When a beautiful human-alien hybrid (Natasha Henstridge) escapes from observation, scientist Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley) dispatches a crew of experts to find her before she is able to fulfill her horrific purpose: to mate with unsuspecting men and produce offspring that could destroy mankind. As her deadly biological clock ticks rapidly, Fitch and his team are hurled into a desperate battle in which the fate of humanity itself hangs in the balance!
One thing to mention about this movie is that creature design was handled by the legendary H. R. Geiger who most should know as the designer of the aliens in, ermm, Aliens. Creature design in Species is also very impressive, with just as much attention to detail as the Sigourney Weaver movies. While this movie doesn't star Sigourney Weaver you should still be rather impressed with who actually makes an appearance in Species.
Having seen Species several times now I still enjoy it quite a bit. Sure, it's a popcorn flick through and through, but there's enough nudity (hey, does that make a movie watchable!?), tension, action and even some comedic moments that sustains the movie over its 1 hour 48 minute runtime. Don't expect a masterpiece, it's not even close. Alien still trounces it in almost every department for 'shit your pants' tension, but this is still entertaining.
Species on Blu-Ray is certainly much sharper then the DVD releases. Detail in both background and foreground aspects is impressive and the colours are a lot richer then the two DVD releases. Now, we did mention that this disc wasn't reference quality and there are several reasons for this. Firstly, there is a bit of grain throughout the movie, particularly in the darker scenes while there is also the very occasional dirt and marks on the print. Secondly there were a couple of scenes which are a little on the soft side. It could be from the source, but I'm not so sure. One particular scene in question sees the young Sil jumping over a fence to escape capture.
Audio on the Species Blu-Ray is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 form. As always we have to note that we can only extract the 1.5Mbps core DTS audio thanks to the PS3 limitations, however even this is a remarkable track, and vastly superior to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 384kbps on the DVD release.
Audio is crystal clear for the most part with solid use of surround sound channels when required, as well as the sub-woofer. Dialogue is also clear at all times while the effects are used to build tension in scenes where required. Music by Christopher Young is quite impressive with some great sci-fi like themes. You know what I mean, orchestral, but ramping up with a dramatic tension when required. Overall Species is a very solid experience on Blu-Ray in terms of audio.
The other audio track presented on this disc is a German DTS 5.1 track encoded at 768kbps which, from short samples, provides an impressively clear option should you choose to listen to the movie in this language. Subtitles are available in seven languages including English for the Hearing Impaired. From our sampling of the subtitles the text seems accurate to the dialogue in the movie.
Commentary with Director Roger Donaldson and Actors Michael Madsen and Natasha Henstridge: Certainly the lightest of the two commentaries the three participants have a fairly good rapport and manage to provide quite a few entertaining anecdotes about the production of the film. They are probably even more entertaining to listen to as they realise this isn't Ben-Hur but a sci-fi action flick. Well worth a listen.
Designing a Hybrid (15:48): This documentary looks at the on-set creature use including the mechanical Sil. There's some good information here, and a few great behind the scenes clips so fans of the movie will want to check this out.
H.R. Geiger at Work (12:08): A pretty nice little featurette that looks at the legendary H. R. Geiger at work. His artwork and creature design is legendary and it's great to have this insight into his live, albeit only for a short period of time.
Review By: Dave Warner