Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evolution


  "From the makers of Ghostbusters" seems to be the first and only thing people saw about this movie before so harshly judging it. They saw a sci-fi comedy with a makeshift team of heroes fighting an otherworldly menace, and they couldn't get over those completely benign similarities to Ghostbusters. People going so far as to call this movie a rip off of Ghostbusters, or at the very least trying to copy it's success. Boy do I feel sorry for those people. Because beyond their own hardly formed opinions, lies a very fun and original movie that's funnier than 90% of comedies cranked out on regular basis. Director Ivan Reitman has a knack for movies like this. Does that mean he's ripping off his own prior work? No. This movie is so far removed from Ghostbusters, it'd be hard to even call it a riff on the same idea.

  What Evolution is, is just lots and lots of fun. It's easy to get caught up in these characters because they're so damn funny. This is my favorite David Duchovny since The X-Files. Orlando Jones is given a character he can really make his own, which... is truly a highlight of the movie. He's hilarious. In fact, all the leads are. They're great. Perfectly cast. They're also capable of taking things serious when necessary, because the story is only a vehicle for the comedy. It gets pretty serious at times. No less than Back to the Future, or even, yes, Ghostbusters. I compare those movies to Evolution as a compliment. Both movies are hilarious, but their story is still serious and intense. None of these movies are spoofs or slapstick. Evolution is no exception. It strikes that perfect balance of sci-fi seriousness and genuine comedy. It's honestly fantastic.

  The movie also looks great. On a technical level, it's designed extremely well. The special effects team were tasked with creating a wholly alien ecosystem that is not only plausible, but visually striking and imaginative. Boy, did they succeed, and with flying colors no less. The scenes with creatures and alien environments are so visually interesting, they well and truly capture the imagination. This alone goes above and beyond the call of duty for a simple sci-fi comedy. It's so damn cool, even almost a decade after it's release. On the flip-side, the humor is every bit as engaging and effective as it's special effects and production design.  This is one of the very few movies that make me laugh my ass off from start to finish. I could quote this movie nonstop. All of the leads act very well off of each other. The quartet of Duchovny, Jones, William Scott, and Moore is amazing. All of them get their moment to shine, and each character is just loads of fun to watch.

  Evolution is a simple movie when all is said and done. It never seemed like it was going to be met with much fanfare, which is also sad because it deserved it. The downside to this movie is that it's lacking a certain spark that would ensure the 'classic' status that Ghostbusters achieved. Though don't ask me exactly what that spark is. As far as I'm concerned, the movie works on every conceivable level.  It's nothing more than a fun matinee movie. The kind of movie I'd love to watch with friends. It'd make a great double feature with a movie like Galaxy Quest. This movie is infectiously fun. Each time I watch it, and I've seen it like five times, it's like I'm seeing it for the first time. Every joke is just as funny, and every intense scene is just a thrilling. From chasing a flying Pterodactyl-esque alien lizard thing through a shopping mall, to navigating the underground alien ecosystem, the movie doesn't skimp on outright awesome moments.

  There's not much left to dissect because I virtually have no complaints about the movie. The writing, acting, humor, action, and pacing are all impeccable. Some people may facepalm at the end of the movie, but I think it fits the tone of the rest of the movie. If anything it just makes me smile. The movie isn't clever enough to be satirical, but it's smart enough to stick to what it's good at and avoid falling flat on it's face. Similar to how Stephen Sommers' Deep Rising knew it was contrived and silly, and managed to be all the more fun for it. Thankfully, Evolution isn't contrived, and if it's silly, it's only by design. I can't compliment the movie enough, yet if I compliment it too much... I'll make it out to be a masterpiece. I'm sure it's flawed, I'm sure of it. I'm just always having too much fun to even notice if it is or not. This movie makes me smile from start to finish.
A good time to be had by all, and not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. Evolution is just plain fun.

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