Mar. 9th, 2010
The animated music video for "Do the Evolution" was co-directed by Kevin Altieri, known for his direction on Batman: The Animated Series, and Todd McFarlane, better known for his work with the popular comic book Spawn and Korn's 1999 "Freak on a Leash" video. The video was produced by Joe Pearson, the president of Epoch Ink animation, and Terry Fitzgerald at TME. It was written and developed by Pearson and Altieri with input from McFarlane and Vedder. The total production time on the music video was 16 weeks. The animation pre-production was produced by Epoch Ink Animation at their studio in Santa Monica, California. Under Altieri and Pearson’s supervision the Epoch team boarded and designed the short in less than six weeks. Once McFarlane, Vedder, and Sony gave their final approvals, the short was taken to Korea by Altieri and Pearson for animation at Sun Min Image Pictures and Jireh Animation. Over a four week period, a team of more than one hundred artists worked to deliver the finished animation.
Once the final animation was back in Los Angeles, California, Altieri, McFarlane, and Vedder edited the final cut at Vittello Productions. In a press release, McFarlane stated, "We choose to work with people who convey a particular attitude and this video is a tribute to that attitude," while Pearl Jam stated, "As artists we are challenged to expand the meaning of our work and by utilizing this visual medium and working with a visionary like Todd, we were able to further explore some of the themes we depicted in the song "Do the Evolution". Basically we've tried to make a good stoner video." The video premiered on August 24, 1998 on MTV's 120 Minutes. The video was the band's first since the final video for Ten, "Jeremy". At the 1999 Grammy Awards, the music video received a nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form. The video clip for "Do the Evolution" can be found on the Touring Band 2000 DVD as one of the Special Features.
 Video summary
Collage of scenes from the "Do the Evolution" video featuring an archetypal representation of death as a seductive female among other scenes of post-apocalyptic industrialization.
Throughout the video, a black haired woman (similar in appearance to the character Death from the DC comic book series, The Sandman) dances and laughs, representing "Death" as it follows mankind through all of its history. The video is misanthropic in its underlying message. The video begins with the evolution of life, from the smallest cell to the extinction of dinosaurs and reign of homo sapiens. The video then cuts back and forth throughout human history, depicting man's primitive, violent nature as essentially unchanged over the centuries. Such depictions include a knight preparing for the coming slaughter during the Crusades, a ritual dance by America's KKK (the dance is repeated with other groups throughout the video), a rally by Nazi-esque troops (with a symbol reminiscent of the Sig Rune instead of a swastika), Auschwitz-like prisoners with the stripes going vertically instead of horizontally on their uniforms, carnage upon a World War I-era battlefield (apparently a tribute to Peace on Earth, a 1930s MGM anti-war cartoon directed by Hugh Harman), the apparent rape of a woman, and the bombing of a Vietnamese village by an American jet, the pilot of which removes his mask to reveal a skull laughing wildly. Every scene portrayed complements the song's meaning and tightly follows the lyrics. When Vedder sings "Buying stocks on the day of the crash," a scene is shown where businessmen are committing suicide by jumping from buildings, similar to Black Thursday and the resulting suicides from the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Other social and environmental issues such as whaling, Manifest Destiny, vivisection, pollution, genetic modification and techno-progressivism are included. The music video blames humankind's brutality on leadership; with various scenes depicting a cardinal or priest, an American President, and an Asian leader. It is eventually revealed that the world leaders are being controlled as puppets by the hand of Death. The video concludes in what seem to be future scenarios of the self-destruction of the human race, including the carpet bombing of a city of clones by futuristic aircraft, computers hijacking the human mind, and finally a nuclear explosion which leaves a city in ruins. During the sequence of flashing images near the end of the video an image of a yield sign being smashed at the corner can be seen, which references the album title and cover art.
I love this video!!