Evolution (2001) – Ivan Reitman

The next title to be featured in the Dragons & Dinosaurs chapter of DK Canada’s immensely entertaining Monsters in the Movies is the science fiction comedy, Evolution.

Starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, and Julianne Moore, Reitman’s underdog scientists not only have to take on the government in the form of Ted Levine’s General Woodman, but also an evolving alien species after a meteor comes down and releases a quickly developing biosphere and lifeforms that could take over the entire planet.

Arguably, the big flying creatures in the film aren’t arguably dragons, but who says they aren’t if such a creature never existed in the first place? The practical effects are solid, some of the computer generated effects haven’t aged so well, but the chemistry between Moore, Duchovny and Jones is a lot of fun.

Perhaps Reitman was hoping to do a bit of an alien riff on Ghostbusters, even slipping Dan Akroyd into the cast, but, honestly, nothing can touch that classic. Still, there are a lot of laugh out loud moments through the film, and I remember when it first debuted on home video, my co-workers and I couldn’t get enough of it, and its dialogue ended up quoted… a lot.

evolution

Jones and Duchovny play a pair of working class scientists, Harry and Ira respectively, at a local community college who get tangled up in the meteorite landing, and clash with Woodman over how to handle the constantly adapting and growing life forms within it.

There are a lot of jokes, and not all of them work, and honestly Sean William Scott feels like a bit of a miscast here. I get that he was hot at the time, but that doesn’t necessarily translate. He had one form of shtick, and it got pretty tiresome, still you can see that he’s trying (a little) in this film.

It’s just a real joy to watch Jones and Duchovny together as there is a sense of friendship as they banter together, and there are so many little throwaway lines that just make this one a lot of fun.

It had been awhile since I had seen it, so there were a few moments I’d forgotten, but overall the film remains a fun, goofy diversion that shows that Reitman knows comedy, and that Duchovny and Jones need to make another buddy picture.

There is some solid practical effects work throughout the film, but they are overshadowed, literally, by the events of the climax as Woodman wants to use napalm, and our heroes have a more interesting choice.

I can’t wait to see what DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies brings me next as I move on to the next chapter… Monstrous Apes!

duchovnyebolution

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