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Review: Evolution, 2001

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Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers: David Diamond, David Weissman, Don Jakoby
Starring: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott

Evolution was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I suspect it’s because even then I was aware that it was the closest I would get to a Ghostbusters 3—which turned out to be true. Note that this is not a knock on the remake, which I love; this literally feels like what Reitman would have done with Ghostbusters 3 if he were able to make it. Allow me to count the ways in which Evolution reminds me of Ghostbusters:


  • Smartass slacker scientists that know better than the government take on an otherworldly threat.
  • One of Aykroyd’s original descriptions of Ghostbusters was that they were like the firefighters of the future—the finale of Evolution sees our heroes dressed as firefighters and using a fire hose to blast a pink substance at a large creature. Do I have to explain why this should sound familiar?
  • Upon destroying the final beast, it explodes and covers a 5 mile radius in a gross, goopy substance—you know, just like when the Ghostbusters blew up the Stay Puft marshmallow man?
  • Ira and Harry feel like amalgamations of the four main Ghostbusters, and in Wayne and Allison they’ve just added Louis Tully and Dana Barrett to the team, which feels like the progression the Ghostbusters films were on.
  • There’s even a commercial (bizarrely the final tag of the movie) featuring our heroes selling us shampoo, a la the goofy commercials featured in both Ghostbusters movies.
  • Dan Aykroyd even shows up in the finale (and bosses the military around—I don’t think Governors have that kind of authority, do they?).
  • Oh, and it’s misogynist as fuck, an unfortunate hallmark of Reitman movies.

My friend Ryan said it best in regards to this movie – “Evolution is more fun than good, but it’s very fun.” Couldn’t agree with that more.

Score: ★★★☆☆

This review originally appeared on Garrett’s Letterboxd. Follow him there for more ratings, reviews, and lists.

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