Saturday, 13 June 2015

Species (4 Stars)

At the moment I'm looking through my DVDs and picking out ones I haven't watched for a long time and want to watch again. At first it was only a few films, but my pile is gradually growing larger. "Species" is a film that I haven't seen for at least 10 years. I never watched the sequels, so I thought that it would be time to watch them as well.

Many people desribe "Species" as "Alien" with added nudity. They probably mean that as an insult, but it's not so far off. The people who say things like that as a criticism are the movie snobs who equate nudity with pornography, and even get critical when the nudity is in small doses and essential to the plot. I personally think that nudity is natural and should be used more often in non-pornographic films. Let me give a trivial example. I personally have the habit of walking around my house naked on hot days. If a film were ever made about my life it would be correct to show the actor who plays me sitting naked at home. I wonder who should play me. Maybe Jamie Foxx?

But let's get back to the film. It was made in 1995, and the events take place in the present day, i.e. in the mid-1990's. For more than 20 years the Earth has been broadcasting radio signals into space in an attempt to make contact with other intelligent life forms. Finally there are replies. The first reply is instructions on how to create a new artificial fuel source that is so revolutionary that it can solve the Earth's energy problems. The second message is a description of the DNA of an alien species, together with instructions on how to splice it with human DNA. That would have made me suspicious straight away. Didn't the scientists ever read the story about the Trojan War and the big horse? Obviously not. They inject the alien DNA into 20 human embryos. Most of them die, but one is born. It's a beautiful little girl who they call Sil. She grows into adulthood within a few days and shows supernatural strength, so the scientists panic and try to kill her, but she escapes.

Apart from having great strength, she is also very intelligent. While she wanders around Los Angeles she learns how to speak English and picks up all the other skills she needs to survive. That wouldn't be bad in itself, but she is also ravenously hungry, and she feeds on human flesh. She doesn't know who she is or what she is, but she has an instinctive desire to mate, so she looks for a man to impregnate her. Her beauty attracts men, and she soon realises that when she's nude they are unable to resist her. A team of scientists accompany a professional hitman to hunt for her and destroy her before she manages to procreate.

This is a high quality science fiction thriller with a top level cast. The story is realistic and well-filmed, with the possible exception of the final scene when Sil morphs into a lizard-like creature. She looks very similar to the creature in Alien, but the film's smaller budget lets it down, and the special effects are unrealistic.

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