Blu-ray Reviews: Species II and Species III/Species The Awakening

Species proved to be a major success. The science fiction film had the right formula of mixing an model who could act (Natasha Henstridge) with a creature created by H.R. Giger (Alien). The movie had scientists getting a DNA code from outer space with instruction how to make it work with human DNA. This leads to the creation of Sil (Henstridge) who grows into an adult female rather quickly. Unlike previous Mars Needs Women plots, this female alien hybrid wants men. She has a little issue during her mating ritual. Naturally when the production paid off at the box office, they were ready for a sequel or two or three. Scream Factory has released Species II and a double feature combo of Species III and Species The Awakening on Blu-ray.

Species II takes the story to the Mars. Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard) is taking samples on the Angry Red planet As his crew heads back to Earth, one of the samples defrosts and a mysterious ooze creeps from the rocks. Nobody thinks too much of this event since all seems normal when the crew touches down. Ross is the son of a senator (James Cromwell) so he’s got a little protection as his dark secret gets out. This time he needs to mate and the ladies can’t keep their hands off him. Sadly, Ross has intimacy issues that makes a mess of his one night stands. He’s basically looking for just one female on the planet. Not to spoil the first film except Sil is sort of back. Turns out they’ve made a new clone and are doing their best to keep her under control. They won’t let male scientists near her Plexiglas cage. Once she gets a sense that Ross is out there needing here, things get rough around the lab. Not nearly as rough as when Michael Madsen (Kill Bill) returns to track down the hybrid humpers. The film saves a bit on the budget by holding back on the monsters until it is finally necessary. Henstridge does well with her locked up scenes. What’s amazing about the film is that it was directed by Peter Medak. He had once made The Ruling Class, a masterpiece of cinema with Peter O’Toole. Strange that he would end up making a science fiction horror film sequel. But sometimes you have to work for a living. The film isn’t quite as intense as the original. But it’s still good fun to see Henstridge transform into a Giger creature.

Species III and Species: The Awakening were made for the cable and the home video market. While Species II didn’t make a fortune at the box office, it did well on VHS as people rented it and the original like grabbing Alien and Aliens for a Friday night double feature at Videorama. Both films first ran on SyFy before immediately hitting the DVD market in unrated versions for fans who wanted a bit of naughtiness in their hybrid mating scenes. Because of their lower budgets, Giger’s designs were simplified. Although both films look better and feel than a majority of the giant monsters attack films that run on the channel. Species III promises the return of Natasha Henstridge as the hybrid. Turns out that she wasn’t sticking around for the whole production. This movie is about her offspring that’s secretly raised by a biochemist. The little girl quickly transforms into Sunny Mabrey (Once Upon a Time). This leads to more mating mayhem. Her father tries his best to be protective, but there’s only so much he can do. Things get messier when one of the kids from the previous film arrive all grown up and ready to take on the Mabrey. Species: The Awakening is about another special lady ((Helena Mattsson) who is a genius with a protective uncle (Ben Cross). She starts feeling bad, but this is no ordinary illness. She eventually turn into the alien and destroys a room full of people. Her uncle saves her with an injection of human hormones. He needs to get her major help. They run down to Mexico to visit his old college pal (Dominic Keating). Turns out they both created Helena during their wild college days. It’s kind of like a biochemical version of Weird Science. The two men must go to extreme lengths to stabilize the DNA in her. There’s a lot of talk about the power of stem cells. Species: The Awakening plays better than the normal SyFy Channel original movie. Cross does his best playing the conflicted “father” of his niece. The two films play better as a double feature.

Species II, Species III and Species The Awakening keep up the expectations and thrills delivered in the first Species. The films doesn’t over promise on the excitement so you’re not expecting a massive movie like the various Alien and Predator sequels. The Species movies get more intimate which is appropriate for movies about hybrid aliens that just want to bump nasties with humans.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for Species II and 1.78:1 for the remaining two. The 1080p transfers bring out the carnal carnage. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for all the movies. The theatrical release has the more dynamic of the mixes. The movies are subtitled.

Species II

Audio Commentary by director Peter Medak breaks down the film from his point of view.

From Sil to Eve (16:21) allows Natasha Henstridge to talk about how Species helped her go from model to actress. She’s still ready to turn into a hybrid

Creature Creations (28:48) is perfect for fans of Face Off.

Alien Evolutions (19:00) gives screenwriter Chris Brancato talk about creating the script for the movie. He breaks down the ending.

Special Effects Outtakes (13:32) gives a raw look at the effects.
Additional Scenes: (SD 8:02)

Still Galleries covers the film from preproduction to release.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15) more loving scenes like the first.

Species III

Audio Commentary with director Brad Turner, writer Ben Ripley, and actor Robin Dunne. The trio talk about working on the series as it made the jump to straight to cable.

Alien Odyssey: Evolution (13:33) aims to introduce the film to a younger audience on TV.

Alien Odyssey: Species DNA (6:18) focuses on the production design.

Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology (5:37) explores the CGI effects work for the alien hybrid attacks.

Alien Odyssey: Intelligent Lifeforms (9:54) touches on retooling the Giger creature for the lower budget.

Species III Genesis (8:50) more exploring the film.

Trailer (2:03) promises a new creature.

Species: The Awakening

Miranda’s Memories (9:50) talks to actress Helena Mattsson about her time transforming in Mexico City.

Alien Awakenings (15:38) give director Nick Lyon a chance to remember his time wrapping up the movie series.

Scream Factory presents Species II. Directed by: Peter Medak. Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger, George Dzundza, Justin Lazard. Rated: R. Running Time: 93 minutes. Released: March 8, 2016.

Scream Factory presents Species III and Species The Awakening. Directed by: Brad Turner, Nick Lyon. Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Sunny Mabrey, Helena Mattsson & Ben Cross. Rated: Unrated. Boxset Contents: 2 films on 2 Blu-ray discs. Released: March 8 2016.

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