Moriarty's Mini-EVOLUTON Review!! Talk Back Here!!
Published at: June 9, 2001, 2:40 p.m. CST by staff
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
And Summer 2001 just keeps rolling on, one stunning mediocrity after another. Whoo-hoo!!
So I saw this film last night about a bunch of guys who get together to fight an invasion of powerful forces from beyond our world, wisecracking the whole time, and there's sort of an improbable love story and some pretty good jokes, and in the end they save the world and get covered in goop, and there's a lot of special effects that are, truth be told, pretty state of the art.
If this were the summer of 1984, I'd be talking about GHOSTBUSTERS, and I wouldn't really be talking so much as ranting and shaking you and literally pushing you towards the box office, demanding that you go see for yourself.
But no. It's this summer. And instead I'm here to damn EVOLUTION with faint praise.
The cast is likeable enough, I suppose. Duchovny is amiable, but never once takes center stage the way Bill Murray did so ably with GHOSTBUSTERS. Orlando Jones is cooler than both Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis put together, so I'll give him props for finally having a film role that lets him play as smart as he is in real life. If anyone should walk away from this film with their personal stock on the rise, it's Jones. Sean William Scott is fine, and there's one scene in particular (in the mall) where he does a good job. Julianne Moore makes me think terribly dirty things even when she's just standing around or falling down.
There's no real friction or spark here, though. No one really brings the whole thing to life. No one makes me believe that this is real to them. GALAXY QUEST actually featured better ensemble work, and a more dedicated cast selling us a fantastic premise.
Ivan Reitman... ummm... it's better work than what he's been turning in lately, but that's not saying much. He nails some scenes, while others spin out in some odd, muted, half-funny tone that never gels. The film feels like something he just sort of walked through.
The script is lazy. So... so... so lazy. One really kick-ass polish could have elevated this to something worthwhile, something that lived up to the promise of the premise and the people involved.
Now, that's not to say this was awful, either. There are scenes I enjoyed. There are some good laughs along the way. I'm impressed by all of the FX work in the movie, and the creature designs are pretty fun. For those reasons alone, I'd say it stands head and shoulders (pun intended) above the crap we've had to sit through in the last month.
But will it stick? Will it stand up to repeated viewings?
No. And that's a damn shame.
I notice that in the TALK BACK, someone says, "But it's not GHOSTBUSTERS." It sure wants to be. It's a slavish imitation of that film in structure and tone. Defending it by saying it's different would be possible if it actually were different. It's not, though. Not nearly enough to stand on its own. This is a case of a director who has been floundering around in seach of a hit for some time now taking Don Jakoby's script that was originally meant to be played straight and bending it (with the help of Diamond and Wiseman, the very lazy writers who also half-assed Brett Ratner's FAMILY MAN) to match a previous hit. If you genuinely don't think Reitman's number one goal here was to rip off his own success, then you're a kind soul with a generous heart who should never visit LA... ever.
And someone else asked why I didn't go more into depth on the film. I don't think this is a movie that merits that much attention or discussion. The premise takes all of about 30 seconds to comprehend (something falls to earth and little nasties grow into bigger nasties while the smart ass heroes fight both the creatures and some uptight authority figures) and never does anything clever or involving beyond that.