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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.
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.
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.
"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")
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.
Okay, I'm losing my train of thought, let alone my focus...; This is what most people do when you bring up this movie, most viewers soon forget how awesome, by definition of the term... that the movie really is, and therefore, it's NOT just some trashy R-rated B-movie, like so many were from the mid '80s to the early '90s.
The story balance is very well kept from beginning, with solid character development... throughout the crazy plot, to the climax, and quickly to a unexpected, yet fitting finale. Natasha played the role to a "T", with her almost, perfect appearance, and bright, and justly glowing & huge green, also already (alien-ish), eyes.
Action scenes, and special effects are top notch, as is standard execution by Steve Johnson, who created costumes, robotic structures, prosthetics and effects for this and a cache of blockbusters like Spider-Man 2 (Easily arguable as the pinnacle of the trio), War of the Worlds, the 1989 classic - The Abyss... and definitely not to be unlisted here, Pet Semetary II, the best one in my opinion, and a personal favorite scary thriller of this reviewer. Sorry for the TLDR; run-on movie-geek splashing there.
Check out those Green eyes: http://tinyurl.com/6hntl7q
Overall, Species follows the winning recipe for great Sci-Fi Action Thriller, by combining great complimentary casting in Kingsley, Whitaker, and Molina, oh, and Micheal Madsen... shoot! That's a Sci-Fi cast, what? Something must've smelled good, right! :oD
The acting and follow-through by scriptwriters from story-2-screen, showed balance... extremely important for movies of this genre. It also stands up to the test of time, which for many of these Special FX Blockbusters, expected to explode all over the tail-bone of a 3-day weekend release for maximum payoff and publicity, it usually does NOT hold true. I'm gonna watch this right now! AND, I want you to watch it again for the 3rd time, but you need to pay for it; you can even watch it on Amazon... see the free preview on IMDb first and get your mouth watering for "'Ol Green-Eyes gonna get ya!" - Sir SmokeAlot.
Reruns on FX while cooking dinner for the kids doesn't count. Get your Netflix, OnDemand, Hulu, Meebo, Boxee, Apple Video, Torrent, Direct Download, or Newsbin on ASAP on a cold dark 'n scary night. Don't get raped by a ha-wt-bodied alien sex machine!
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!
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!
One of the members of the team, Dan (Forest Whitaker), is an empath who "feels things deeply." He provides intuitive commentary on what Sil is up to and why. His presence creates the impression that there is more to this alien than breeding and destroying humans, and that there is more to this movie than finding the alien and blowing her away. But, as we find out when the credits start rolling, the alien really has been only interested in breeding and destroying humans, and the movie was really only about finding the alien and blowing her away. A movie doesn't have to be about more than that, but it shouldn't pretend to be something it's not.
I guess the biggest conceit of this movie is that someone who looks like Natasha Henstridge could wander around L.A. for a week without finding someone to have sex with. She eventually hooks up with one of the team members (Alfred Molina), pushing credulity even further: so, the team has been looking for a beautiful woman who supposedly acts like a nymphomaniac because she needs to breed, and some stranger shows up in my hotel room and starts removing her clothing. Am I the only one who hears alarms going off at this point?
Species also contains what must be the grand-daddy of all science fiction cliches: the overnight transformation of a child alien into an adult alien. This trait is so advantageous (especially to the plots of poorly-written science fiction movies), you wonder why humans didn't develop it eons ago.
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
The dialog doesn't always work, like when they're trying to track her down and are quickly jumping to conclusions about things that the audience already knows. Scenes vary in quality, some feel a bit rushed. While the effects are mostly excellent there are some subpar ones, too.
Overall I highly recommend it if you can get something out of sci-fi horror.
The storyline is weak, but it still is an entertaining movie. I don't think this movie appeals to the viewers intellect. It is a cross-breed (as is the monster in the movie) and draws on elements from Sci-Fi, splatter-movies, thrillers and soft porn movies.
The special effects are not as impressive anymore, and is where the movie shows its age. Although the end is almost a pure "Alien" rip-off, it fails to provide the suspence of the "Alien" movie. The cliffhanger-rat at the end is a little funny, but contributes to the impression of a weak script with intellectually cheap solutions.
All in all an entertaining, almost-no-brainer movie based on a very interesting idea.
Nevertheless I couldn't really get into it all that much. Ben Kingsley and co. all seem to be kind of embarrassed. I know it's supposed to be cheesy but there should be a limit...also the ending is a mess and the special effects are poor.
The new species of babe is hot but the movie is pretty lame... if I were you I'd rather watch "The Relic," a similar movie (in approach) that is much better in terms of entertainment.
