The film was originally conceived as
a more serious story by Don
Jakoby. Reitman had writers David Diamond
Weissman turn it into a comedy, which Jakoby liked enough to
join in on the script rewrites. The film, set in Glen Canyon, Arizona, saw a
meteor crash near the town. Disgraced military scientist-turned-college
professor Ira Kane (David
Duchovny) and his colleague, Harry Block (Orlando Jones),
investigated and discovered the meteor contained an extraterrestrial
nitrogen-based single-celled organism that was capable of both mitosis for
reproduction and rapid evolution into more complex lifeforms. Their
investigation and experiments were cut short when Ira’s former superior, General
Levine), and the US Army took over the site. It soon became
up to Ira and Harry to stop the military from causing the accidental takeover
of the world from the invading creatures using copious amounts of Head & Shoulders
shampoo, which contained a substance the aliens found poisonous: selenium. They
also gained the help of wannabe fireman Wayne Grey (Seann William Scott)
and clumsy scientist Dr. Allison Reed (Julianne Moore).
|Promotional image of Lucy, Harry, Ira, Wayne and GASSIE.
Despite being about a couple of
blue-collar guys taking on an extraordinary threat to save the world, being
produced by Columbia
Pictures, Reitman and Joe Medjuck,
and even featuring a small role for Dan Aykroyd,
the comedy failed to attain Ghostbusters-level numbers. In fact, it
barely made back its $80 million budget when it opened on June 8, 2001, pulling
in just over $98 million worldwide. However, they were all-in on making sure it
would be like Ghostbusters and commissioned the creation of an animated
series that would continue the story. Medjuck would serve as the executive
producer as he had with both Ghostbusters cartoons, and the studio
Real Ghostbusters, DiC Entertainment,
was tapped to bring the series to life.
|At the edge of a Genus forest.
Developed by Louis Gassin,
the series began as the movie ended: with Ira (Kirby Morrow), Harry (Cusse
Mankuma), Allison (Fiona Hogan) and Wayne (given the new surname Green, voiced
by Andrew Francis) using a firetruck full of “the blue goo dandruff shampoo” to
take out the aliens, now called the Genus. However, the Genus continued to live
on in other pockets around Glen Canyon forcing the one-time heroes, eventually
calling themselves “Alienators”, to step up and clean the city. However, this
time they were granted government backing by the President, much to the chagrin
of their overseer, General Woodman (John Payne). They received a new lab,
upgrades to the fire engine that included a variety of gadgets, a motorcycle
and a small detachable jet, and protective suits. Their primary weapon was a
Devolver gun that fired a mix of selenium, compressed carbon dioxide, and a
de-evolution ray developed by Allison. They also received a new field partner
in Lt. Lucy Mai (Akiko Morison); a by-the-book military combat expert whose
disciplined nature often clashed with the scientists’ more improvisational
methods. They also gained a mascot/hunting dog in the form of GASSIE
(Genetically Altered Symbiotic Stasis in Evolution, vocal effects by Lee
Tockar); a friendly Genus alien Ira created in the lab (and aptly named as he
emitted a stinky gas whenever the Genus was near). Allison remained in the lab
at the Center for Impending Disasters, working on ways to stop the Genus and to
keep Woodman in check to prevent him from simply bombing the town.
|The highly-evolved Scopes.
The Genus upped their game as well
as they continued to evolve and develop an immunity to the selenium serum,
often requiring Ira to modify it in some way. Unlike the movie, when defeated
by selenium goo the Genus imploded and turned into a starfish-like thing that
the Alienators would proceed to collect and store in petri dishes. They also
gained a sort of leader in the most highly-evolved form to date. Named “Scopes”
by Ira (after teacher John T. Scopes
who was fined for teaching evolution in a Tennessee school in 1925, voiced by
Mark Acheson), he was a giant, red beast who learned how to speak in binary by
interfacing with a computer. No matter how many times the Alienators found a
way to defeat him, a new Scopes would emerge seemingly with the same knowledge
as the previous one.
|General Woodman is an unhappy camper.
characters were designed by Francis Buchet,
Fournier, Noëlle Geoffroy, Eric Gosselet,
Roger and Hervé
Vautier. To avoid likeness rights, Ira was made to look
younger with a hipper hairstyle, Harry was given a buffer physique and long
cornrows, Allison shorter hair, and Woodman was given more hair on top of his
head and less on his face. Ira’s assuredness in his own abilities from the film
was ramped up in the series to his constantly stating he was a genius, while
Harry’s coaching of the girls’ volleyball team led to his not only
watching/listening to every sports game he could, but inserting sports
terminology into everything he said. The film’s romance between Ira and Allison
was also ignored, with Allison seemingly barley able to tolerate Ira at times. Wayne’s
status as a full fireman granted to him at the end of the film was changed to
his still being in training and even played a role in an episode. GASSIE’s
design was based on the three-eyed smiley face used in the film’s promotion.
|A new batch of Genus hatching.
Alienators: Evolution Continues (Evolution:
The Animated Series internationally) made its debut on FOX as part of the Fox Kids
programming block on September 22, 2001 (delayed a week by continuing coverage
of the 9/11
terrorist attacks). The series was written by Michael Ryan,
The theme, “Evolution (Creepy Crawly)” was composed by L.A. Piccirillo
who also handled the rest of the series’ music with Jean-Michel Guirao.
Animation duties were handled by Hong
Ying Universe Company, Ltd.
The series proved about as popular
as its film counterpart; pulling in extremely poor ratings. It was dropped from
the network before the final three episodes could air in the United States.
However, before it left the airwaves, a Game Boy Advance
game based on the show was developed by Digital Eclipse
and released by Activision.
of action figures was also produced by Bandai containing two
sets of hero figures, a miniature GASSIE playset, and three vehicles, and Taco Bell
in their kids’ meals. In 2002, Lions
Gate Home Entertainment released Evolution:
The Animated Movie on VHS and DVD
which contained the first three episodes edited together to form a movie. It
the following year by Sterling
Entertainment and contained the 4th episode
as a bonus feature. In 2004, Anchor
Bay UK released the first four episodes onto
in the United Kingdom, while Avenue Entertainment released two
containing two episodes each in 2006. The entire series was made available for
streaming on Amazon