Can you base your science fiction movie on one hot female lead? Species says the answer is a resounding yes. So resounding that it will make you forget about the rest of the familiar cast. Natasha Henstridge was 21 when she made this movie and I am glad that she did. She is so hot, and the director knew that, so we are able to see her boobs every 5 minutes. This is not a straight-up exploitation movie or a steamy sci-fi gone wrong like Supernova. Although it gets dangerously close to them, it always stays true to its initial premise.
Roger Donaldson knew exactly what he was doing here. He was going for that B movie charm with hints of illusions of grandeur. And fucking nailed it complete with scenes where all important characters must be in the shot. The special effects are a combination of CGI and good old practical effects. The important thing about them is that they work and some of the scenes look quite impressive. Especially the one when Natasha, completely nude, falls out of her cocoon. I don’t know why, but I found that scene to be quite effective.
As a virile male from the planet Omicron Persei 8 I constantly had this feeling that I need to protect her. Something that Sil most definitely could do herself. Having seen Species both in my teens and now, I can safely say it stood the test of time. The script is a bit clunky at times but the pacing and overall atmosphere help with that. The effects are still believable and even gross at times. This is a movie that’s part of an onslaught of nineties science fiction movies along with The Faculty, Mimic, Deep Rising and The Relic. Of course, I’m leaving out the biggest hits like Alien 3 and Independence Day.
After humankind receives a message from outer space telling us how to change our DNA, the scientists get to work, and the result is Sil. She’s a seemingly normal girl that happens to age faster than normal humans. After seeing his creation go haywire the lead scientist decides to destroy her, but she escapes. Now, a team of experts must track her down. Something that will prove to be quite a difficult task.
The creature Sil was designed by H.R. Giger (Alien) and it reminds me of the Alien creature only erotically weaponized. Species is an entertaining and fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Although it is not innovative or mind-blowing it still possesses enough quality (boobs) to be very watchable. It boasts a great cast consisting of seasoned actors that are now far more famous than they were back then. Just look at young Alfred Molina, Ben Kingsley and Michael Madsen! Remastered and enhanced, this movie is available both on Bluray and streaming services with great picture quality.
Although Species wasn’t a huge success back in the nineties, since then it has garnered a cult following. It also spawned three sequels, one novel and two graphic novels. The movies are of declining quality but if you’ve got nothing else to do, you might want to check them out. Also if you liked the atmosphere of Species, you might wanna check out another science fiction movie with a similar story and atmosphere: Lifeforce.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writer: Dennis Feldman
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger, Natasha Henstridge
Fun Facts: During the production, MGM opted not to shoot the “nightmare train” sequence to keep costs down. H.R. Giger was not willing to accept that, however, so he spent one hundred thousand dollars of his own money to finance the sequence.