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Details At A Glance

Category Horror Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 (Species II)
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 104 minutes Other Extras Booklet
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Roger Donaldson

Warner Brothers
Starring Ben Kingsley
Michael Madsen
Alfred Molina
Forest Whitaker
Marg Helgenberger
Natasha Henstridge
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Christopher Young

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English Hard Of Hearing
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    Species is another movie that appears to have gained a bad reputation. I will concede that some of the dialogue at times is just plain silly, and I will also concede that some of the creature special effects are quite cheesy towards the end of the movie, but I found that I was at least entertained by the movie, both visually (grin) and aurally.

    The basic premise of the movie is that a message has been received from outer space in response to a message we sent out to the stars. The message contains a recipe for a hybrid DNA, which, of course, we here on Earth decide to create. The scientist in charge of the project is Fitch (Ben Kingsley). Unfortunately, the creature, dubbed Sil (Natasha Henstridge) that results from this hybridization looks human on the outside, but is all nastiness on the inside, and escapes from the lab, wreaking havoc alongst its path. After all, she wants to have a baby.

    An oddball team of people are gathered to recapture the creature; Press the assassin (Michael Madsen), Arden the geek (Alfred Molina), Laura the female geek (Marg Helgenberger) and Dan the clairvoyant (Forest Whitaker). They seem to be one step behind the creature at all times, which makes for some seriously gruesome visual effects. Indeed, I would have to say that the visual effects in this movie are the most gory and unpleasant that I have seen in some time - this is a positive comment, not a criticism.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is just barely acceptable with quite significant image problems.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, not 1.85:1 as is stated on the packaging.

    The transfer was quite sharp and clear, except for some deliberately hazy scenes. I found this transfer to be very hard to watch because of the sharpness and because of the resultant aliasing - more on this issue later. Shadow detail was good, and no low level noise was apparent.

    The colours were appropriately rendered with no particular over- or undersaturation.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of frequent and significant aliasing, and even some moiré effects at times. All of the usual culprits surfaced, shimmering away, and this was quite distracting. It made the transfer difficult to watch at times. Whilst not as bad as Thelma & Louise, this was still quite a distracting artefact. I also felt there was quite significant judder during the opening titles, but this was not a problem once the movie itself started. Film artefacts were rare once the titles were over and done with.


    There is only a single audio track on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1, which is what I listened to.

    Dialogue was usually clear and understandable, though a few sentences here and there were drowned out by ambience and music.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The music by Christopher Young was unremarkable, but seemed to suit the on-screen action.

     The surround channels were used for music, ambience, and for special effects, creating a moderately enveloping soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was moderately heavily used to give extra punch to special effects and to music.


    There are only very limited extras on this disc.


    The main menu is plain and simple.

Theatrical Trailer

    The theatrical trailers for Species and for Species II are on the disc. The Species trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound, and the Species II disc is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound. Both trailers are 16x9 enhanced.


    An 8-page booklet featuring details about the cast, the special effects, and the design of the movie makes for very interesting reading.


    Species is worth a rental at least. It kept me entertained, but I would hardly call it a classic.

    The video quality is only just acceptable, with significant amounts of aliasing marring the picture.

    The audio quality is unremarkable, but good.

    The extras present are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
21st March 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer