PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Earth’s scientists send out transmissions with information about Earth and its inhabitants, DNA structure, etc., in hopes of finding life beyond Earth. They then receive transmissions from an alien source on how to create endless fuel effortlessly. Therefore, the scientists assume that this is a friendly alien species. But from a second alien transmission, the scientists receive information about an alien DNA along with instructions on how to splice it with human DNA. A government team led by Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley) goes forward with the genetic experiment hoping to induce a female with “more docile and controllable” traits. The alien is the result of the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program. One of the hundred experimental ova produces a girl named Sil, who looks like a normal human but develops into a 12-year old in 3 months.
Sil’s violent outbursts during sleep make the scientists consider her a threat. They try to kill her using cyanide gas but instead she breaks out of her containment cell and escapes. The government assembles a team composed of anthropologist Dr. Stephen Arden (Alfred Molina), molecular biologist Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger), empath Dan Smithson (Forest Whitaker) and mercenary Preston “Press” Lennox (Michael Madsen) to track and destroy Sil. Sil matures rapidly into an adult (Natasha Henstridge) in her early twenties and makes her way to Los Angeles. This makes tracking her extremely difficult. She is incredibly strong and intelligent with amazing regenerative powers. The scientists fear she may mate with human males and produce offspring that could eliminate the human race. Sil lacks inhibitions when it comes to killing people who get in her way and wants to produce offspring as soon as possible. She frequently morphs into her alien form, a bipedal creature with tentacles on her shoulders and back.
Sil tries first to mate with a man she meets at a night club, but after sensing that he is diabetic, rejects and kills him by puncturing his skull with her tongue. She then tries to mate with a man she meets after a car accident. They swim in the man’s pool where Sil forces the man to open his swimming trunks in order to mate, but the man refuses. This is interrupted by Press and Laura. She kills the man and flees naked into a forest without being seen by the team. She pretends to be a rape victim, and then proceeds to kidnap a woman. She fakes her death by crashing the woman’s car into a tree during a high-speed chase.
After cutting and dyeing her hair, she takes an attraction to Press and attempts to seduce him. She eventually copulates with Arden; then kills him when he realizes who she is and what he has done. The rest of the team then follow her into the sewers where Fitch is subsequently killed and the area where she and her offspring are destroyed. Press uses a grenade launcher on Sil, blowing her head off. The trio leaves the area. The last scene shows a rat chewing on one of Sil’s severed tentacles; it starts to mutate into a vicious beast and attacks another rat.
With the release of Prometheus upon us in a few days, I figured this would be the perfect time to check out some alien species films, more specifically Species. I remember seeing bits and pieces of this on TV in college, but I don’t believe I ever watched the whole thing until now. Was the whole picture worth watching or is this one of those films better scene in bits and pieces?
What did I like?
Sci-Fi/Horror. Yes, this is a film that walks the fine line between sci-fi and horror and it does a decent job of giving the audience their fair share of both genres.
New hotness. When this film was released, Natasha Henstridge was a nobody, but after its release she went on to become a fairly big star. Sure, she doesn’t really flex her acting chops, but she wasn’t cast for that. All she has to do is look sexy, and that she does.
What didn’t I like?
Wasted cast. There are great names in this cast, and yet they seem to be all but calling it in. How sad is it that newcomer Natasha Henstridge puts in a better performance than award-winning Sir Ben Kingsley? Doesn’t something seem off about that?
Effects. For the most part they are decent, but the aliens were nothing more than a rip off of the Alien aliens. Granted, they were both created by the same person, but that still is no excuse.
Checkmate. The species just wants to mate. That is the whole premise of the film. Doesn’t that sound like a porn plot? I don’t have a problem with it being in there, but I felt like there could have been something more they could have done.
Please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t that bad of a film, but it has so many thing wrong with it that I found it hard really get invested in it. Sure there are those out there that are sure to enjoy it, but I can’t really recommend it. You’d be better served watching the Alien films.
3 out of 5 stars