Forgotten Films: Evolution (2001)
This is the 73rd in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
Up this week we have an Ivan Reitman film that died at the box office. I am not sure why it died, it is funny and somewhat inventive, but it did. I am talking EVOLUTION which came out in June 2001, while I was unemployed for the first time in my life since I left college so I did not get around to seeing it. Later I missed it on the cable channels. And I do not remember much advertising or hype for it so it ran well below my radar.
I like the stars of the film: David Duchovny (Dr. Ira Kane) was still in his run of THE X FILES; Julianne Moore (Dr. Allison Reed) had made several well received films that I enjoyed; Orlando Jones (Dr. Harry Block) had worked in MAGNOLIA and on MAD TV.
The plot is similar to other Reitman films. A meteor falls to Earth and as the local rep from the US Geological Society; Dr. Harry Block gets called out to investigate. He takes Dr. Kane with him. The two are teachers at an Arizona Community College where they are dead ended. At the crash site they find Wayne Grey (Seann William Scott), a local pool boy at the country club trying to pass his fire fighter exams.
In the meteor crater, Harry and Ira find a bog rock oozing some liquid. They take samples and head back to the community college. Harry is coaching his women’s volleyball team while Ira is doing research. Ira finds single cell life in the sample and brings Harry to show it. But by the time Harry arrives, the sample has evolved into a multi-cellular organism. The two begin to see Nobel Prizes in their future. They bring their students out on a field trip to help remove the rock to the college.
Here they discover that the cellular creatures have become worm-like life which breathes a methane atmosphere. Suddenly things are evolving rapidly. The military and government soon come on the scene and Ira’s past relationship with the military is revealed (and it was not good). The military had tapped his computer and found out about the meteor and its developing life forms.
Along with the military comes the CDC and Dr. Allison Reed, a red headed nerdy scientist with a clumsy demeanor. Ira falls for her immediately.
The creatures begin evolving rapidly and suddenly there are dinosaurs in Arizona, and they do not like being contained. There is a cave system throughout the area where the meteor landed and they have escaped into it. There is a wonderful seen of a pterodactyl type creature terrorizing a mall while the intrepid Ira and Harry and Wayne now hunt it down with shotguns.
There are fun episodes after this, particularly when Dan Ackroyd as the Governor shows up. Plans are made to destroy the creatures, but these plans are exactly the wrong things to be done. Ira and Harry discover the real weaknesses and prevent Armageddon. Quite a bit of this is a rehash from GHOSTBUSTERS, but it worked there and it does OK here.
All in all, I enjoyed the film quite a bit. I like the various creatures developed for this new evolutionary system, though a couple where just bad visual puns.
The film is available pretty inexpensively from the usual internet sources and is worth a watch if you have not seen it.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.