Thursday, 2 July 2015

Species 2 (3½ Stars)

Today is the first time I've watched "Species 2", which was made in 1998, three years after the first film. I already knew that three sequels existed, described as not as good as the original, but I'm a fair man. I decided to give them a chance and bought a box set containing all four films. Only £7.84 for all four films, a good deal.

Natasha Henstridge returns as the beautiful alien-human hybrid. If you remember, Sil was killed in the first film. In this film she's Eve, a clone made from samples of Sil's DNA. That is quite amazing. An alien creature goes on a rampage, threatening to wipe out the human race, and the first thing the scientists say is, "Hey! Let's make another one so we can study it".

Admittedly, the scientists take precautions this time. They use medication to keep Eve docile, and they only allow her to have contact with women to keep her mating urges under control. But it's still not a smart idea.

However, Eve is of lesser importance in this story and spends most of the film locked up. The film begins with man's first walk on Mars. The astronauts bring back rock and dust samples from Mars' surface. Unfortunately, they also bring back a long dormant life form. The aliens responsible for Sil in the first film supposedly visited Mars millions of years ago. Mars used to be a highly civilised planet, but the aliens wiped out all life on Mars and made it the barren wasteland we know today. The life form infects two of the astronauts on the Mars mission, turning them into alien-human hybrids, just like Eve. After returning to Earth one astronaut is discovered and killed quickly, but the other one, Patrick Ross, goes on the run, impregnating as many women as he can. Within hours the baby is born, killing the mother in the process, who becomes food for her offspring. All the babies born to him are male, probably a result of the unusual way the alien took control of his body. He needs a way for his species to survive on Earth. Finally he senses the existence of Eve, and he goes to the hidden laboratory to mate with her.

So, the question is, is this film as good as the first? On the positive side, the special effects are much better. That was the weak point of the first film. Evidently the commercial success of the first film allowed a bigger investment this time round, which they spent on the special effects rather than famous actors. The weak part of the second film is the story. Natasha Henstridge's absence from most of the film is noticeable.

A difference this time is that it's less of a science fiction film and has more in common with horror films. There is more gore, more mutilated bodies, more aliens breaking out of bodies. I'm not opposed to gore in principle, but in "Species 2" it seems like it's being forced on the viewer for the sake of it. It's as if the film makers knew the story was weaker, so they relied on gore to shock the audience.

Next comes "Species 3". Soon.....

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