Evolution (film)

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Evolution
Evolution movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Daniel Goldberg
Joe Medjuck
Ivan Reitman
Screenplay by David Diamond
David Weissman
Don Jakoby
Story by Don Jakoby
Starring David Duchovny
Orlando Jones
Seann William Scott
Julianne Moore
Music by John Powell
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Production
company
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
(North America)
Columbia Pictures
(International)
Release dates
  • June 8, 2001 (2001-06-08)
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million
Box office $98,376,292

Evolution is a 2001 American science fiction comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott, Julianne Moore and Ted Levine. In the United States, it was released by DreamWorks and internationally, by Columbia Pictures.

The plot of the film follows college professor Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and geologist Harry Block (Orlando Jones) who investigate a meteor crash in Arizona. They discover that the meteor is harboring extraterrestrial life which is evolving very quickly into large, diverse and outlandish creatures.

Evolution was based on a story by Don Jakoby, who converted it into a screenplay along with David Diamond and David Weissman. The movie was originally written as a serious horror science fiction film, until director Ivan Reitman re-wrote much of the script. Shooting took place in California with an $80 million budget and the film was released in the United States on June 8, 2001. The movie grossed $98,376,292 internationally. Reviews for the film were mixed, as the movie review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 43% positive rating.

A short-lived animated series, Alienators: Evolution Continues, loosely based on the film, was broadcast months after the movie was released.

Plot[edit]

Wayne Grey (Seann William Scott), a fireman trainee practicing in a shack in the desert near Glen Canyon, Arizona, sees a meteor strike his car and land in an underground cavern. College professor Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and his colleague, geology professor Harry Block (Orlando Jones), investigate, taking a sample of strange blue liquid that oozes from it. Ira discovers that it harbors extraterrestrial single-celled nitrogen-based organisms multiplying exponentially, condensing millions of years of evolution within a matter of hours. The next day, they take the science class to survey the meteor site and find it already surrounded by evolved oxygen-converting fungi and alien flatworms, later discovering the cells and organisms reproduce rapidly through mitosis.

Soon, the site is sealed off by the Army, who set up a base. Ira and Harry take General Russell Woodman (Ted Levine) and the clumsy Dr. Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) to court for the right to be part of the research of their discovery, but their efforts fail when it's revealed Ira was discharged from the army after creating an anthrax vaccine that led to terribly debilitating side effects, which the soldiers dubbed "The Kane Madness". Woodman steals Ira and Harry's research, forcing them to infiltrate the base to get another sample; they find an alien rainforest teeming with life. They are caught by Allison as an alien fly gets inside Harry's body; they are forced to reactally remove the fly, which then dies.

Wayne arrives at the college and shows the two the dead body of an amphibian alien which killed a country club owner; they later investigate an animal attack, finding another dead alien. They find a valley behind the home filled with dead flying dinosaur-like creatures; Ira and Harry theorize the aliens are spreading through the caves connected to the main cavern, but can't breathe oxygen. One of the creatures spits out a newborn, which is oxygen-tolerant. It attacks a mall, where it nearly takes a shoplifter for a meal; however, Ira, Harry and Wayne shoot it to death.

Unfotunately, other alien encouters have made the news; this forces the Governor of Arizona (Dan Aykroyd) to demand answers. Allison explains the aliens will engulf the United States in two months. Woodman attempts to blame Ira, when he, Harry and Wayne arrive. However, the governor demands a solution; Woodman suggests evacuating the area and burn the aliens with napalm. At that moment, Primate-like aliens attack them, but are fought off. The shaken governor approves Woodman's plan against protests from Ira and Allison that they don't know how the aliens will react. Allison quits the CDC and leaves the site, procuring Ira's original research and samples for him.

At the college, Harry accidentally tosses a match into a petri dish of alien liquid, causing a mass of flesh to rapidly grow from it. Ira realizes heat causes the aliens to evolve, and the meteor crashing to earth activated the alien DNA. Alison attempts to warn Woodman, but he ignores her call. Looking at the positions of nitrogen and carbon on the periodic table, Ira theorizes selenium might be poisonous to the aliens, since they are nitrogen-based, as arsenic is poisonous to Earth's carbon life. Ira's dumbest students Deke and Danny (Ethan Suplee and Michael Ray Bower) recall selenium sulfide is the active ingredient in Head & Shoulders, so the team procures a firetruck and fills it with the shampoo.

