This feature is a recurring look at the blu-ray releases coming out from Scream Factory and Shout Select. I try to buy as many as I can so why not also try and review as many as I can?
Species: Collector’s Edition – Released on July 11, 2017
I have seen Species upwards of a dozen times. Well, ok let me rephrase that. I have seen a number of scenes from Species upwards of a dozen times, if not more. You see, Species, originally released in 1995, came out at a very crucial time for me. When this movie hit The Movie Network, I was 12 years old and did not yet have access to the internet. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with all of this. What I’m saying is that this movie contains a whole lot of Natasha Henstridge’s boobs and I was way into that back in the day. Boobs in general. They didn’t necessarily have to below to Natasha Henstridge though that was certainly a positive in the overall boob equation. I originally taped the movie because hey, crazy alien monster movie, sounds pretty alright. I’m quite certain I must have watched it the whole way through at least once, but after that there was definitely a lot of fast-forwarding to particular scenes and moments.
As a result, re-watching it now 22 years later in a world where the Internet makes it hard to avoid boobs let alone seek them out, made for a fun experience as I got to truly appreciate the entertaining movie that surrounds the alien boobs.
Looking for any signs of life beyond Earth, scientists send out transmissions and eventually start to receive responses back. At first they are told a way to generate endless amounts of fuel so they get to thinking that hey, these mysterious alien guys seem pretty alright. After that, they are given instructions on how to splice some provided alien DNA with human DNA. These things hooked us up really well with that first transmission so hey, why not give this a go as well right? So Fitch (Ben Kingsley) and his team go ahead and do up that DNA cocktail and make a human/alien hybrid female, with the rational being that a female will be easier for them to control. This gets them Sil, who ages rapidly and by the start of the movie is already 15-year-old Michelle Williams even though technically she was only created three months ago.
From there she morphs into an adult, Natasha Henstridge, and her immediate goal is to mate and continue her species. This leads to all the aforementioned boobs.
First thing to mention is holy lord did they ever assemble an impressive cast on this one. The core group of people who are trying to track down Sil before she can get an alien baby put in her belly consists of: Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger (this was about five years before CSI), Michael Madsen (back when Madsen still appeared in quality films) and Alfred Molina. This was also a very early role for Michelle Williams, who has become arguably one of the best actors working today. Every member of the cast is giving it there all, adding a level of credibility to what is largely a very silly B movie.
Although she rarely speaks, Henstridge is quite good in the role of Sil, a character that has far more going on than just “I want a baby, here are my boobs” which is largely how I remember the character from back in the day. She is not setting out on a purposeful murder spree. She certainly does murder, multiple times in fact, but it’s always when someone is getting in the way of her larger baby-making goal and is viewed as a potential threat. As an adult I can now appreciate the earlier stages of Sil’s character where she is learning about the world with wide eyed wonderment and obtaining the information (such as dyeing her hair) that she will use to her advantage later on. Plus she smashes her tongue through the back of a rapey dude’s head, which is a very admirable move.
Some of the creature effects don’t hold up terrifically well at this point, with a run of dated CG effects permeating a lot of the third act of the film. The creature design though is quite good. This is credited to H.R. Giger, creator of the Alien Xenomorph and all sorts of other unholy nightmare creatures. While I enjoy the look of the creature herself, the third act is definitely the least interesting part of the film as it devolves into standard creature fare as the main team hunts Sil in the sewers. It’s odd to say that the monster in monster form is the least interesting part of a monster movie, but here we are.
Despite some dated effects, Species is a fun B movie that is substantially elevated by a great cast who clearly are having a good time. It has interesting and layered villain who receives a lot of screen time and, for the most part, isn’t merely a non-stop murder machine. The movie isn’t particularly scary, but there are a number of impressive gore effects and doses of humour to keep it all silly, but enjoyable.
The bonus features are largely ported over from previous releases of Species which is a tad disappointing. Granted the release I had was full of bonus features (commentaries, documentaries, etc) and I’m not sure how much more there is to say about Species. The Collector’s Edition adds a new 40-ish minute documentary that features newly recorded interviews with the director, and a number of people on the crew. There’s also an interview with Natasha Henstridge that apparently was done for their 2016 release of Species II, which I do not yet own so this was new for me as well. She does talk about the first movie and how it launched her career, so it was considered applicable and placed on this disc as well.
If you don’t own Species in any form then this edition is a pretty easy recommendation. You get a nice looking transfer (fair warning, I don’t have the set-up or the knowledge to talk details on video and audio unless they are particularly good or bad), a ton of extras and an enjoyable bit of 90’s sci-fi cheese.
How about that updated cover artwork though? – Not amongst the best of the Scream Factory stuff. This one is a little simple and I’m not terribly fond of the cartoony overall look. I honestly like the artwork from my other copy a little better (see below).