The failure was in taking that concept, one that should have been wonderfully psychological, and turning it into an action movie that tries to follow up on the likes of Aliens.
**SPOILER ALERT FOR CONTENT BELOW THESE LINES**
The back-story, the scientists' experiments and Sil's quick maturity into her adult form are all interesting and thrilling, though rushed and not given nearly enough development time. Sil's dream sequences were one of the places this film shined. They were stylish and very revealing into the psychology of this tortured and instinctively driven main character/antagonist/creature. It is too bad that the film's creators chose to pursue their own blind instincts and rush into the action genre. Instead of resolving character conflicts (Ben Kingsley's character clearly expresses remorse for his role in abusing Sil, leading to her escape, yet there is zero development of the relationship between them - and it ends rather abusively to the characters) or even allowing Sil to "grow-up" psychologically (despite actually meeting the only nice guy in LA) the film-makers turned to a cliche of "hunt down and kill the monster" with a lame "it's not dead yet" ending (the rat - how lame).
Overall, a massive disappointment to those of us that were looking forward to a thrilling science fiction movie with intelligent undertones. Though I hear the guts and blood action movie lovers were thrilled...
Has Species II attempted to take more of a psychological approach? Doubt it, though there appeared to be actual character interaction between Sil II and the woman scientist in a brief glimpse on the Sci-Fi Channel... maybe I'll give it a shot some day...
If you liked Natasha Henstridge and would like to see her in a more active role, clothed, try "The Whole Nine Yards." Charming and funny.
Let's face it right now: this film is the most stupid film I have ever seen! Well, maybe not... but it comes very close. I mean, the story... Silly, silly, silly. Natasha Henstridge's acting... Scary. Special/visual effects... Laughable, especially in the birth scene at the end and the scenes following that. But I have to say even though "Species" is a stupid film it is also entertaining, dumb but fun, you know? And then there's Forest Whitaker... One of my fave actors. Always nice to see him in a film. (4/10)
My Grade: B-
DVD Extras: Commentary by Director Roger Donaldson, Micheal Madsen, and Natasha Henstridge; Second commentary by Donaldson, Frank Mancuso Jr, Richard Edlund, and Steve Johnson; Sneak peek at Species 3; Theatrical Trailer; red-band trailer for "the Howling"; trailer for "Jeepers Creepers 2"; one for "Earthsea" (a scifi channel mini-series); and a few montage trailers
Eye Candy: Marg Helgenberger gets topless; Natasha Henstridge shows it all.
Starring: Ben Kingsly, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger, and Natasha Henstridge Director: Roger Donaldson Running time: aprox 95minutes Rated R (strong sexuality, nudity, language & graphic violence)
By Blake French:
"Species" is an overly familiar practice in making a bad science fiction horror romp. It does have some campy, run-of-the-mill scary moments that build up enough momentum for an occasional shock moment, and even some squirming at the gore. But all of the film's terror is smothered in its high self-esteem and the character's unconvincing motives. The movie thinks that a lot of kinky sex, copious amounts of gore, and a complex and arguable plot can save it from its own lack of focusing on "the chase," and it fails as a result.
The movie takes place in pretty much present day. A research clinic in search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence receives a signal detailing some kind of alien structure of DNA. The complicated story line soon makes it quite clear that the movie will transform a sexy young woman into a blood thirsty monster who is desperate to become pregnant so it can breed. This beast is called Sil, who brutally kills many people in search for a mating partner.
All of this nonsense can be thanked by a no-nonsense scientist named Xavier Fitch (funny how the cartoon character on the children's television series "The X Men," has the same name, hair style, look, attitude, and deep voice). This man sentences a band of police and mercenaries to locate this monster and destroy it.
The film eventually lacks scary material and an actual reason to see it. There is too little going for the film, besides a few nice special effects. But as for star power, reputation or genre, this is a pale wannabe. The cast here, including some very big and highly commendable names, Ben Kingsly, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger, and Natasha Henstridge, all are quite good in their roles, but their characters are seriously flawed. Take the Ben Kingsly character for instance, someone so obsessed and determined with morbid ideas it is hard to feel any kind of empathy for him. The context of "Species" may have had a chance at being something effective if the characters had been better written.
"Species" is the kind of horror thriller that will surely be remembered for some time to come--even though it is not a good movie. The film offers so much for adult audiences though; the cast, the occasional suspenseful atmosphere, the controversial subject matter, the popular and good looking cast, and the list continues. Since the film's release in 1995, there has been a sequel that followed in an attempt to keep audiences in remembrance of this production. But the filmmakers' attempts have been mostly unsuccessful--mainly due to the fact that there simply is not a whole lot about this film that deserves to be remembered.
Brought to you by MGM Productions