Woodman's napalm strike causes the aliens to merge into a gigantic amoeba-like organism. As it prepares to divide, the team drives under the organism, finds what looks like its rectal hole, and Harry (seeking revenge for the fly incident) pumps a firehose of shampoo into the alien, causing it to explode. Governor Lewis declares Ira, Harry, Wayne and Allison heroes, making Wayne an honorary firefighter while Ira and Allison skip the festivities for romance in the fire truck. Later, Harry, Ira and Wayne promote Head & Shoulders for both hair care and fighting aliens.

Production[edit]

The three-eyed smiley face used as the logo of the film in marketing was borrowed from the comic book Transmetropolitan. Producers had to get permission from DC Comics to use it and were licensed by Smileyworld Ltd., owner of the smiley face trademark, to use it for advertising and commercial purposes.

During the lengthy shooting in Page, Arizona, Dan Aykroyd entertained locals by checking ID cards for guests at a bar, greeting people at Wal-Mart, and visiting locals for a cup of coffee in their homes. Because the film was shot (but not set) in December, DreamWorks asked the locals to delay putting up their Christmas decorations. Following the shoot, DreamWorks paid the city employees overtime to decorate the town in time for Christmas.

All of the on-campus, classroom, lab and professor's office scenes were filmed at California State University, Fullerton, in Fullerton, California. The building used for the movie was Miles D. McCarthy Hall, which is home to the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.

The clumsiness of Julianne Moore's character was her idea. The three main male characters perform a commercial for Head & Shoulders at the end of the movie; Ivan Reitman's son Jason came up with the idea. As part of the commercial they each hold out a bottle of Head & Shoulders. Harry Block (Orlando Jones) holds his out backwards.

Cast[edit]

Kyle Gass, Sarah Silverman, Richard Moll, Tom Davis, Jerry Trainor, Miriam Flynn, Caroline Reitman and John Cho have cameo appearances.

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's music score was composed by John Powell, conducted by Gavin Greenaway, and performed by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. The soundtrack to Evolution was released on June 12, 2001 and is available on Varèse Sarabande.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "The Meteor"   John Powell 0:53
2. "Cells Divide"   John Powell 1:23
3. "In the Hall by the Pool"   John Powell 1:42
4. "The Army Arrives"   John Powell 1:08
5. "The Ira Kane?"   John Powell 1:12
6. "Fruit Basket for Russell Woodman"   John Powell 0:44
7. "The Water Hazard"   John Powell 0:46
8. "Burgled"   John Powell 1:14
9. "The Forest"   John Powell 2:11
10. "The Cave Waltz"   John Powell 1:02
11. "Blue Fly"   John Powell 1:27
12. "Cutie Pie"   John Powell 2:18
13. "Animal Attack"   John Powell 1:10
14. "Dino Valley"   John Powell 2:04
15. "The Mall Chase"   John Powell 4:32
16. "Monitors Out"   John Powell 2:40
17. "Room for One More"   John Powell 1:28
18. "Fire"   John Powell 0:42
19. "Selenium"   John Powell 1:08
20. "The Firetruck"   John Powell 2:29
21. "The Amoeba Emerges"   John Powell 2:14
22. "To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before"   John Powell 3:28
23. "Our Heroes"   John Powell 2:22
Total length:
35:45[1]
Title Artist Written by
Bombshell Powerman 5000 Mike Tempesta and Michael Cummings
Out with a Bang Matt Mahaffey Matt Mahaffey
Anyway the Main Thing Is Patty Larkin Patty Larkin
Borderline Buckcherry Josh Todd, Jonathan 'JB' Brighman, Keith Nelson and Devon Glenn
Baby, Come On Over Samantha Mumba Samantha Mumba, Arnthor Birgisson and Anders Bagge
Work It Out Brassy Muffin Spencer, Stefan Gordon, Jonny Barrington and Karen Frost
Makin' Whoopee Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn
Parking Lot Morgan Nagler
You Are So Beautiful Dennis Wilson, Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston
Play That Funky Music Wild Cherry (band) Rob Parissi

Soundtrack references:[2][3]

Reception[edit]

At the time of release, the film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 43% based on 134 reviews, with an average score of 4.9/10.[4] The consensus on the site states, "Director Reitman tries to remake Ghostbusters, but his efforts are largely unsuccessful because the movie has too many comedic misfires." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 40 (out of 100), based on 32 reviews.[5]

TV series[edit]

Evolution was made into an animated series in 2001 to 2002 called Alienators: Evolution Continues on Fox Kids.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evolution Soundtrack SoundtrackINFO. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2013
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251075/soundtrack
  3. ^ http://www.what-song.com/Movies/Soundtrack/620/Evolution
  4. ^ "Evolution". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Evolution". Metacritic. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]