In the middle of a summer night, a large meteor slams into the Arizona
desert. When Dr. Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and Dr. Harold Block (Orlando
Jones) from the local community college investigate the crash site, they
find the meteor is oozing a substance that contains one-celled organisms.
After being taken back to the lab, the single-celled creatures become
multiple-celled organisms, an evolution that took creatures on this planet
millions of years to achieve. Eager to retrieve more information from
the meteor's crash site, Dr. Blake and Dr. Kane return only to find that
the U.S. Army has sealed it off from them and everyone else.
Starring: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore,
and Orlando Jones
The Army has enlisted the help of Dr. Allison Reed (Julianne Moore),
who works for the Center for Disease Control, to help them assess what
they're dealing with. Kane and Block demand to be let back into the site,
but are denied by General Woodman (Ted Levine), who has worked with Dr.
Kane in the past. Eventually, the alien life forms take on larger and
more complex shapes and start attacking the local residents, including
a hilarious scene in a shopping mall.
This type of "invasion by an unknown commodity" comedy
has been done before, in such movies as Men in Black and Ghostbusters (which
was also directed by Ivan Reitman), but this movie has a few nice gimmicks
and performances that keep it from being totally redundant. David Duchovny
has fun with his character and manages to poke fun at his Agent Mulder
persona at the same time. Julianne Moore is likeably humorous as the prat-falling
Dr. Reed. Orlando Jones, however, is the movie's saving grace as Dr. Block.
His performance provides the movie's biggest laughs.
For a comedy, the film has some eye-popping special effects work. A scene
that showcases the different life forms at the crash site is a tour de
force of computer generated special effects. A tip of the hat to Phil
Tippett, who's worked on films like Star Wars, Starship Troopers and Jurassic
Park, is definitely in order.
Evolution didn't set the box office on fire when it was released earlier
this summer, but it is worth catching at the bargain theater or when it
appears on video. It's a funny, if somewhat average, sci-fi comedy.
Levine, who plays General Woodman, played "Buffalo Bill" in
The Silence of the Lambs. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)