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  • Evan Almighty

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 9th, 2007

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    Steve Carell is Evan Baxter in this “sort of” sequel to Bruce Almighty. He is a freshman member of the United States Congress about to start his first day. His campaign promise was to “change the world”. In the “be careful what you wish for” department, God (Morgan Freeman) gives him the chance to do just that. There’s just one catch, however. Evan has to build an ark…. You know the rest of that story. Suddenly animals begin arriving in pairs, and Evan makes a physical transformation into the traditional long bearded Noah. As you might imagine, this causes some troubles in his life as a Congressman. Try as he might, this modern-day Noah can’t escape his divine destiny. You’re probably thinking: “this sounds like funny stuff”. Wrong. This film meanders through a one-joke plot for most of its hour and a half. Steve Carell is no Jim Carrey and simply doesn’t have the chops to carry this off. The film resorts to mostly physical gags that are more gross-out than funny.

    Too bad Carell is so miscast in this film. He is almost always trying way too hard for a laugh, and that’s just pitiful. The sight gags are adolescent humor at best. Wanda Sykes has by far the best jokes as his congressional aide, and John Goodman is perfectly cast as the corrupt House Chairman. Morgan Freeman is perfect as God and puts enough personality on the role to make you almost forget that George Burns practically created the role over 30 years ago. Freeman doesn’t have to struggle, and the performance looks effortless. Still, that talent is all wasted on a film that can’t seem to bring off anything funny. Hell, I laughed harder than this the last time I watched Hardball with Chris Matthews. Finish it off with the most obnoxious credit rolls I’ve ever seen, and you have a less than divine moment of cinema ahead of you.

    The real mess here is that this was the biggest budget ever for a comedy. Back when Ghostbusters had that claim, you sure got a lot of bang for those bucks. Here it’s really easy to see where the budget went. The CGI stuff is pretty good at times. The Ark finale does have some WOW moments, but in the end all you can hear is the swoosh of that $200 million being flushed down one huge toilet. After the CGI you’ll spend too much time scratching your head when you’re supposed to be laughing. Me? Not even a chuckle.


    Video

    Evan Almighty is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is certainly where the money went, as you get a truly stellar picture here; at least it must have been in the theaters. The bit rate rarely rises above 5 mbps and is marred with a ton of compression artifact. It’s too bad, because it’s obvious this is a pretty nice looking picture if nothing else. Colors are actually pretty bright and realistic with deep detail in the black levels when the compression problems aren’t too harsh.

    Audio

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track was actually pretty nice. Everything is absolutely crystal clear with excellent separation. While the mix isn’t particularly aggressive there are some rather fine subtle ambient sounds. The ark scene is pretty alive in every channel which adds tremendously to the large visual f/x on the screen. Dialog is always clear and placed perfectly at all times. The music comes through brilliantly at times, yet is cleverly hidden just beneath the surface when necessary.


    Special Features

    A lot of the features look like they could have been produced by Greenpeace. I’m all for environmental activism, but this stuff gets a little too warm and fuzzy for my tastes.


    Deleted Scenes
    : There are actually a ton of deleted scenes, but none of them would have saved this film at all. In fact, one rather long piece is an extended version of Evan grooming for his first day. Trust me, what they used was already too much. It was a struggle to sit through this extended version.


    Outtakes
    : Most of the so called outtakes are merely messing around on set. Even these few scenes aren’t funny.


    The Ark-itects Of Noah’s Ark: The building of the film’s ark in both model and CG elements are explored in this 6 minute feature.


    Becoming Noah: Here we get a too close and personal look at the makeup f/x used to transform Carell into Noah.


    Steve Carell Unscripted: Carell carries on on the set like he’s Robin Williams or someone who is actually … well… funny.


    Animal Round-Up Game: A tedious kiddie game


    The Almighty Green Set: Here the film’s crew tells us how they were trying to be environmentally friendly during the shoot. They used bikes when they could and planted trees.


    A Flood Of Visual Effects: Most of the money went into the flood sequence, and the process is examined here. The effects are often good, but there are too many fake looking moments that ruined the whole effect for me.

    Easy Being Green: The film attempts to carry an environmental message, both in the script and in these features, but it really doesn’t come across as being genuine to me. These little features just look like “aren’t we being special” bits that are also a little preachy.


    Acts Of Random Kindness: At under two minutes this is getting to be too much. Here we hear these guys talk about acts of kindness.


    Casting Call: Serengeti: A GE commercial promoting the company’s “green” policies.


    The Almighty Forest: A list of contributors to the getonboard.com environment web site.

    Final Thoughts

    I tried to like this film; I really did. The idea appears to be inspired and had tremendous potential. Instead this film falls flat at almost every turn. If you’re looking for a lesson in Bible Study or political science, you won’t find it here either. Honestly, this film has little worth spending your time or your hard earned money on. For a truly inspired comedic take on the subject, try and find Bill Cosby’s old Noah routine. It’s hands down better than this failure, right? Right! Unfortunately films don’t have to be good to create a wave of imitations. It seems the Bible humor stuff is hot right now, and there are several more such efforts on the way. So “if anyone asks you tell them, flood’s coming”.

     

    You can catch a bonus clip of a deleted scene in the film here: Deleted Scene.




    Posted In: 2.35:1 Widescreen, Comedy, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DVD, Universal

    One Response to “Evan Almighty”

    1. Mike Says:

      i sure don’t know what your talking about but this movie is really good.

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