Plot: What’s it about?
Evolution is kind of what Men In Black would have been, had it been a disaster. I don’t know if I could call Evolution a disaster, as it did have some funny moments in it. However, one-half of the major cast (4) are noted as serious actors. David Duchovny made his name on the Television show The X-Files and has just now started doing some more movies. And Julianne Moore has always been a serious actress (at least I can’t recall her doing any lighter movies). The other half of the cast is more known for their comedy, though. Orlando Jones, who cracks me up when I look at him, has been in his share of movies and I’m a real fan of his work. He seems to have a Jim Carrey quality to him, however, in the sense that he wants to show people that he’s a serious actor and not just some comic out to make a quick buck. This leaves us with Seann William Scott (that guy). Scott has parlayed his acting career from one character. This has been done before, mind you; but his typical locked-jaw type of speech seems to get real old real quick and this movie is no exception. But let’s put the cast aside for a few minutes and see how they work and what the movie is all about.
The premise is quite simple, actually, a meteor lands in a remote Arizona town (why do they always land in Arizona) and is buried some 80 feet below the surface. But it has landed in a cave that spawns for a few miles and eventually reaches the ocean. A local professor of Geology named Harry (Orlando Jones) is also a representative of the United States Geological Survey and is sent to investigate. Harry also takes along friend and professor of Biology, Ira (David Duchovny). Upon their examination, they see that the form of life that they have recovered is actually starting to evolve at an exponential rate. It’s then that we see Allison (Julianne Moore), who is from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and then the operation is quickly taken over by the military led by General Woodward (Ted Levine). As the creatures start to evolve, they cannot sustain life in the presence of Oxygen, so they start to adapt. The danger of them adapting is that they will take over the Earth and all of us will die. Now we can’t have that, can we? Of course not. So we do what we do best…kill the aliens! Naturally, the military wants to nuke everything and the scientists have figured out a better way to end the threat, but they might be too late. You’ll have to watch to see the exciting conclusion.
The thing that can best sum up Evolution is that it really could have been a great movie (like Men in Black). It features a great cast, fairly decent special effects and a believable storyline. But somewhere along the way, it got lost and lost its focus. It was still enjoyable to watch and I’ll probably do so again, but Julianne Moore (who looks just a bit too much like Duchovny’s partner on The X-Files) was totally underused here, thereby leaving the humor to Seann William Scott, Orlando Jones and Duchovny. And we all know Duchovny’s humor is dry as a bone (which some people just don’t seem to get). The real comic relief comes from Deke (Ethan Suplee) and his pal Danny (Michal Ray Bower) who play local mouth-hanger college boys (who also come up with the ultimate plan to eliminate the aliens). Give Evolution a try, you might like it, I found it entertaining but somewhat lacking. In the future I might stick with Men in Black, but this may be right up your alley.
Video: How does it look?
Evolution is another fine example of what Dreamworks discs look like. The 1.85: 1 anamorphic image is truly splendid at times, as can be expected with a new release to DVD. There is little edge enhancement to deter from the little CGI critters, and the level of detail is absolutely stunning. There were a few spots in which I noticed a bit of dirt on the print and a few scenes where there was a bit of shimmering, but on the whole, it is another fine disc that has been given a good treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
Again, like most Dreamworks discs, there are two 5.1 audio options. The DTS track is the one I chose initially and right off the bat I was stunned at the level of ambiance that the disc has. The opening scene in which the meteor hits the ground absolutely shakes the room when it hits. There are several very discrete surround effects as well, that indicates that something is always scurrying about during the course of this movie. The Dolby Digital track is almost as superb as the DTS, but as per usual, the Dolby has more bang, but not as much ambiance. In either case, whichever track you choose, you’ll be happy. A Dolby Surround track is also included, as is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Evolution has a few extras, which is more than a lot of new movies get treated to. I do have to say, though, that there is in fact a commentary track with Ivan Reitman, David Duchovny, Seann William Scott and Orlando Jones. However, this track is listed on the box and on the menus as "A Conversation with…". This leads us to believe that it might be a featurette or something, but it is indeed a commentary track. I wonder why they chose to present it this way, as a commentary track is sometimes the selling point of a questionable disc. In any case, it’s a good track and very informative from all the participants. Some storyboards are included, showing their initial concepts to what they look like on the "final product". I’m always amazed how exact the storyboards are when compared to the final movie. Some deleted scenes are also included, but nothing that I would have cut out of the movie. The film doesn’t run that long to begin with, so I say…include them! A visual effects featurette is also included and is very informative. While some may think that this is just your run of the mill featurette, I’m always amazed at how much work goes into the visual effects. Check this out! Also included are the production notes, cast bios and a theatrical trailer.