by Ryan Arthur
Passable sci-fi fare bogged down by a script full of holes.Species opens with a little girl being gassed to death. But in this case, the little girl is played by a pre-Dawson's Creek Michelle Williams, so I was almost okay with it. Alas, little girl escapes, and the military freaks. Why all the hubbub, bub?
"Natasha's pretty here. For being nothing more than a board."
Because the little girl, named Sil, is actually a human/alien hybrid, capable of...well, something. We're not exactly sure what. We just know little Sil gets on a train and builds a coccoon around herself, out from which pops an all grown up Sil (Natasha Henstridge), hot and naked and deadly. She wants a mate, big time. So she heads to LA, because as everyone knows, all the best mates are in California.
Hot on her trail is Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley, making the best of a really bad movie), who's assembled a team to help bring her in, including Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Marg Helgenberger. They have to stop Sil (who can change into a ooey gooey mess of an alien when she feels threatened) before she mates, because we obviously don't want anymore little Sils running around, do we? So Fitch and his team track her, while Sil tries a little slap and tickle before offing the unsuitable mates.
There's your plot, a weird mishmash of most alien sci-fi flicks, complete with stuff to make you jump that has no bearing on the movie. Good fun, right? Only if you're easily amused.
Of all the performances, only Kingsley seems to be into it. But that's probably just because he's Kingsley. Everyone else is blank, including Henstridge. Granted, that's the way the character is, but she's blank like that in every movie. She's vibrant and smart and funny in interviews and press functions, but turn on the camera and it's goodbye personality. It was her breakout role, I guess, but she's not found the perfect one yet. She's pretty, no doubt there, but it's not enough.
The script is weak and unbearably silly. Sil ages from 10-21 in a matter of minutes. By that logic, she should be dead of old age by around the 45 minute mark. Or, since she's mating with nearly everyone in LA, maybe dead from venereal disease by the 35 minute mark. But then, there wouldn't be a movie, then, would there? The filmmakers take an idea and use it until it's no longer useful, then act as if it wasn't even there in the first place. The dialogue is hokey and obvious, such as when Madsen, stepping over some other poor bastard with his entrails hanging out, says "She must have come past here."
Gee, Mike, ya think?
The alien designs from H. R. Giger are right cool, though, and overall, the movie's paced pretty well. The ending's a groaner.If you like your T & A mixed with sci-fi, then this one's for you.
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originally posted: 02/11/99 10:41:25