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Is 'Species' a groundbreaking, visionary SF movie? No, of course not. Is it silly, trashy, but FUN b-grade exploitation SF in the tradition of Tobe Hooper's 'Lifeforce'? You bet! It isn't quite as entertaining as 'Lifeforce', the original naked space chick movie, but it's a still pretty good way to waste an hour and a half of your life. Why it gets slammed so much is beyond me. Maybe people just don't have a sense of humour. The opening of the movie is terrific. In a lab we see a cold scientist (Ben Kingsley) overseeing the murder of a young girl (Michelle Williams), imprisoned in a glass case. Only she escapes by showing some super human strength. She is immediately pursued by dozens of soldiers, but manages to elude them. We then learn she is in fact a genetic experiment, a mixing of extraterrestrial and human DNA. Kingsley heads up a task force consisting of Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Marg Helgenberger and Forest Whitaker, each a specialist in a different field. Pretty soon our alien fugitive mutates into a gorgeous blonde (Natasha Henstridge), who spends most of her time topless. Kingsley and company face a race against time, they must capture the horny alien girl before she screws guys to death(?) or something... Who knows. Henstridge is great to look at and the above average cast give it their best shot with the lame dialogue and cliched scenes. Whitaker's empath character quickly irritates with his constant stating the bleedin' obvious, but I always get a kick out of watching Madsen, here in stereotypical tough guy mode. 'Species' is big dumb fun.
"Species" has a hopelessly derivative premise that makes it a completely unnecessary view for anyone who has ever seen "Alien" or "The Predator" (or their sequels), but it does have some things going for it. To be short and specific: Natasha Henstridge is dreamily, extraordinarily beautiful; the rest of the cast is distinguished, with a very cool Michael Madsen stealing the show; the special effects are convincingly yucky; and the pacing is fast and unrelenting, with the "search-and-destroy" team being always only one step behind the pursued alien "monster". A forgettable film, but not nearly as bad as many reviews have suggested. (**)
For thirty years, powerful telescopes have been scanning the space
searching from signal of alien civilization. In 1974, the SETI (Search
for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) team sends a message to the space
with the human DNA, map of our solar system and other information. In
return, they receive two messages: the first one, with a catalyst for
methane; the second, a detailed alien DNA together with instructions to
join it with human DNA. The result of the experiment is the deadly
creature Sil. When Dr. Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley), who is leading the
research, decides to terminate the experiment, the girl Sil (Michelle
Williams) escapes to Los Angeles. Dr. Fitch joins the mercenary Preston
Lennox (Michael Madsen); the anthropologist Dr. Stephen Arden (Alfred
Molina); the scientist Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger); and the
empathic Dan Smithson (Forest Whitaker) to chase Sil (Natasha
Henstridge). Sooner they discover that the predator Sil has grown-up
and became a beautiful woman, trying to copulate to generate an
"Species" is one of the best sci-fis of the 90's. Full of action, sexy and with a great cast, this film introduces the stunning Natasha Henstridge, one of the most gorgeous and sexy actresses of Hollywood ever. Her debut could not be better, and together with the cult Michael Madsen, they make this pleasant movie work. The story recalls those B-movies from the 50's, but spiced with erotic and very sexy scenes. I have just watched this movie for the fourth time, and I do not get tired to this attractive story. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "A Experiência" ("The Experience")
Some scientists working for the government tamper with a DNA sequence
they got from a message from outer space. The subject turns into a
little girl with amazing superhuman powers. She escapes and turns into
a beautiful woman (Natasha Herstridge) who wants to mate and produce
others like her. A team led by a head scientist (Ben Kingsley!) try to
track her down.
OK--it's kind of silly but this moves quickly and is well-done. There are many excellent, if gruesome, special effects and the SIL creature at the end is truly astounding. The script is good (considering) and it actually makes sense...if you don't think about it too much.
Acting varies--Kingsley is TERRIBLE in his role. Michael Madsen is pretty good as part of the team as are Marg Helgenberger and (especially) Forest Whitaker. Herstridge is certainly beautiful but can't act--but the role doesn't call for acting.
I'm giving it an 8. It's no classic but it moves quickly and I was never bored.
