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8 reviews, 77 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"'Ghostbusters' Continues To Evolve & Inspire"
4 stars

It’s been 17 years since Ghostbusters took the box office by storm in the summer of ’84. Now, in the aftermath of Columbia Pictures refusing to greenlight $100 million for a third installment in the franchise, who ya gonna call but director Ivan Reitman to deliver an eye-dazzling, special effects-rich comedy about other-worldly forces out to take over our planet? And on that level, he delivers, even if the story isn’t that far evolved from those paranormal investigating eliminators.

It won’t take Clarence Darrow or a Monkey Trial to cross-examine the similarities between the two Reitman extravaganzas. You may even feel as if you’re watching the roadshow version when instead of Murray/Aykroyd/Ramis, we get David “X-Files” Duchovny, Orlando “7-Up” Jones and Seann William “Stiffler” Scott. All pretty ironic when a recurring theme through most of the movie involves people making themselves out to be more important than they actually are.

Duchovny and Jones play Ira Kane and Harry Block, a couple of disinterested professors from the local Arizona community college. When a chunk of rock crashes 80 feet into the desert outside of the suburbs, they investigate armed only with a few gadgets and a geological badge earned from the internet. The discoveries in store for Ira, Harry and the audience begin to unfold like a great science-fiction film and its counterpart satire all-in-one.

Very quickly the lifeforms begin to replicate and evolve into a more advanced species as the military, headed by General Woodman (Ted Levine), chimes in and tries to keep our heroes out of the loop. Their resident “expert”, Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) has a penchant for clumsiness and the files to disgrace Ira who may actually be the only real person to have “expert” qualifications.

So the unsuspecting suburbanites have to rely on Ira, Harry and wannabe fireman, Wayne Green (Scott) to stop the outbreak of worms and golf course attacks. Their showstopping moment occurs in the local mall when they have to take down a flying menace speeding up the mall walkers. Of course, what would ordinary heroes do after thwarting a dinosaur attack, they drive away singing “Play That Funky Music White Boy!” So proud they are, you half expect them to say “we came, we saw, we kicked it’s ASS!”

Evolution plants a forked tongue firmly in both cheeks (including Jones’) and acknowledges its absurdity all too well. It has fun playing with the science fiction angle the same way that Men In Black and Ghostbusters did. Maybe even too much fun, as while the film’s many big laughs keep us grounded in the kind of level that Reitman and screenwriters David Diamond, David Weissman and Don Jakoby want us at, its story is so intriguing that you wish they would just dispense with the laugh track and go for the full-on terror of invasion when it stumbles into a third act resolution that isn’t as satisfying as the first two acts deserve. After all, it’s a comedy and you can’t destroy the world in the end unless you’re Stanley Kubrick.

But this is an extraordinarily fun film, evidenced by all the key performances who strike every right chord. Duchovny continues to prove what an able comedic actor he is, perfectly playing up the Fox Mulder image. Orlando Jones has finally found a film (and a director) to prove that he can actually draw laughs outside the 7-Up Yours realm. Moore plays the good sport here while Seann William Scott pursues every possible dimension of his typecasted American Pie role. Even Dan Aykroyd shows up in a funny “Robin-phrased” cameo as the governor.

Special attention and credit must be paid, however, to the special effects team who have managed to perfect a number of the inconsistencies of the parfait of visual monsters we’ve seen over the years since the advent of Jurassic Park. Not only are the effects spot-on Oscar-caliber, but the imagination of the creature designs on display deserve recognition for mere creativity with an array of alien creatures that would make George Lucas envious.

The worst sin that a movie like Evolution can commit is to drive up film lover’s expectations that this may be one of those truly special unexpected concoctions like a Ghostbusters or a Shrek. We shouldn’t punish it because it delivers (at the very least) exactly what it promises – big laughs and incredible special effects. The aspirations seem to be there but don’t quite get to the final stage.

Maybe repeat viewings will reveal underlying messages of the history of film evolving from screwball comedy to special effects laughfests or millions of years of human evolution and we still want to solve problems by blowing them up (in reality and cinematically.) Of course, maybe we’re not that evolved as moviegoers either. We’ve probably actually gone backwards if we think Pearl Harbor is supposed to be a “summer popcorn movie.”

