Film Review: Evolution

To this day I am still not exactly sure if Evolution is meant to be a serious alien comedy or a parodying spoof. I think I have this problem because the tone of the film is one that feels almost as if they are making a joke of a joke, and therefore, you never quite feel fully trusting of it. Nethertheless though, I still thoroughly enjoy it.

I do wonder though if my mistrust in its intentions is actually born out of the fact that for every hyper real situation, plot hole or clichéd one liner you still have to accept that the basic idea of the film has just enough plausibility to make you think that it’s actually possible. Ludicrously silly but possible.

Orlando Jones (Facial Expression) - Evolution

Trying to take things in some order, the first point of call is obviously the characters and the cast. Headed up by David Duchovny and Orlando Jones, the first thing that really hits you is that it’s Jones that steals the film. He just brings a comic timing and power to his performance with one liners and facial expressions that while not leaving you rolling on the floor with laughter, certainly, and constantly raises more than just a muted chuckle. Duchovny feels strange in comparison though. He fits the part, he’s got laid back and cool nailed. The whole: perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect attitude performance, but where as you know Jones is not taking anything seriously and wants to make you laugh, you can’t help but feel that Duchovny is just a little bit too focused. He feels right but also completely and tightly wound up. I think it’s a case of being placed into a unnatural environment leaving him emitting a slight sense of unease.

Supporting them are Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore, and it’s fair to say that they are both good and entertaining but also clichéd and ham fisted. Seann William Scott is just reprising the foolishly dumb character he played in American Pie. He brings nothing new and just pops up from the background as the naive goof when needed. And while Moore gets into the comedic spirit, most of the time she sadly just feels daft and out of place. She just fails to really find a funny bone inside herself, her performance is just missing that slight piece of comedy timing that it needs to make it convincing.

Alien (Jim Henson Puppet) - Evolution

I also have a strange relationship with the evolving aliens. There are times when I think they are clever and interesting. The entire middle section has a real cuteness to it that reminds me of a poor version of Jim Henson’s puppetry, but unfortunately that is all lost when the evolution reaches homo sapien levels and it appears they’ve run out of budget for the costumes.

My major problem is with how the film finishes though. I fully accept that product placement happens. I even welcome it. I don’t mind, for instance, if James Bond a wears a specific brand of watch, or drinks a certain distillers whisky because some money has changed hands if we get better, more expensive film as a result. But the placement needs to be blended, displayed in view but muted into the background. Where I do mind is when it is slammed front and centre and used as a specific plot point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a clever placement, but it just left me feeling that the entire film had been nothing more than set up for the final advert.

Daniel Craig (James Bond Watch) - Evolution

That is my only complaint though, because to criticise much else would be to take the film far more seriously than it should be. Evolution is never going to be a classic. Or even the hilarious comedy. In fact it’s a movie that I don’t watch that often, purely because when I think about watching it I get these memories of it being silly and foolish and almost immature; and decide I want something better. Yet, every time I do decide to watch it I come away wondering why I have such strange memories of it, because I find it funny and entertaining and enjoyable. I’m never going to look on it lovingly, it will always age into caricature in my mind but that’s wrong, because it is funny and always manages to hit the right notes on those few occasions when I want a movie that has one goal in mind, to simply make me laugh without asking me to think.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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