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Theatrical poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Joe Medjuck
Ivan Reitman
Daniel Goldberg
Written by David Diamond
Don Jakoby
David Weissman
Starring David Duchovny
Orlando Jones
Julianne Moore
Seann William Scott
Music by John Powell
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Editing by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Studio The Montecito Picture Company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures
Release date(s) June 8, 2001 (2001-06-08)
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million

Evolution is a 2001 science-fiction comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman. It is based on a story by Don Jakoby, who converted it into a screenplay along with David Diamond and David Weissman. The movie was originally written as a serious horror science fiction film, until director Ivan Reitman re-wrote much of the script. The plot follows aliens that came to earth inside a meteor, after which they evolve into a menagerie of outlandish creatures attempting to adapt to Earth's environment and pose a threat to humanity.

A short-lived animated series, Alienators: Evolution Continues, that was loosely based on the film was broadcast months after the movie was released.



Community college professor Ira Kane is invited by geology teacher/girls' volleyball coach Harry Block to investigate a meteorite that has crashed into a network of underground caverns under the sleepy Arizona town of Glen Canyon. They collect a sample and find that it contains extraterrestrial single-celled nitrogen-based organisms, which evolve into multi-celled organisms by the time Ira gets Harry to his office to see the discovery they made.

Impressed, the two take the science class to survey the meteor site, where the primordial ooze from the meteor has rapidly evolved into oxygen-converting fungi and alien flatworms that thrive on the converted atmosphere. However, the military, led by General Russell Woodman, whom Ira worked for five years ago before he was discharged, managed to learn of his finding via tapping his computer and take control of the situation. A back and forth escalates as Ira and Harry attempt to reinsert themselves into the research.

Meanwhile, the evolving aliens take advantage of the caverns under Glen Canyon, and begin to pop up at the surface, vainly attempting to adapt while attacking any human that crosses their path. Ira and Harry are assisted further by Wayne Grey, a young firefighter trainee who was the first to encounter the meteor the night it crashed to Earth. The trio must battle the aliens as they reach evolutionary stages correspondent with those of arthropods, reptiles and mammals, culminating when they are forced to kill an oxygen-immune dragon-like alien in a shopping centre.

At a meeting between the military and Arizona Governor Lewis, military science advisor Dr. Allison reveals that the aliens' incredible growth rate makes them inherently uncontrollable and that they could over-populate the United States in a matter of weeks. Woodman decides that the alien threat needs to be combated with napalm. Woodman blames Ira and Harry for exposing the aliens to civilians and Governor Lewis agrees after being attacked by an alien gorilla. Allison quits to help Ira solve the crisis with the parcel of primordial ooze he collected. After Harry accidentally throws a match into the ooze and creates an over-sized version of the creatures, they realize that napalming them will only make the problem worse, and that the military getting involved was not necessary at all.

By morning, Ira determines the solution: selenium may be a poison to the nitrogen-based aliens as arsenic is to carbon-based life-forms, based on their similar positions in relation to each other on the periodic table. Ira's two most underachieving students, Deke and Danny Donald, reveal that selenium is the active ingredient in Head & Shoulders dandruff shampoo.

The main characters load a firetruck with as much Head & Shoulders as they can find and attempt to destroy the aliens before the military. However, the military begins the operation early, and the organisms in the cave quickly grow into one enormous starfish-like creature through a process of absorbing all the other creatures into a single entity. After the creature surfaces, it begins mitosis and proves to be invulnerable to conventional weaponry. Ira and his group manage to drive the fire truck to an orifice underneath the creature, into which they spray the selenium, destroying the aliens once and for all.

The film ends with Harry, Ira and Wayne as spokesmen for Head & Shoulders: "fighting the alien menace...and keeping your hair clean and dandruff-free!"


The three-eyed smiley face used as the logo of the film in marketing was borrowed from the comic book Transmetropolitan. Producers had to get permission from DC Comics to use it and were licensed by Smileyworld Ltd., owner of the smiley face trademark, to use it for advertising and commercial purposes.

