|Category||Science Fiction||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 2
Species - 2.35:1, Dolby Digital 2.0
Species II - 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0
|Year Released||1995||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||103:52 Minutes||Other Extras||Booklet|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The result of the experiment, code named Sil, grew so fast and displayed such strange behaviour that the head of the project, Fitch (Ben Kingsley), decided to terminate her. Needless to say, young Sil (Michelle Williams) was less than happy about this, and decided to escape from the facility. The way she does this with such seeming ease is another major plot hole, but this one is critical to the story, so I'll let that one slide. What is somewhat important to understand is that as the human half of Sil grows, so to does the alien half, and there are three well-defined stages in her life cycle. The first stage is one in which she appears in the aforementioned form of a pre-pubescent girl. The second stage is one where she appears as an adult female human being. The third stage of Sil's life cycle involves seeing her in her true, alien physical form, which is also where we get to see H.R. Giger's designs at work. A rather oddball team is assembled to track Sil down and destroy her, consisting of a general government-employed killer named Press (Michael Madsen), a genetic scientist named Laura (Marg Helgenberger), a sociological scientist named Arden (Alfred Molina), and an empath named Dan (Forest Whitaker). Said empath is the most irritating plot hole in this film, as he is a major plot device used to move the story around in leaps and bounds. Anyway, Sil manages to find her way onto a passenger train and, while there, she develops into an adult form (Natasha Henstridge). Personally, I felt that this film was lifted out of the realm of the ordinary B-grade science fiction flick by the use of sequences from Sil's perspective. I really felt for her in some of the sequences where we learn of her intrinsic desire to find the best possible mate and have him pass his genetic material on to her for processing. Fitch explains during an early point in the film that he and his fellow scientists chose to create a female hybrid in the belief that she would be easier to control. This shows a blatant disregard for what most scientists would know about reproduction in most animals, in that the female in most species tends to be larger, and that a male would be unable to reproduce on its own. Of course, cross-breeding between species is also scientifically impossible, even with a female that is a synthesis of two species. If you are a fan of Giger's artwork, then this film is worth watching to see a film in which the special effects teams were actually co-operating with him (at least according to the enclosed booklet). The plot is a load of bollocks, and the acting sometimes leaves a fair amount to be desired, but this is definitely more entertaining than most of the B-grade science fiction flicks that Giger's work has been mauled in order to create, particularly ones like Alien3.
I am pleased to report that MPEG artefacts were absent from the transfer, in spite of there being nearly one hundred and ten minutes of video information on a single layer. The transfer rate of this DVD is wildly variant from around four to eight Mb/s, which would account for some of the problems apparent in the transfer. Speaking of which, film-to-video artefacts were a significant problem with this transfer, with frequent, mild-to-moderate aliasing and moiré effects apparent. While this problem was not as bad as it was in The Thing, it does approach that sort of annoyance. Some telecine wobble is apparent in the opening credits, but this settles down once the film actually begins. Film artefacts were very rare once the opening credits were finished, with only the occasional black spot appearing on a few frames scattered around the film.
The score music by Christopher Young is nothing to get excited about, which can be explained by the lack of a real connection to the events of the film, or its characters. In basic terms, this was a garden-variety summer action film score adapted for use with a garden-variety summer science-fiction film, if you get my meaning. The sequence depicting Sil's nightmare of a skull-adorned train racing forward through the night is the only moment in the film that is properly accentuated by the score. How else can I say that this is a completely unremarkable film score that is almost entirely bereft of redeeming features? Oh yeah, one last way: this score music entirely failed to inject any tension into the climactic battle with Sil, which is completely unforgivable in spite of how poorly written the ending sequence really appeared to be.
The surround channels were used for the music, ambience, and for the many special effects that dominate this film, leaving us with a moderately enveloping sound field that almost succeeds in pulling the viewer into the picture in spite of the plot holes and devices. The subwoofer was used to give an extra punch to the few action scenes and the music, and it did this quite well.
The video quality is only just acceptable if you enjoyed the film.
The audio quality is nothing special, but good enough.
The extras are very basic.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|