Species is a fun, erotic horror film with some cool practical effects and a lot of naked Natasha Henstridge. Scream Factory's 4k transfer is certainly good and a step up from the previous MGM Blu-Ray, but I'm not sure if it's enough to warrant a repurchase for those that already own it.
Practical creature and alien effects
Good 4k transfer and a new featurette
Occasional hammy acting from Michael Madsen
Only one new special feature and a moderate step up in quality, so may not be worth it those who already own the film on Blu-Ray
…INCOMING TRANSMISSION… …ANALYZING SOURCE… …ANOMALY IN GENOME SEQUENCE DETECTED...
…Specimen is a 1995 science fiction film, classification “horror-erotic” subclass Natasha Henstridge softcore. Consists of multiple characters involved in the detection and eradication of an unknown human/alien hybrid created by altering the genetic composition of human embryos with new reconstructed DNA strands based on recipe received by outer space transmission.
…Specific makeup: Ben Kingsley as Xavier Fitch, head scientist working on the case and the creator of human/alien hybrid. Michael Madsen as Preston Lennox codename “Press,” operative and hunter tasked with capture of said human/alien hybrid. Alfred Molina as Dr. Stephen Arden, secondary operative whose purpose is . Marg Helgenberger as Dr. Laura Baker, operative with zoological specialty. Forest Whitaker as Dan Smithson, operative with tele-empathic abilities. Natasha Henstridge as Sil, subject of operation and aforementioned human/alien hybrid.
…Microbiological analysis: Specimen is fun and entertaining, with suitable composition by Roger Donaldson. Follows Sil as she continues to aggressively track down a mate for interspecies breeding, creating a fast-reproducing alien threat that could subsume the human race unless Press and his team can stop her sexual pursuits.
Specimen maintains a solid pace throughout, and strong evolutionary qualities persist due to an emphasis on practical effects including tentacle action sequences and a couple scenes involving various acts of body horror. Specimen could benefit from more of these practical effects rather than relying on multiple off-screen kills or “normal” deaths; however, specimen’s constant featuring of Natasha Henstridge nude is commendable and hardly a complaint or potential fatal flaw.
Composite Michael Madsen tends to ham his way through specimen, though this does become part of the entertainment value. Also of note is specimen’s consistent dark humor, which helps to alleviate some of the more serious science aspects of the makeup. Fans of similar specimens will find ample interest in the genetic makeup of this specimen, and will also see the replication of similar genetic components – see specimens Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, etc.
While specimen does not contain an evolutionary superiority to specimens of its genus, researchers should find room to study its elements – particularly its composite of horror, humor, and sexual innuendos. Begin isolation protocol .
Specimen comes contained in Collector’s Edition packaging thanks to Scream Factory, with new front cover artwork, a slipcover, and reversible artwork. Specimen partitioned across two discs, the first for the film and its audio commentaries and the second for the rest of the special features.
Specimen quality has been preserved with a new 4k scan of the interpositive from Scream Factory. Specimen had previous study on Blu-Ray thanks to MGM; while this new presentation is certainly a step up from that quality, comparative research shows a surprising similarity. 4k quality adds a cooler color tone to the specimen and also highlights darker moments, adding excellent contrast. Film grain provides a nice even texture throughout, and all bits of damage have been excised. Overall, the new 4k transfer amplifies the previous Blu-Ray release, although perhaps not enough to persuade former researchers to recommence their studies by upgrading.
Specimen audio is presented in both 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Former sounds the better of the two with good range and ample satellite speaker presentation; however, the 2.0 track also sounds good. Also comes packaged with English subtitles. No flaws with audio.
Specimen’s extraneous features are mostly ported from prior presentation, including old interviews, a look at H.R. Giger’s work, theatrical trailers, and alternate endings. Two previous audio commentaries are also included on the specimen’s first disc. The second disc contains the sole new extra, a 40-minute making-of documentary called “Afterbirth: The Evolution of Species” featuring interviews with director Roger Donaldson, cinematographer, creature designer, composer, and more.
Researchers will certainly need to analyze whether upgrading to this collector’s edition is worth the added price, especially if they have already purchased the prior Blu-Ray from MGM. However, those that have not already studied Species in high definition will definitely want to pick Scream Factory’s package up, and even those that do already own a prior edition should consider the moderate improvement to image quality and the new retrospective.
…Final analysis: Specimen is recommended, with a caveat to those who already own a previous release.
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