During the lengthy shooting in Page, Arizona, Dan Aykroyd entertained locals by checking ID cards for guests at a bar, unofficially greeting people at Wal-Mart, and visiting locals for a cup of coffee in their homes. Because the film was shot (but not set) in December, DreamWorks asked the locals to delay putting up their Christmas decorations. Following the shoot, DreamWorks paid the city employees overtime to decorate the town in time for Christmas.

All of the on-campus, classroom, lab and professor's office scenes were filmed at California State University, Fullerton, in Fullerton, California. The building used for the movie was Miles D. McCarthy Hall, which is currently home to the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.

The clumsiness of Julianne Moore's character was her idea. The three main male characters perform a commercial for Head & Shoulders at the end of the movie; Ivan Reitman's son Jason came up with the idea.


Kyle Gass, Sarah Silverman, Richard Moll, Tom Davis, Jerry Trainor, Miriam Flynn, Caroline Reitman and John Cho have cameo appearances.

See also


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Evolution is a 2001 film about a fire fighting cadet, two college professors, and a geeky-but-sexy government scientist who are working against an alien organism that has been rapidly evolving ever since its arrival on Earth inside a meteor.

Directed by Ivan Reitman. Written by David Diamond, David Weissman and Don Jakoby.


Ira Kane

  • Allow me to share something with the entire class. Last night as I was grading papers, I came across two gems both entitled "Cells are Bad" and both with just one paragraph which I unfortunately committed to memory: "Cells are bad. My uncle lives in a cell. It's ten foot by twelve and he has to read the same old, boring magazine everyday. The end." And although my standards are nowhere near where they used to be, I still could not bring myself to put an "A" on top of those beauties. I hope you understand, guys.

Harry Block

  • [during the second expedition to the meteorite cavern, to Ira about Dr. Reed] All she needs is a good humping. [mocks Reed while "demonstrating" sex] Oh Ira! I-i-i-i-ra...OOOH IRA!


Harry Block: Keep your chin up. You know she wanted to give you some, didn't you?
Ira Kane: Were you even in that courtroom?
Block: Getting barbecued like baby back ribs? It's all foreplay, baby.
Kane: [upon discovering that their lab's been ransacked] Oh, we've been hit!
Block: Forget the foreplay. We just got screwed!

[Ira and Harry see a unique organism.]
Ira Kane: Hey, cool. Snag one.
Harry Block: Snag one?
Kane: Yeah, snag it and put it in the bucket.
Block: I've seen this movie, the black dude dies first. You snag it.

[An alien fly is inside Harry Block and the surgeons debate on how to remove it]
Dr. Allison Reed: What are you gonna do?
Dr. Paulson: We might have to amputate.
Harry Block: Whoa, Doc! Don't take my leg! Ira, don't let them take my leg.
Ira Kane: Isn't there anything else you can do? He thinks he's an athlete.
Nurse Tate: Doctor, look!
Paulson: It's headed for his testicles.
Block: Take it! Take it! Take the leg!
Paulson: Look, it's going the other way. Maybe we can catch it in his colon.
Tate: How are you going in?
Paulson: Rectally.
Harry: [squealing] No-o-o-o-o!
Tate: I'll get the lubricant.
Paulson: There's no time for lubricant.
Harry: There's always time for lubricant!!

[Wayne tries to get the alien's attention by saying "caw-caw" and "tookie tookie" repeatedly]
Harry Block: Wayne! I think we've established that "Ca-caw, ca-caw" and "Tookie, tookie" don't work.
Wayne Grey: Right. Sorry. [starts singing into the mike] You are so beautiful to me.
Ira Kane: Step back, Harry, I'm gonna shoot him.
Block: Uh-uh, stand down. I'm taking this one out myself.
Grey: You are so beautiful to me.
Block: Wayne, would you please stop? You're embarrassing me.

Ira Kane: Ira Kane, head of the science department, Glen Canyon Community College.
Harry Block: Harry Block, United States Geological Survey.
Wayne Grey: Wayne Grey. Did some chemistry in high school.

Dr. Allison Reed: There's something I've been wanting to tell you, but I don't know exactly how.
Ira Kane: Well, we're all adults here, and we're all about to die a very horrible death anyway, so?
Reed: I would've rocked your world.
Kane: You already have.


  • Have a nice end of the world.
  • Coming to wipe that silly smile off your planet.


External links

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