Evolution (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/06/2001

Four stars out of five
Running time: 103 mins

At last, a summer blockbuster that actually delivers – this is enormously good fun, well-cast, well-acted and serving up the right combination of laughs and thrills. Think Ghostbusters meets Men In Black.

In amongst this year’s crop of summer blockbusters, Evolution is a welcome sight indeed after the twin disappointments of Pearl Harbour and The Mummy Returns, since it delivers everything you could realistically expect from a sci-fi comedy blockbuster.

The movie opens in the desert, with pool-cleaner and would-be fireman Wayne (Seann William Scott, better known as ‘Stifler’ from American Pie) practising to be a fireman with a blow-up doll, a shed and a bucket of lighter fluid. He is rudely interrupted when a meteor crashes and explodes, burying itself deep in the ground. This attracts the attention of Harry Block (Orlando Jones), a scientist at a nearby college, and his friend, science instructor Ira Kane (David Duchovny).

They quickly discover that the meteor contains tiny organisms and that they are evolving at a startling rate, first into single-cell organisms, then flatworms, then all manner of strange creatures. Naturally, as word of the monsters gets out, the army and the government get involved, including accident-prone scientist Allison Reed (Julianne Moore). Soon, however, the creatures are evolving too fast to control and it’s up to our four ‘heroes’ to save the world!

The first thing to say is that the film is perfectly cast. Duchovny and Jones make a great comic double-act, their different styles complementing each other brilliantly and apparently reflecting the genuine friendship between the two men offscreen.

More importantly, there is precisely one gag in the film that knowingly refers to Duchovny’s more famous alien-chasing alter-ego Fox Mulder (from The X-Files), so they get all the benefit of the association with the casting, without over-playing it.

Seann William Scott does his nice-but-dim character shtick to perfection (though this time playing someone his own age for once) and "Academy Award Nominee" Julianne Moore brings a definite air of respectability to the project, tempered by having her constantly falling over things. (This is gleefully demonstrated by the amusingly tongue-in-cheek trailer.) There’s also good support from Ted Levine (as the General), Ethan Supplee and –in case you missed the Ghostbusters connection- Dan Ackroyd as the Mayor.

Director Ivan Reitman has stated that he was a big fan of sci-fi movies as a child and this is evident in the wonderful colours in the movie, particularly in the ‘eco-system’ scenes, with the vibrant red protective suits and the inventive and brightly-coloured creatures resembling Technicolor fifties sci-fi movies such as Forbidden Planet.

The jokes in the movie come thick and fast and there’s a good mixture of smart one-liners, visual jokes and physical comedy. There are also some terrific action set-pieces, such as the pursuit of the creature in the mall. In addition, the whole thing is played with such infectious enthusiasm (illustrated by the sing-along scene in the car) that you gladly go along for the ride. Even the film’s massive product-placement for a well-known item is given the respect it deserves, as is evident by the final destination of the product in question.

In effect, then, this is like Ghostbusters meets Men In Black with bits of Independence Day thrown in, but a lot more fun than either of the latter two movies. It’s the perfect summer blockbuster - an enormously entertaining couple of hours that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Evolution (PG)
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Content updated: 16/10/2017 23:03

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