Evolution isn’t Ghostbusters no matter how far the filmmakers’ imagination stretches. It’s obviously mixing in many of the same ingredients hoping to duplicate the recipe found in that cinematic bistro. Instead of a no ghosts allowed sign we get the have a nice day yellow smiley with three eyes. Instead of marshmallow sauce, it’s shampoo. Instead of Walter “dickless” Peck, we get Ted Levine. The comparisons are likely and not exactly unfair, but while Ghostbusters might have been the main course and appetizers, Evolution is certainly a worthy dessert.

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originally posted: 06/07/01 08:35:52
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell it sux 1 stars
5/26/15 JohnnyO Fun movie. It was light on clever dialogue but well cast, good premise, good popcorn flick. 4 stars
5/31/14 KennethC Good vibe, not the best film, but very enjoyable. 4 stars
12/10/09 Chris Tanner My Favourite Movie of All Time 5 stars
11/04/09 Jeff Wilder Very funny sci-fi comedy. Better than Mars Attacks or Men In Black II. 4 stars
5/19/09 Rhys Hughes Crackin' fun film. There's always time for lubricant! 4 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK It looks like a de''Evolution'' in Film making (pardon the pun.) 2 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega 'Ghostbusters' meet 'Aliens'. 4 stars
9/23/06 Charles Tatum Rejected Ghostbusters sequel without the laughs 2 stars
8/27/05 R.W. Welch Slapstick sci-fi. Okay premise devolves into FX for the sake of FX. 2 stars
6/12/05 Gecko Fanfoot A total waste of time and film 1 stars
3/22/05 Jeff Anderson Owes a great deal to director Reitman's GHOSTBUSTERS, but occasionally witty & cast is fun. 3 stars
6/05/04 john bale Another SF spoof in the MIB mold, mildy amusing thanks to a good cast and SFX. 3 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot This film is dog shit.i rarely say that about any film. 1 stars
1/16/04 Gecko Fanfoot A God-awful piece of shit AND a complete waste of time to boot! 1 stars
12/30/03 Littlepurch Funny, clever and enjoyable. Easily as good as Ghostbusters. 5 stars
6/30/03 francis Surely a film must make at least a little sense. This is plain silly. 2 stars
6/23/03 John Aster Habig Sucks like Joe Dirt and Eight Crazy Nights 1 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Hilariously awful. How can so many good actors suck so bad at one time? 1 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby A few good moments, but this is second-rate, lazy stuff. 2 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Great chemistry between Duchovny and Jones. 4 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper A complete waste of celluloid. Duchovny should be ostracized for being associated with this 1 stars
10/22/02 Jiz Fun flick, but nothing special. 4 stars
9/30/02 Butterbean The slapstick was stupid instead of funny. 2 stars
7/23/02 Bada Bing Crosby Not just unworthy of Julianne Moore, but all thinking human beings 1 stars
5/11/02 Keith unworthy of Julianne Moore's talents. 3 stars
4/16/02 Danielle Ophelia The cast was an effective compensation for its shortcomings. 4 stars
3/11/02 Jim Amusing and forgettable 4 stars
3/05/02 Alan Smithee The movie's okay, but Ms. Moore as always does a great job. 3 stars
2/27/02 J I'm pretty much with Greg, Y2 & both Eriks on this one. Good movie. 4 stars
2/25/02 Mitja Podgajski Not too bad:). 3 stars
2/10/02 Dawn Someone with "Some High School Chem" could prove their 'scientific' theories wrong! 1 stars
1/30/02 Monday Morning Very disappointing given its cast, director and EFX. 2 stars
1/21/02 The Bomb 69 should have been better, took too many shortcuts 3 stars
1/11/02 max zhang after I took the girl to this movie, she refused to have sex with me. 1 stars
1/03/02 Dave Gonyea This was sooooo bad, it hurt! 1 stars