Species is like a meeting between an amateur low budget film, and a big
budget horror movie. On the one hand; the film has a great cast and is
professionally produced, but on the other - the special effects
wouldn't have looked out of place in an eighties film, and the plot
concentrates mostly on its sleazy and often silly by-products. That
being said, however, the movie is lots of fun; and overall I wouldn't
hesitate to call it one of the best horror films of the nineties. The
film takes obvious influence from a range of similar films, such as
Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce and Jack Sholder's 'The Hidden', but it brings
all of it's elements together well and somehow manages to feel fresh
and inventive. The plot is pure hokum, but it works well; as
alien-human crossover 'Sil' escapes from a testing lab with a team of
professionals, comprising a psychic, an action hero, a woman etc, on
her tail. Sil's ultimate goal is to reproduce, and to complete that aim
she must find a man. So basically, what we have here is a sexy, horny,
naked chick being chased around before she can have sex with someone.
Sounds good to me...
I'm not quite sure how director Roger Donaldson managed it, but he's managed to get quite a few names to appear in his film; and most of them do well with their roles. Despite the fact that she probably isn't really, Natasha Henstridge looks clean and pure in the lead role; and this both ensures that she looks the part, and the film is great in that it carries off the juxtaposition of having a sweet-looking virginal woman act like a prostitute. Ben Kingsley is the biggest cast surprise, as the former Ghandi actor looks slightly out of place in a B-movie like this. Michael Madsen is absolutely great in his typecast action hero role and the cast is completed by a memorable performance from Alfred Molina, and a rather annoying one from Forest Whitaker. Marg Helgenberger fails to make much of an impression as Madsen's love interest. The two plots that run concurrently are played out well, and climax nicely. The special effects are key in a film like this, and even though they're cheap throughout - they do look fairly realistic. It's not until we get to the end and the director decides to spoil it with some abysmal CGI that the effects become a problem. But even so, Species takes its plot well and isn't too serious, and I've got to rate this as a really fun flick overall.
For some reason I've always loved watching "Species", even though I
very well realize that it isn't a particularly good movie. Still due to
its approach and handling of a really unoriginal concept and story, the
movie can be regarded as one of the best science-fiction movies from
If you need to compare this movie to something, you can easily compare it to any of the "Alien"-movies. Of course over the years "Alien" and its sequel "Aliens" have been ripped-off countless times and film-makers often tried to cash in by making basically "Alien" and "Aliens" clones, using the same concept, settings, characters, locations, complete sequences and whatever more that it was that made these two science-fiction movies such an highly acclaimed success. Yes, in my opinion "Species" can definitely be seen as an "Alien" clone but out of all the movies that ever tried to rip off the "Alien" movies in any way possible, this is easily the best movie, that at times even makes you forget how unoriginal it actually truly is.
Also no big wonder that the movie should remind you of "Alien" at times, also since the alien in this movie got designed by the same man who designed the original alien for "Alien" and all of its sequels. So perhaps this is also part of the reason why you so easily can forgive this movie from ripping off "Alien" in parts.
It's a surprising movie from Roger Donaldson, who had never done any science-fiction or horror before and he also hasn't done any ever since. Donaldson is these days mostly known for directing more serious movies.
It's perhaps its horror that also makes this movie work out so well. The movie is not just a science-fiction movie about an alien on the loose but truly knows to create a dark moody atmosphere as well and puts in a couple of true great and effective horror moments, which makes the movie tense and in a way also unpredictable to watch, also since the movie is not too afraid to kill off its main characters.
There is also some gore in the movie that is good looking, with its often graphic killings. Also the make-up effects are great and the movie uses some early special effects, that especially for 1995 standards seem like pretty good ones, even though the movie itself somewhat feels and looks like a low budget production.
The movie makes a choice not to only follow the team that is called in to hunt down the alien but also shows things from the perspective of the alien herself. She's constantly learning things, which she uses to adapt and blend in and to eventually get what she wants. This approach gives "Species" a nice extra dimension. It's like "The Day the Earth Stood Still", only with a not so friendly alien.
The movie also has an amazing cast with actors such as Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker and Michelle Williams involved. Whenever I hear the name- or a thinking of Ben Kingsley, I'm not thinking about "Schindler's List" or "Ghandi" but I'm thinking about "Species". I don't now, I just find it to be a very amusing role by him, despite the fact that he plays his character totally death serious.
I love this movie!
Let's face it, SPECIES is a B movie with an A list cast & production
design to match. It's a deceptive entertainment that finally shows it's
hand during the boring, silly showdown in the sewer level from Quake II
where you have to find the red key & beat the boss monster without the
quad damage. I'd always drown before I could find the biosuit. Why this
was never made into an adults oriented video game is beyond me, other
than the obvious problem with marketing it to teenagers.
