[[caption-width-right:300:Have a nice end of the world.]]

A 2001 sci-fi comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman (of ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'' fame), and released by Creator/ColumbiaPictures and Creator/{{Dreamworks}}.

Glen Canyon, UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}}, ThePresentDay. Wayne Grey (Seann William Scott), practicing at night in the desert for his upcoming firefighter entrance exam, witnesses the impact of a meteor throw his truck 200 feet in the air and crash down. The next day, biology teacher Dr. Ira Kane (Creator/DavidDuchovny) and geology teacher Harry Block (Orlando Jones) from Glen Canyon Community College manage to get to the meteor, which has crash-landed at the bottom of a system of underground caverns. By taking a sample, they discover a slimy blue fluid coming out of the meteor.

A little later, Ira finds out that myriad single-celled life-forms dwell in the fluid, evolve at an incredible rate, even while he's watching. What first seems like a sure ticket to Sweden for the Nobel Prize soon develops into a nightmare: by evolving and adapting at that unbelievably fast rate, the aliens start spreading out, killing people, and the military -- led by General Woodman (Ted Levine), who's accompanied by epidemiologist Dr. Allison Reed (Creator/JulianneMoore) -- comes in. Now it all comes down to what [[UsefulNotes/CharlesDarwin Darwin]] so rightfully stated: Survival of the fittest...

It gave rise to a short-lived animated series, ''WesternAnimation/AlienatorsEvolutionContinues''.

!!''Evolution'' contains examples of:

* ActorAllusion: Ira doesn't trust government types because "I know these people." In-universe, he knows because he's an ex-army colonel. However, David Duchovny's previous role as [[AgentMulder Agent Fox Mulder]] is a notorious ConspiracyTheorist. This is especially notable because it wasn't on purpose; the director had never seen ''Series/TheXFiles''. But those making the trailer evidently did, as it's used in quite a few.
* AdaptiveAbility: Thanks to thousands of years of evolution artificially sped up by the energy reaction from the meteor, the organisms from the meteorite spit out creatures that become increasingly more resilient to oxygen - which is normally lethal to the organisms.
* AlienInvasion: Via superior adaptability, the aliens will take over the North American continent within months.
* AliensInCardiff: The movie takes place around Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, near the Arizona/Utah border. The town in the movie is usually just referred to as "Glen Canyon" as well, but is actually the small real-life town of Page, Arizona.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 3 - the aliens threaten to take over the planet through explosive breeding, driving other species to extinction.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology:
** The earlier aliens look pretty weird, but there's some pretty weird stuff in Earth's evolutionary history too; some of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgess_Shale_type_fauna Burgess Shale critters]] are pretty strange in their own right.
** The aliens are supposed to be "[[YouFailBiologyForever nitrogen-based lifeforms]]." As anyone with a background in chemistry could tell you, this is extremely unlikely. However, they are[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_types_of_biochemistry#Nitrogen_and_phosphorus_biochemistry theoretically entirely impossible]].
* ArtisticLicenseChemistry: There are two takes on this based on the discovery of the alien's weakness.
** The heroes [[spoiler:figure out the weakness of the nitrogen-based aliens by comparing arbitrary patterns on the Periodic Table of Elements. "Hmm, well, Arsenic is the weakness of carbon-based life-forms, and Arsenic is two down and one across from Carbon. So that means that the weakness of the nitrogen-based life-forms must also be two down and one across!"]] Of course, [[RuleOfFunny because this is]] [[PlayedForLaughs a comedy film]], [[BatDeduction the logic is perfectly sound]].
** In a sense, it's not as crazy as it sounds -- [[spoiler:the periodic table isn't arbitrary, its organization reflects properties of the elements in the table, so the geometric relationship between elements as displayed on the table ''can'' be relevant to their chemical relationship in reality]]. The selenium sulphide in the shampoo is poisonous to earlier phases of alien life because they are indicated (by the stink in the cave and the fly inside Block) to incorporate hydrogen sulfide in their metabolism.
* AssholeVictim: Wayne's boss, who is eaten by an alien when he is about to have sex with a woman on a golf course.
--> '''Wayne''': ''(trying to suppress a grin)'' "Well, uh... that's too bad."
** He later admits, though, "That doesn't make it right," expressing ''some'' sympathy for Cartwright.
** Also, the shoplifting teen girl in the mall, who gets attacked by one of the pterodactyl creatures, although she survives. Her asshole status is mitigated by her immediate apology afterwards.
* AssShove:
** [[spoiler:They kill the ultimate alien with a shampoo enema administered via fire hose. Though it ''[[CrossesTheLineTwice sucks Harry into its ass for at least a minute before it dies]]'']].
--> '''Harry''': ''IT'S HOR-R-R-RIBLE IN HERE!''
** Harry himself has an alien extracted from his body - rectally.
* BigNo: {{Played for laughs}} during the "alien extraction" scene:
--> '''Dr. Paulson:''' Maybe we can catch it in his colon.
--> '''Nurse Tate:''' How are you going in?
--> '''Dr. Paulson:''' ''(dramatically)'' Rectally.
--> '''Harry:''' ''(in a VERY high-pitched squeal)'' Nooooooo!
* BiggerIsBetter: [[spoiler:One of the organisms, in response to being napalmed, becomes a HUGE amoeba-thing with an ''anus''. This becomes the superior life form that kills/absorbs the other aliens]]
* BizarreAlienReproduction: The dying "bird" gives birth by coughing up a membranous sac with a juvenile inside.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: The TropeNamer, though it is almost immediately {{defied|Trope}}.
-->'''Ira:''' Snag it and put it in the bucket.\\
'''Harry:''' [[GenreSavvy I've seen this movie]]; the [[TropeNamer black dude dies first]]. [[DefiedTrope You snag it!]]
* BloodlessCarnage: A lot of people are attacked and mauled by the evolving life-forms, with little mess to show for it. A flying raptor takes several slugs at point-blank range, and there's STILL no gore.
* BrickJoke: [[spoiler: Near the beginning, Nadine mentions that her ambition is to be Miss Arizona. At the end, she can be seen in the background wearing a "Miss Arizona" sash.]]
* CallASmeerpARabbit: For some reason, the lead characters refuse to call the obviously dragon/raptor-looking flying aliens that, and instead insist on calling them "birds." Maybe it's a case of NotUsingTheZWord, and they're not shown to be capable of breathing fire either.Earlier models of the dragon/raptor actually show it to look a lot more like a featherless oviraptor. Now that would have been weird. Also, perhaps models weren't complete until after the live-action filming. That would also explain why the creature that looks like a snub-nosed seal is mistaken for a dog.
* CameFromTheSky: The aliens came to earth from a meteor.
* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: In one scene, a shoplifter is wearing her stolen clothes under her already-worn ones. As she comes out of the dressing room, she's snatched away by the flying raptor. Once she's rescued, she vows never to shoplift again to a somewhat confused Harry. It's actually fortunate for her she was wearing the layers, as without them, the claws of the bird thing could have badly hurt her.
* [[ChekhovsGunman Chekhov's Gunmen]]: Deke and Danny are introduced on a TheDitz joke. [[spoiler: They are the key to finding a sufficient supply of the alien's weakness in the climax.]]
%%%* ComedicSociopathy: Harry vs. the alien fly.
%%%* ContrivedCoincidence: The meteor hits smack-dab on the shed above a cavern.
%%%* CreatorProvincialism: Parodied (hopefully).
* CuteClumsyGirl: Dr. Allison Reed. She trips over ''sand''. And it was Creator/JulianneMoore's idea.
%%%%* DeadpanSnarker: Ira and Harry.
* DumbassHasAPoint: The two biggest idiots in Ira's class [[spoiler: end up saving the day in the end by point out that Head and Shoulders shampoo has selenium in it]].
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: [[spoiler:Shortly after the alien life-forms reach a simian stage of evolution, they get napalmed. hen they are crushed by one cell. These are the fastest and most violent things to come out of the ecosystem, in the short time they're seen before they're crushed.]]
* EurekaMoment: Two of these happen; one leads to the discovery that fire makes the beings grow faster, while the other leads to the discovery that [[spoiler:selenium kills them]]. Both are the products of incredibly dodgy science.
* EvolutionaryLevels: {{Played with}}. In fact, the later stages of the habitat [[spoiler:spawn dinosaur-like creatures and apes. But the last creature to appear is a nigh-unkillable (well, except for the occasional enema) amoeba-like creature]]. This is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the movie.
** The director's commentary explains that the [[spoiler: final evolution was supposed to be an UltimateLifeForm, evolved beyond primates, beyond humans. The problem was that it wasn't "big" enough; so they replaced it with an amoeba.]]
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: Oddly enough ''{{averted}}'', given the type of movie it was. When Ira and Harry go down into the underground alien world, they note that "everything down here is food for something else; let's try to stay off the menu". Yet almost none of the creatures try to harm them. There was a carnivorous tree, but really the only one to go after anyone was that big mosquito.
