PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Evolution (2001)

Evolution (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 11-Dec-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-HBO First Look-The Evolution Of Evolution
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Production Notes
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 97:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:11) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ivan Reitman

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring David Duchovny
Orlando Jones
Seann William Scott
Julianne Moore
Ted Levine
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Powell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, briefly
Annoying Product Placement Yes, plot relies on it
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This movie was originally based on a script by Don Jakoby which was more of a dramatic science fiction thriller than a comedy. Thankfully for us, director Ivan Reitman didn't agree with the style of movie (nor would it suit him) and began working with screenwriters Don Jakoby, David Diamond and David Weissman to develop it into more of a mixed action/comedy movie. Although this was a complete turnaround from the original, the plot and ending remain essentially intact.

    The movie is blessed to have Phil Tippett supervising the special effects and the quality of his work really shows in this production. You may have seen some of his handiwork in Jurassic Park and Return of the Jedi, both of which landed him Academy Awards for special effects. He was also Oscar-nominated for the visual effects he did in Starship Troopers, Dragonheart and Willow.

    The Evolution begins when a meteorite screams past your screen, shattering and bursting into flames as it hits the Earth's atmosphere. It comes to an explosive end as it slams into the Earth's crust just off Route 89A and almost on top of Wayne (Sean William Scott). He just so happens to be out in the desert playing with matches and a mannequin while practising for tomorrow's fireman's exam.

    The next day, Community College teacher Harry Block (Orlando Jones) takes an anonymous phone call to the University mentioning that a meteorite has crashed to earth on the outskirts of town. He asks his University teacher buddy Ira Kane (David Duchovny) to come along and investigate and to hopefully collect a sample for the lab. While chipping away at the meteorite, the rock starts to bleed. For those of us who are non-scientists, that's not supposed to happen...

    It soon becomes clear to Harry & Ira that the rock sample contains alien life that must have hitched a ride on the meteorite. During their analysis, the single cell organisms start to divide at the speed of sound and as they begin to evolve it looks like they could threaten the human race.

    The military, police and CDC scientist Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) soon end up going head-to-head with the college teachers who all have opposing views on how to solve the crisis. It's good to see that Reitman still shows a distaste for all forms of authority (such as has been seen in his other movies like Ghostbusters) by portraying a lot of stupidity and incompetence at high levels.

    The only chance the world has against total domination by aliens is these crazy college teachers and any assistance they can gather along the way.

    Have a Nice End of the World . . .

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    As with all problems with the video quality of Evolution, the darker the scene, the worse or more noticeable the artefact became.

    The video transfer of this movie was of average quality, and may be a reflection of the disc only being single sided and dual layered. If size was a problem, then perhaps the studio should have gone double sided dual layered or dual disc and used less compression to achieve the best result.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    You could not class the quality of this transfer as being extremely clear, and there is certainly room for improvement.

    As alluded to above, shadow detail is where a lot of the artefact problems show up, such as at 9:00. If you take the artefact problem away, the level of shadow detail is quite good and the two may well be related. The level of black may have been lifted after the initial shooting which caused more visible artefacts. There is no low level noise.

    The colours were clear and true to life. The golf course at 43:07 probably shows the best mixture of colours and the quality here is uniform throughout the transfer.

    MPEG artefacts were a little too common but usually constrained to small areas when they appeared. A classic example shows up early at 9:00. The white wall at 12:03 was typical and each scene that had a similar wall as the backdrop suffered from the same fault. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of grain present and is very noticeable during darker sequences. Film artefacts were common but were very small and not distracting at all.

    The subtitles were clear but not exact to the spoken word. There is some discrepancy between the subtitle offerings on this disc and the packaging;

    This disc is single sided and dual layered, with the layer change placed at 68:11. It occurs while the actors are looking at a computer screen. Although the animations on the screen pause for a moment, there is no dialogue and in my opinion the layer change is well placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a magnificent audio transfer, and you will really get to hear your speakers sing. As an aside, I did notice that my usual listening level needed to be increased to obtain a satisfactory listening level. Once set, it was happy listening from then on.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times with no hiss apparent.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by John Powell was superb and rarely stops. The action sequences tended to have a lot of music to accentuate the action, and at other times there are more humble backing tunes. The volume levels of the music did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surrounds got an impressive workout and from 57:09 to 62:30 they practically don't stop. There was an excellent level of near-transparent imaging amongst all the channels. Precise sound placement within the soundfield were the norm rather than the exception, putting you right in the midst of the action at all times, not just during the action sequences.

    The subwoofer was heavily used for explosions and other effects which really set the mood for the scene. When the meteorite hit the earth, you would swear that half your living room had just been wiped out as well. I loved it!

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    An average selection of extras are present.


    The menu design is themed around the movie in full screen and without any audio.

HBO First Look "The Evolution of Evolution" (15:01)

    This was an interesting look behind-the-scenes on the Evolution set. A little too much emphasis was placed on existing clips from the movie, though. It was hosted by Orlando Jones who chatted with various members of the cast and crew This is of excellent quality, being presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.


    This section covers the four main actors and gives an above average level of detail for a static overview. Every detail of the actors' careers and a complete movie history is available from here.


    This is at the same level of detail as shown for the Cast and contains a lot information about the producers, directors and special effects team members.

Production Notes

    Ivan Reitman explains his inspiration for making such a film but unfortunately like the Cast and Filmmakers sections it is all text-based. A filmed interview with the director would have been far more interesting.


    There are a total of 3 trailers available from here;

    The two Evolution trailers were of good quality and were a pleasure to watch. Both were presented in their film aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and featured Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

    The Ghostbusters clip was full of film artefacts and only in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It was still funny to revisit a movie I have not seen in a long time.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

The Commentary Track features director Ivan Reitman, plus the cast of David Duchovny, Orlando Jones and Sean William Scott. The commentary offers a good insight into the production and filming of the movie in a relaxed and humerous manner. Unfortunately for us, the Region 1 wins again.


    Overall, Evolution was a fantastic and fun movie. There were plenty of well-done special effects and plenty of laughs on offer.

    The video quality was acceptable but could have been better.

    The audio quality is superb, and doesn't leave any speaker quiet for too long.

    The extras are a bit on the light side, especially when compaired to the Region 1 offering.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Friday, November 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer XV-DV55, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer XV-DV55
SpeakersPioneer S-DV55ST-K Satellite wall mouted 5-Speaker System; Pioneer S-DV55SW-K Powered Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Steve K
The DVD Bits - John Z
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S