Special Edition

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger and Natasha Henstridge
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 13 September 2004

A secret government extra terrestrial project goes terribly wrong when a beautiful human/alien hybrid, known as Sil, escapes from observation. Government agent Xavier Fitch panics and despatches a government assassin, an "Empath", an anthropologist and a biologist to hunt her down and destroy Sil. The team soon track her to LA and realise to their horror that she's planning to mate with unsuspecting men to produce alien offspring. With Sil on her deadly rampage, time is fast running out for Fitch and his team to catch their prey - the fate of humanity hangs in the balance...

Ah... Species! The movie, that saw the lovely Natasha Henstridge's first cinematic appearance. Who cared about the plot, the story or the ground breaking (at the time) special effects when you had lots of lovely scenes with Ms Henstridge? Almost ten years on and the special effects may look dated, but Henstridge is still as angelic looking as I remember - the face of an angel, but the body of a demon.

This movie still stands up as an entertaining romp, despite its many flaws. Michael Madsen is still as wooden as I remember, but it was great to see Marg Helgenberger (lately of CSI fame) appear in an early role. Does the woman age? She looks just as attractive in CSI as she did here.

The extras are pretty impressive. There is a cracking DTS surround soundtrack as well as two audio commentaries to choose from. On one of these Michael Madsen reveals that his eight year old son can't watch the movie because he's very scared of it... that's why it's an 18 certificate, Michael.

Extras include the making of Species - interviews with cast and crew; the origin; the concept; the discovery; Species design by HR Giger: Interviews with HR Giger; audio commentary - with Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, and Director Roger Donaldson; audio commentary - with Director Roger Donaldson, Producer Frank Mancuso Jr., Special Effects Exec Richard Edlund, and Steve Johnson (Sil creature creator); Designing a hybrid - featurette; Species III set invasion - Teaser for Species III; alternative ending - set to score from the film; choice of Dolby 5.1 or DTS soundtrack.

Most of the extras are pretty run of the mill. The Giger feature was interesting. It shows the man himself at work constructing the alien train which is shown briefly in the movie. Also, the alternate ending was interesting, although it's easy to see why it was left out of the final cut.

I'm not entirely convinced that this collection warrants two discs... The additional features would have easily squeezed on to the main disc - although it could be that the DTS track took up sufficient space. I'm not really sure how these things work. All I know is that there are plenty of single disc releases that have a lot more features included.

This collection is worth buying for your collection - the DTS track and the Giger featurette alone are probably worth the asking price. Just don't be surprised if the effects are not as cutting edge as you remember? Oh, who am I kidding? The main reason to buy this is to see Henstridge in her birthday suit.

Nick Smithson

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