ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  ivan reitman

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  101 minutes

RELEASED  -  8 june 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  evolution

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $80,000,000
evolution - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from evolution at

buy the dvd from evolution at

a firefighting cadet, two college professors, and a geeky-but-sexy government scientist work against an alien organism that has been rapidly evolving ever since its arrival on earth inside a meteor.

the film was originally written as a serious horror sci-fi, until ivan reitman stepped in and re-wrote much of the script.


picture from evolution

picture from evolution

picture from evolution


zero out of four possible stars

Want to know how to make a funny movie that's not funny? Go see Evolution, the almost laugh-free movie from Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman. Unrealistic special effects and a slew of actors who have no talent for humor (excepting Orlando Jones) make this film fall flat. The movie looks like it was made in two weeks and the special effects look like they were stolen from Jurassic Park; those effects just aren't unique.

Evolution tells the tale of a rag-tag group of scientists who discover a meteor whose contents are filled with rapidly evolving single celled organisms. It's up to the scientists to save the world from this menace before the idiotic army nuts blow the place to smithereens and cause a catastrophic evolutionary event. But there are a lot of problems with this seemingly simple premise. Probably the largest flaw in the movie is that Julianne Moore and David Duchovny have no talent for comedy. Duchovny sometimes is able to pull off a comedic moment, but in this film, where he is one of the lead actors, his performance was just kind of bland.

Orlando Jones has such a better hold on comedic timing and jokes that duchovny's performance would have been better (even funnier, maybe) if he'd played the part straight. But he didn't. Throughout the film he has several poor attempts at humor that just aren't funny. Didn't they notice this in the test screenings or something? There were several moments in the movie when duchovny was attempting some sort of joke, but no one in the audience was laughing. And the same thing happened during much of Julianne Moore's performance. She plays a clumsy woman who works for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Throughout the movie, moore can be seen falling down by stepping on her own feet, dropping papers and files, and running into doors.

But her character's psyche doesn't reflect this clumsiness. It's like she's clumsy for 50 percent of the time, and just a normal person for the other half. And when she does drop stuff or run into doors it's really not that funny. But she was almost hilarious in 1998's The Big Lebowski. How is this possible? It's very simple, really. in lebowski, moore plays her character straight in an absurdly comedic world, making her performance very funny (think Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black). But when she actually tries to be funny and comedic, it just doesn't work. It's the same with duchovny's performance. These two actors just shouldn't try so hard to be funny.

Another element of moore and duchovny's performances that was flat was their relationship. Of course, Duchovny "gets the girl" in the end, but that conclusion just didn't match the tone of the film. There was too much slapstick comedy to take the relationship seriously. And therein lies the inherent problem in this story. The filmmakers tried to make a science fiction film that strikes a balance between the serious and the absurd, but fails miserably. The serious moments aren't serious and the funny moments aren't funny, leaving the entire film to sag in the middle.

Perhaps the only redeeming element to this film is Orlando Jones's character, Harry Block. Whenever there was a funny moment in this film, Jones was behind it. He has a good sense of comedic timing and in the film, was able to say a lot with just a look or a quick phrase. His delivery was funny and enjoyable. also funny, but not a comedic great, was Seann William Scott's character of "Wayne Green." Through mostly physical comedy, scott's character was able to elicit a few laughs from me. But I swear, if I have to see him say "that's like a big loogi" (spelling?) one more time on the trailer for the film, I'm going to throw something at my television.

Now I'd like to say a little bit on the special effects of the film. The effects weren't consistent throughout the movie. For example, during one sequence, a group of middle-aged women find a dog-looking alien in a broom closet. It is hard to tell whether the alien is a real puppet or if it is computer generated. But in another part of the film, a large pterodactyl looking alien swoops around a crowded mall. Although the pterodactyl is real enough looking, the poor innocent bystander that he picks up as he flies through a department store looks very poorly animated. It's like the pterodactyl is real and he's carrying a dummy instead of a real woman. This inconsistency in the special effects made me keep realizing that I was in a theater watching a movie. It was too hard to just get carried away by the film and forget that I was in a theater.

I suggest waiting for blockbuster video to rent this sucker out before you see it.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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