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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Evolution (2001)




This movie has always confused me. I remember seeing it in the theater and enjoying the heck out of it. It has also held up nicely on each subsequent viewing. But It was a commercial failure and many other horror/sci-fi fans that I mention the movie too seem to hate it. I guess you should take everything I say here with a grain of salt. Time to jump in and talk about Evolution… the movie not the thing that makes people homeschool their kids.

A meteor crashes to Earth smashing its way into a cavern below the desert. A couple of professors, Ira and Harry, from a small local college are sent to check out the meteor and collect samples. They do that and soon discover that there is some alien life form growing on what they collected at an incredibly accelerated rate. By the time they return to the site the government has taken over and it is locked down by the military. This leads to some conflict since Ira used to work for them and doesn’t have a great reputation due to slight a miscalculation with some injections. After meeting the scientific team lead by a clumsy woman, Allison (played by Julianne Moore), they are kicked off site and told not to come back.

Hijinks ensue when their research is stolen by the military and the pair break back in to collect more samples to replace what was taken. When they get to the cavern they are greeted by an ecosystem populated by advanced lifeforms. Of course, they are caught and booted out again but not until the facility is attacked by some angry alien primates. Even though the military thinks they have it contained the aliens get out and start wandering around the nearby community. This leads to the decision to napalm them all, which of course backfires. It is up to our heroes to save the day with the help of some goofy college students, a want to be firefighter (Sean William Scott in one of his less annoying roles), and Allison.

I’m not sure what there is here not to like. You have an excellent cast with David Duchovny and Orlando Jones playing our leads Ira and Harry. Julianne Moore is great in her role as the scientist Allison who keeps tripping and falling in some genuinely funny pratfalls. Who knew she could so well with physical comedy? And like I’ve already mentioned Seann William Scott isn’t annoying! This cast provides some great laughs and of course Duchovny acknowledges his X-Files history in a funny but subtle way. Maybe the best bit is provided by Jones when his character is “assaulted” by an alien insect. There are a couple great lines that still work after having seen the movie several times.

I really like the creature design. 
There are a lot of different aliens in the movie. I mean they are evolving at an accelerated rate so we get everything from one celled organisms to alien primates, flying lizard/dinosaur things, and an assortment of creepy bugs. While they are mostly played for laughs there is still a body count involved with the shenanigans, though not explicitly shown on screen. This one is definitely more comedy than it is horror. I should also mention that most of the creatures are brought to life with CGI. Maybe it is because it is so alien looking but I think that it holds up pretty well. I’d would have liked to have seen more practical work, but with this many creatures it wasn’t possible without spending a fortune.

Evolution isn’t a perfect flick, but I dig it. For a silly little monster movie, you can do much worse. Really trust me you could do so much worse. If you are in the mood for some laughs and creatures, then this is what you need. I recommend it.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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