The whole SPECIES franchise was meant to cash in on the success of the ALIEN films, obviously, and go straight for the amniotic fluid in the reproductive cycle at the expense of logic, probability, and science. It's probably a better movie than it had to be and I'm sure that multiple viewings will bring out more nuances, though that's probably not the idea they had in mind when making it. Once will suffice for most viewers.
I enjoyed seeing Natasha Henstridge naked, however, and the H.R. Giger creature designs are fabulous as always. In fact I wondered, is the whole film really a contrivance just to get to see Giger's aliens mating with humans? Why yes, it probably is. And for some people that's enough to warrant watching it regardless of whom the lead body actress is. Giger's designs were sexually suggestive to begin with and with this movie he finally got to see them doing the nasty. I trust he was well paid.
In any event it's a wildly popular film for reasons that have nothing to do with the professionalism of the cast & crew. Which by the way someone should have told them before prodding us with their serious, emotive performances that serve as buffer zones between the sex & ooze scenes. Only Michael Madsen seems to be aware that it was essentially an exploitation film and acts accordingly. He's spoken of his pride in the work and it shows, especially when considering that he turned up for SPECIES 2 with it's bonus deathmatch levels and Capture The Flag mod.
Admittedly you would either need to be 50 plus with a good memory, or to be
a well-versed student of older sci-fi but in 1961 Miss Julie Christie made
her screen debut in the British TV Sci-fi serial A FOR ANDROMEDA. The plot?
Signals are received from deep-space seemingly the blue-print for the
creation of human life. Scientists of course find the opportunity way too
tempting and before you can say "Told you that was a dumb move!" we have a
genetically engineered, rather stunning young blonde walking around the lab,
causing all sorts of political and scientific unrest.....sound familiar?
Yep, SPECIES was a total conceptual rip-off and to my knowledge, either no-one has ever noticed the fact OR has failed to put such view into print. Certainly not a solitary film critic worldwide that I read at the time was aware of the fact! That said, SPECIES wasn't a total flopperoo although Ben Kingsley looked majorly uncomfortable, if not stunned for the greater part of the flick, as the head science honcho really wanting his creation (the delectable and statuesque Miss Henstridge) dead on sight....a task he bequeathes to Mr Madsen who always enjoys work of this sort!
Never really scales the heights. Neither a major gore-fest or a jaw-dropping ALIEN-wannabe. It labors on beneath its own mediocrity and when it finally finishes, about the only emotion left to the viewer is.."Hmmmmm, OK, now I've seen SPECIES....what's for dinner?" Compared to its sequel however, it remains a rare masterpiece!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***** CONTAINS SPOILERS ******
SPECIES is an extremely dumb and derivative SF horror film . Not only that it`s extremely predictable The plot is this : human egg is mixed with alien DNA which leads to the creation of an alien girl ,alien girl escapes and a bunch of spook types have to hunt her down because the future of humanity is at stake . Think of a medley megamix of A FOR ANDROMEDA , FRANKENSTEIN , THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT , LIFEFORCE , THE X FILES and a climax that rips off ALIEN and you`ve got the idea. Or should that be several other folks ideas ?
Most of the actors try to do their best with their sketchily written characters , well apart from Michael Madsen who may very well be doing his best , but the more films I see him in the more obvious it becomes that Madsen lacks any range , and he plays a government hitman in SPECIES , oh gee hope I didn`t spoil anything for you there. Without doubt the best performance is by Michelle Williams who plays the young Sil and who manages to communicate the fear and suffering the hunted alien must be going through , such a pity she turns into a bimbo non actress .
The one really bad thing about this film - with the exception of the dialogue - is the CGI , it really is bad in some places like the tendrils coming out of the young Sil`s face , and it never ever rises above being mediocre at best .
Still despite its many flaws SPECIES is an absolute masterwork compared to the sequel
Now I'm not a big Sci Fi buff but species wasn't to bad, it mainly
focused on the story of how some alien woman was trying to mate on
planet earth and of scientists were trying to stop her. It is just your
average story but it was fairly entertaining and suspenseful.
Species is fairly gory and at times is quiet frightening but it all adds to the entertainment of this horrific Sci Fi. At first the audience does believe that the alien means absolutely no harm but as the story goes along you discover that if the deadly alien is not caught then it could very well mean the end of humanity forever, this frighten's the audience and makes you more eager for the crew of scientists to catch the alien before it mates.
In conclusion, 'Species' is at times entertaining and suspenseful but there seems like there is noway to catch the alien after a while which frustrates you.
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