Species: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Through some unusual circumstances, scientists are able to detail the alien DNA patterns and meld them into the patterns of a human. As the test subject grows and matures it is watched under the careful eye of the creators, as well as held under strict and cutting edge security devices. It is not known to what extent the subject, named Sil is gifted or changed but the fear of danger keeps her under lock and key. One aspect of her change is well documented though as Sil can change form and what a difference it is. In her human form Sil is a blonde female with breathtaking good looks, but when he transforms she is an armored and lethal killing machine. Despite her power and armored exterior she is never able to escape…until now. Sil manages to break loose from her holding area and heads right for the streets with one thing on her mind, sex. As he goes on a mating rampage a team is assembled to stop her before she is able to give birth. With time running out and Sil looking for love, can this rogue team fend her off and ensure the safety of mankind?

This movie serves me well on two fronts to truthful, I love science fiction and I love aliens. The two often merge often, but usually the results are cheese or nice guy aliens. The alien in this movie is an ass kicking female and that makes it twice as cool, if you ask me. Come on now, how many of you don’t want to see a half naked Natasha Henstridge stalking clueless victims? This might seem like the core of a bad movie, but this one has a nice storyline and a tremendous supporting cast to make it turns out well. As if all that isn’t enough this movie is loaded with effective special effects and awesome blood and guts death sequences, which I happen to love. Call me barbaric if you will, but I know what I like. I’m sure I could nitpick and find some stuff that sucks or is too fake or whatever, but why waste my time? I mean if you don’t like this type of movie why would you read this review, ya know? Anyway, this disc isn’t much other than the movie so maybe a rental would be best for some, although I know I would want to own this one. This isn’t rocket science but it does make for a fun and thrilling ride. This new Special Edition release adds in a new transfer, a DTS soundtrack, and new supplements, what more could we want?

Roger Donaldson directed this movie and I feel he has done a solid turn behind the camera here. With a movie like this atmosphere is vital to the film’s effectiveness and Donaldson always places the camera in the right spots. I also love the production design for this film, which I am sure he also had somewhat of a hand in. This might be a science fiction movie but Donaldson managed to pull some excellent performances from his actors, which gives the film a more realistic edge. While many will remember the special effects or creature creations after they’ve seen this movie, I know I will remember some of the fantastic shots used. Donaldson also directed such movies as The Getaway, Cocktail, White Sands, Cadillac Man, and Dante’s Peak. Without an effective female lead to play the role of Sil this movie would have blown, but Natasha Henstridge (Caracara, The Whole Nine Yards) seems to fit the part perfectly. Her stunning good looks combine with her solid acting skills to make this character seem very real and dangerous. The impressive supporting cast includes Michael Madsen (Supreme Sanction, Species II), Alfred Molina (The Impostors, Magnolia), Forest Whitaker (Ready To Wear, Battlefield Earth), and Ben Kingsley (Dave, Rules Of Engagement).

Video: How does it look?

Species is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The previous disc sported a more than acceptable visual treatment, but for this new release, MGM has struck a new high definition transfer from the original film elements. This seems to be same print used, but that is good news, as grain is not an issue and debris is minimal at worst. The visuals look more refined this time around, so subtle detail has more depth and clarity. Not to the same extent as elite reference transfers, but this movie looks quite impressive here. No problems with colors either, as hues come across in bold and vivid fashion. I found contrast to be up to snuff also, with rich black levels and no softness I could detect. MGM could have recycled the same treatment here, but kudos to them for giving us this new and improved visual presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio on the original disc was impressive back then, but now, the audio seems confined and not as explosive. In an effort to compensate, MGM has conjured up a new DTS surround option in addition to the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track. The result is about the same, though the DTS option does add a little to the experience. Perhaps I am spoiled by how damn good new releases sound, as I wasn’t that impressed here. As always, what was incredible a few years back can sound timid now and that is the case here. The audio packs a punch and fulfills the needs of the material, but lacks the intense kick and fire we’re used to. I don’t want to confuse people, as both soundtracks are more than solid, I just expected more. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is not a loaded Special Edition, but you’ll find two worthwhile audio commentary tracks here. The first is with director Roger Donaldson and stars Natasha Henstridge & Michael Madsen, while the second is Donaldson joined by producer Frank Mancuso, visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund, and creature effects creator Steve Johnson. The track with the director and actors is a brisk and humorous look back at the production, as jokes, stories, and memories flow, all in good fun and fond recollections. But if you want more substance, the crew track is more focused and has more insight into the behind the scenes side. So two different approaches, but both well worth a listen, if you ask me. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores