tosses the match. This is utterly unrealistic; adults do not spontaneously start smoking because there is no pleasure in smoking unless you already have a standing addiction, and the only way to get that is to become hooked as an idiot teenager.

Ahem. Seem to have wandered a bit. No, really, it's just a contrived way to set the aliens on fire because that shows our heroes that the general's plan to napalm them is a mistake. Also, Duchovny's realization that because moving two down and one over from carbon on the periodic table gives you arsenic (poison to us), doing the same thing for nitrogen gives you the aliens' poison (since they're nitrogen-based, and that makes selenium their poison). Kind of a strange leap to make, and I'm pretty sure that if the screenwriters had consulted Dan Ackroyd (on hand to play the governor of Arizona), he might have been able to come up with a more elegant means of destroying the aliens, or point them toward someone who could.

But for all that, the movie is fun. Jones, Duchovny, Moore and even Scott have some nice chemistry between them, and they seem to be having fun. Yes, there are perhaps more butt and fart jokes than I need, but there are also a couple of decent chuckles, and although the special effects having aged especially well, the creatures look pretty cool in places. It's not high art, but it's not terrible.

My grade: C+
Rewatch value: Medium high

Next up: The Expendables

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January 2013

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