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Species (1995)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Collector's Edition)
Movie Connections:
Species
> Species (1995)
> Species II (1998)
> Species III (2004)
> Species: The Awakening (2007)
Genres:
Alien Film, Sci-Fi Horror, Science Fiction
Director:
Roger Donaldson Roger Donaldson
Starring:
Ben Kingsley Ben Kingsley
Michael Madsen Michael Madsen
Alfred Molina Alfred Molina
Forest Whitaker Forest Whitaker
Marg Helgenberger Marg Helgenberger

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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A group of scientists try to track down and trap a killer alien seductress before she successfully mates with a human. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: July 08, 2012
While something of a juxtaposition, sex and horror have long gone hand in hand, and when it comes to said fusion, no one does it better than H. R. Giger.

S.E.T.I. (the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) has long been beaming information about our planet into space, hoping to make contact with whoever is out there. Success! They've received a reply consisting of the chemical formula for a super cheap, clean-burning fuel and a sample of alien DNA. Apparently having never seen Jurassic Park, scientists fuse their DNA with ours to see what would happen. What happened is a seemingly human girl named Sil who aged to about ten years old in a matter of months. After she's spent a few nights plagued by nightmares, they decide to kill her. I'm not sure what kind of scientific method they're following, but I digress. Obviously, Sil's not going to just sit around and willingly suck up the cyanide for them, and launches a violent escape, eventually ending up on a train heading to LA. Along the way, she builds a cocoon around herself and emerges a nubile blonde in her early twenties. Realizing the potential for disaster this spells, our original scientists put together a team of various talents to hunt Sil down. Unfortunately, she has plans of her own, plans that could wipe out the human race on the entire planet.

As I'm sure you've deduced, this isn't exactly a thinking man's horror movie. Everything's nice and straightforward, and as the audience we're just in it to watch a smoking hot alien rip people apart, and the film delivers. Our team of scientists are there to explain the few developments as they happen, and to the filmmakers' credit, they were actually to move a few steps beyond one dimensional archetype. Not too far mind, but just enough so that Species can pretend to be a legitimate film. The end result straddles the line beautifully, the movie successfully manages to give us the three B's along with a few touches not usually found in these flicks.

In addition, the flick boasts some quality acting to go along with it. Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, and Marge Helgenberger all handle their roles beautifully, and again, they're actually decently fleshed out. Newcomer Natasha Henstridge has a somewhat simple role as Sil, relying more on her body than her acting skills, but to her credit, she was certainly a few levels past porn star. Contrary to what I said earlier, Ben Kingsly's character was about as one dimensional as they come, but even so, the only thing that really needed to be retooled was Forest Whitaker's character. They wanted to portray him as some kind of pseudo-psychic empath or something. I don't know, but frankly, it was dumb, and really lazily written. If you want the guy to be psychic, just make him a fucking psychic and be done with it. Naturally, ol' Forest had a few problems with this role, but I really can't blame him for that.

Sil herself didn't look too bad. Trademark Giger really; very sexual overtones on top of stark, alien bionics. While a little uninspired, it worked well. Given the strength, agility and the tentacles, the creature definitely looked like a deadly threat. Still, I wish they didn't give her that swept back head; it just seemed like a shameless throwback to a much better movie. Of course, the CGI they used in the big finale was four shades short of absolutely terrible, but it was a short scene, so the collateral damage was kept to a minimum.

So as usual, let's not get it twisted here. Species isn't a stellar film by any means. I'm not even sure I'd call it "good". However, it does what it set out to do, and kept me entertained throughout its running time. That's all I wanted out of it. 7/10.
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