English, Czech, Polish, English - Hearing Impaired
2 Theatrical trailer
Dreamworks/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 98 mins .
PG . PAL
Who could ever forget the smash hit Ghostbusters, where the paranormal was given a sense of humour whilst the busting was done by some of Saturday Night Live's most famous graduates? Jump forward a decade and more and take it to the next level with Men In Black, which provided a polished CG look at the comedic side of aliens living on earth. So where does Evolution fit in?
Well, sure you can fit a square block into a round hole, but when it finally goes through it's not exactly the same is it? That could pretty much sum up Evolution. There's too much 'history' behind the genre and those who helped create it that it's hard for it to break the mould without doing something evolutionary, excuse the pun.
The Butt Files: The Cheeks are out there.
When college teachers Ira Kane (Duchovny) and Harry Block (Jones) go out to investigate a meteorite that hits nearby, they discover a life form that is going through the various stages of evolution quicker than you can say "the truth is out there". It's only when the government gets wind of this that the scientific duo see their recognition being stolen from them with Allison Reed (Moore), a klutz of a person, taking over the research and thus becoming the object of interest for Ira.
At this early stage of evolution, the creatures are not able to breathe within Earth's atmosphere and die upon contact with oxygen, but as time speeds by they soon learn to adapt and by that stage they are much bigger than simple bugs. It's up to this unlikely duo, with the help of wannabe fireman Wayne (Seann William Scott), to make the Earth safe again.
Some eye-catching special effects are on display here and help give the movie its look and edge, but the real shining light here is Duchovny. His comedic turn is a far cry from his Mulder persona and in doing so has probably broken free of the mould. There are moments in this movie where you can't help but cack yourself as he lets go. Orlando Jones is great, especially as he gets the ass end of the comedic stick, with Seann William Scott being a little restrained in comparison to his teen movie characters whilst Julianne Moore tries a light touch, but only hits the mark once and we're all guilty of trying to PUSH that door rather than PULL it. School for the gifted Mr Larson?
"Give me back my friend you big sphincter!"
Sadly, the transfer is a little disappointing when comparing to the levels Columbia Tristar have achieved in the past, even for older movies than this one. The only word to describe what is resulted here is 'rushed'. For some reason, and I doubt it would be the pulling strength of the title, the video is a few notches below what it should be.
Grain is present throughout many shots with what looks to be either ordinary film stock, most unlikely, or an inferior print used for the telecine. Couple that with some edge enhancement that shouldn't really be necessary in this maturity level of DVD and you've got the pet peeves listed and ticked.
Beware of the Dog.
What is interesting is that in some scenes, the image looks beautiful and it's probably no surprise that these are the outdoor scenes as opposed to the indoor and darker scenes. That said, black levels are decent enough but lack real depth and shadow detail is good at best.
Basically the transfer is inconsistent in its presentation, varying from good to very, very good. And when the DVD is split over two layers but only takes up some 20MB more than a single layered DVD you have to ask yourself "Was it worth it?" and "Why not make use of some more space to produce a better image?". An argument for superbit? Let's hope this is not a trend that will continue and Columbia Tristar gets back on the ball again.
Thankfully, this is a rocking soundtrack that gives your 5.1 system a good free flowing workout. With the movie being practically half dialogue driven with the rest filled in with action and whizz bang CG, the audio goes from simple to outrageous to simple again, constantly providing that jump factor when the subwoofer and surrounds kick in. And where has that Dolby City trailer gone that does this so perfectly whilst waiting for the DVD to start?
Dialogue is as you would expect, with everything coming through loud and clear Houston. The front sound stage doesn't really span much width in these quieter moments, but when the sound engineers are really called upon they provide some truly deep frequencies that should put smiles on the faces of you sub junkies. The surrounds also provide the much welcomed head turning effect as they demonstrate just what these creatures, big and small, are doing all around you.
Take note, the packaging on the back is incorrectly labelled. There is no Hindi subtitle track, but there are Czech and Polish subtitle tracks in its place.
The Three Amigos.
We all know what the usual standards are like for Columbia Tristar, but then we'd be talking about their collectors editions. This release of Evolution is your plain Jane edition with the most prominent feature being a making of hosted by Orlando Jones as he speaks with the cast and crew himself. Ivan Reitman talks to us about how he got started in movies, Phil Tippet lends a few technical details about the creatures, whilst Duchovny, Moore and Scott don't have much to say other than some unrehearsed and thus unwitty dialogue.
The rest of the special features section is made up of two anamorphically enhanced trailers plus a bonus trailer for Ghostbusters. Throw in pages of production notes and some extensive talent profiles that get right into the crew more than they do the cast.
From what little we've seen of reviews in the US, and the details listed at various online stores, the region 4 disc seems to miss out on a 5.1 DTS soundtrack and a collection of deleted scenes.
Evolution lacks that aura that Ghostbusters brought to the screen. Even with the presence of Dan Aykroyd, it somehow cannot capture that imagination. You can't put you finger on it this time around, but if it is anything, then it's most likely that our imaginations have become desensitised when we've been saturated with these CG-laden comedic efforts. Not that there is anything wrong with that, this is still a fun movie that makes turning the volume up, way up, worth your while.