12/07/01 Dominik Duprelle Terminal, desparate dreck-STINKS OUT THE SWAMP. 1 stars
12/06/01 KMG It was good....scott thinks it's retarded 2 stars
11/15/01 Marlene Steinberg I really enjoyed it. Took my whole family and found it to be very entertaining. 4 stars
11/15/01 Anita McNab As a X Files Fan, I knew that David Duchovny was Funny, and This Movie proves that he is. 5 stars
11/09/01 Mark "Let's shampoo us some aliens!" With quotes like that, how can you not see this movie? 5 stars
10/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Orlando Jones and Dan Aykroyd are the best HUMAN characters. 3 stars
10/26/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! one of my all-time favourite films!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/13/01 Bevan R. Clark A derivative piece of shit. 1 stars
9/11/01 cameron it was very very funny. 5 stars
7/28/01 Turtle It's basically just Ghostbusters mixed in with Men in Black. Who said that was a bad thing? 4 stars
7/24/01 Gizzy Fun, despite a silly final 15 minutes 4 stars
7/11/01 Katherine Perry enjoyable and funny though at moments unneccessarily sophomoric. 4 stars
7/10/01 Anne Major cheese, but I had fun anyhow. 3 stars
7/03/01 Matthew Bartley Very funny 4 stars
6/27/01 russrickee Some parts funny, was expecting it to go somewhere, but it didn't 3 stars
6/23/01 Nightraven It did rehash some existing plots, but was still a good way to have fun for a little while/ 4 stars
6/22/01 brent young funny. used the ghostbuster formula. the shampoo part was hilarious. though not all got it 4 stars
6/22/01 ArtiGrafiche Was it a product commercial, or a movie? 2 stars
6/18/01 bobbuttons nothing too serious...a good time: oh yeah, DONKEY LIPS from Salute your Shorts is in this 4 stars
6/17/01 Thor-Leo Slow, flat, predictable, phoned-in performances. Bilked out of $7.50!!! 2 stars
6/16/01 LdyArdRhi Formulaic, scrape off ghosts and put in aliens and you have Evolution...but FUNNY. 4 stars
6/15/01 mc iedh very flat,unfunny,rushed,predictable; meant to be fun and giddy but ended just plain bad 1 stars
6/15/01 BrainPan expected some jokes. I wanted to like this, but no gut-busters. Duchovny still rocks. 3 stars
6/15/01 Rampage at least it beat Starship Troopers and MIB, I think Duchovny was good 4 stars
6/15/01 Brandon Glenn Rogers just saw this film the other day, loved it. 5 stars
6/14/01 JB Poor attempt to revist Ghostbusters. Rent Ghostbusters. Yet the hairy monster was cool. 2 stars
6/14/01 fishie definately worth going to see, orlando jones is hilarous. 4 stars
6/13/01 Jim Kidd I loved it, but it seemed like something was missing from the whole movie 4 stars
6/13/01 bats If Reitman wanted to make a Ghostbusters ripoff, why not "GB II"? Lame. 2 stars
6/13/01 Darren Shea a fun, dumb comedy with good chemistry between the leads. 4 stars
6/13/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Perfect summer fare...Duchovny has amazing comedic timing...Moore's good, too... 4 stars
6/12/01 Biz McNatch Easygoing and affable. Orlando finally has a real performance. Dave should always do comedy 5 stars
6/12/01 TheFirkin It's not Ghostbusters but it was great! 4 stars
6/12/01 Mike TERRIBLE 1 stars
6/11/01 BKrymsin Constant laughs; but ended with a sputter. 4 stars
6/11/01 ArtiGrafiche A piece of product marketing crapola! 2 stars
6/10/01 Benjamin Lesbian What a load of horseshit! Very pedestrian ripoff of Ghostbusters! 2 stars
6/10/01 Turtle Ghostbusters meets Men in Black. What a wonderful experience. 4 stars
6/10/01 Jim Kidd I laughed throughout the whole movie, but I felt that it was also missing something 3 stars
6/09/01 AgentDS I went to see David, nothing more! 2 stars
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  08-Jun-2001 (PG-13)


  12-Jul-2001 (M)

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