* ExplosiveBreeder
-->'''Nadine''': Um, Professor, the little wiggly worm things in there are breaking. \\
'''Ira''': It's not breaking, it's splitting. It's mitosis. It's how they reproduce. \\
'''Harry''': No sex? \\
'''Ira''': No time for sex. \\
'''Nadine''': Bummer.
* ForgottenFallenFriend: Nobody seems to care much about Lieutenant Cryer being taken away by the fuzzy no-nosed chimps. He isn't mentioned and no attempt is made by Woodman to rescue him.
* FunTShirt: [[spoiler:Allison's T-shirt with the periodic table on back]] leads to one of the {{eureka moment}}s referenced above.
* GenreSavvy: Harry knows the [[BlackDudeDiesFirst black guy dies first]] in horror/alien films.
* GiantFlyer: The big dragon/raptor thing that gets loose in the mall. Wayne lures it back with his skills at karaoke, which enrages it.
* GroinAttack:
** Wayne suffers one, courtesy of his fire hose falling and hitting him right in the crotch during his exam.
** The Governor threatens to send the military guys who botched containment to state prison "with the crotch-biters".
* GrotesqueCute: The dog-like alien a club member finds in a house, slowly dying of asphyxiation, with a [[TheWoobie sad expression]]. When one of them tries to pet it, it unleashes its defense mechanism: [[ShoutOut A really ill-tempered tongue with a beak]]. It bites one of them on the hand before it dies.
* HaveANiceDaySmile: The movie poster features one of these with three eyes. It is also used for the movie's ViralMarketing, where the three-eyed smiley began appearing all over New York City in the months prior to the film's release.
* AHeadAtEachEnd: Sported by one of the first critters Ira and Harry encounter in the cavern's "bug period". Harry doesn't know if it is "coming or going".
* HeroesWantRedheads: Harry insists this of Ira in regards to Allison. [[spoiler: It turns out to be true.]]
* HeroicWannabe: Wayne wants desperately to be a firefighter or ''some'' other type of hero to get girls.
%%%* HeterosexualLifePartners: Ira and Harry
* HiddenDepths: Deke and Danny are smarter than they appear, at least in regards to their grooming practices.
* HollywoodEvolution: "Evolution" in this movie depicted as the rapid development of single-celled organisms instead of more and more complex ones. At the end, it is noted that [[spoiler: the giant amoeba is still considered "evolution" over the apes and such because evolution is the ability to survive.]]
%%%%* HotScientist: Allison or, for that matter, Ira or Harry, depending on one's gender/orientation.
* IgnoredExpert: Ira tries to warn Woodman that [[spoiler:[[KillItWithFire napalming the aliens]] may be a really bad idea]]. [[spoiler:He [[FeedItWithFire turns out to be right]]]].
* TheImmodestOrgasm: Harry's mocking impressions of what he imagines Allison's sex noises to sound like.
* InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons: The dragony GiantFlyer.
%%%%* IWillFightSomeMoreForever
* JerkAss: General Woodman and his fellow army officers are rude, arrogant, sexist and dismissive of the science experts.
* KillerSpaceMonkey: Literally comes in the form of three-eyed, no-nose, ape-like beings that are one of the last to breach the habitat seal.
* KillItWithFire: The military decided to burn the entire alien habitat with napalm. [[spoiler: This backfires because fire accelerates their evolutionary process.]]
* LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain: [[spoiler:After Harry's mishap with the alien sphincter, he demands that Ira tell nobody of what happened.]]
* LifeOrLimbDecision: When Harry finds himself with an alien fly burrowing into his leg, he refuses to let the doctors amputate his leg until he hears that it's headed for his testicles. [[spoiler: Then they decide to TakeAThirdOption and remove it rectally. That poor guy.]]
* MadScientist: Ira [[spoiler:did some ''very'' nasty things with an anthrax vaccine. Unfortunately, he tested it on people who were equipped with really large guns]].
* MadeOfExplodium: [[spoiler:The final alien creature, after receiving an enema of anti-dandruff shampoo, explodes.]]
* MiracleGroMonster: [[spoiler:Fire makes the aliens grow faster. It is why napalm should not be used as a {{Kaiju}} attack Band-Aid]].
* MultipurposeTongue: One creature that looks kind of like a green pig [[NestedMouths has a beaked creature for a tongue]]. It is used as a weapon.
* MustNotDieAVirgin: A girl holding an "I can't die as a virgin" sign can be seen during the Arizona evacuation party.
* NeverLiveItDown: [[InUniverse The Kane Madness.]] An anthrax vaccine that ''did'' immunize people against anthrax... at the cost of a ''month'' of [[LongList debilitating stomach cramps, severe diarrhea, memory loss, partial facial paralysis, temporary blindness, drooling, bleeding gums, erectile dysfunction, uncontrollable flatulence...]]
* NonMaliciousMonster: The aliens are hostile all right, but they're not evil. They are just lost and confused on a strange planet. They're also hungry.
* NotReallyABirthScene: When the doctors have to get the alien insect that cut its way into Harry's body by going in through the colon and pulling it out, and the scene plays out in this way.
* NukeEm: Offered as a solution to the alien problem, but the military [[spoiler:decides to use napalm instead]]. [[spoiler:Considering what napalm eventually does to the alien lifeforms, one shudders to think what would have happened if the military had taken the nuclear option]].
* OneHandedShotgunPump: Ira, Harry and Wayne do this after killing the first oxygen-tolerant alien. It is presented as a post-victory swagger rather than something to do in actual combat.
* OrificeEvacuation:
-->[Dr. Paulson is going to pull the alien bug out through Harry's rectum] \\
'''Nurse Tate''': I'll get the lubricant... \\
'''Dr. Paulson''': No time for lubricant! \\
'''Harry''': [[CrowningMomentOfFunny There's ALWAYS time for lubricant!]]
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Alien predators resembling dragons are prominently featured, though the characters prefer to call them "birds." [[BizarreAlienBiology And they reproduce by]] ''[[{{Squick}} regurgitating]]''.
* PrisonRape: Defied by the Governor when he's lashing out at the military for screwing up containment. He threatens to send them all to prison.
-->"And not that cushy federal place with the loose jumpsuits. State prison! With the crotch-biters!"
* ProductPlacement: Head & Shoulder's dandruff-killing formula [[spoiler:also happens to kill aliens. This is parodied after the end of the movie, where the actors do a cliched commercial with forced smiles. And Harry holding his bottle backwards]]. This was Ivan Reitman's son's idea.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: We have an ex-colonel, a women's volleyball coach, a wanna-be fireman and a fiery redhead fighting off an alien invasion,
* SarcasmFailure: As the guys watch [[spoiler:an alien give birth to a newborn-which is able to thrive in the Earth's atmosphere--]]all Harry Block can do is shrug and say, "[[YiddishAsASecondLanguage Mazel Tov]]! It's a boy!"
* SequelHook: [[spoiler: Not all the aliens were killed. This leads into the sequel series.]]
* ShoutOut:
** Take a long look at the head of the dragony thing. It closely resembles the head of the creature from Film/TheGiantClaw.
** Also, one of the bird calls that Wayne tries is "Aww-aww, ee-ee, tukki tukki!" from GeorgeOfTheJungle.
** The heroes discover that [[spoiler: selenium is toxic to the nitrogen-based alien lifeforms]]. Selenium was also one of the materials used by the evil architect Ivo Shandor to build 55 Central Park West (Dana Barrett's apartment building) in ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}}''.
* SmartBall: The two guys who [[YouFailBiologyForever failed biology forever by confusing a prison cell with a biological cell]]? [[spoiler:They help save the day]].
* SpreadingDisasterMapGraphic: A map is used to show how the highly-adaptive alien lifeforms will own the United States in about a month from when they start to expand from the impact site in Glen Canyon.
* StarfishAliens: While the later aliens resemble dragons, apes and [[BlobMonster giant single-celled monstrosities]] respectively, the aliens earlier in the animated series look really odd by Earth standards. Sketches of some storyboards show even more strange aliens, including trees with metallic scales (possibly based on Earth's ''Lepidodendron''?).
* SmallNameBigEgo: It's downplayed here with Harry. He is well-aware that he's not on the same-level (scientifically) as Ira or Allison, but that doesn't stop him from milking what he does know for all it's worth.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To the first two ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'' films. Creator/DanAykroyd was unable to get his co-stars to do ''Ghostbusters III'', so ''Evolution'' was born.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Deke and Danny are a pair of fat idiots who are used for comedy [[[spoiler: except for one scene.]]
* ThrowTheDogABone: Deke and Danny handed in the worst science paper ever, copied off each other to boot. They are responsible for an EurekaMoment.
--> '''Ira Kane''': "You just earned your A's!"
* {{Troperiffic}}: The movie borrows tropes from any number of cheesy [[TheFifties 1950s]] sci-fi films.
* WeaksauceWeakness: [[spoiler: The aliens are weak to Selenium but this is not what counts; what counts is that the only way to get enough of the stuff is to empty out dozens of bottles of ''Shampoo''.]].