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Species (1995)

'Species' is a movie growing up that like so many other teenage boys across the world, was a prized possession amongst there VHS collection. Most likely starting of as your father's before slyly making its way into your bedroom, or at least that was the case for me growing up. Filled to the bring with action, sci-fi, horror and more often than not nudity, this is a movie that was a staple of my youth and as far as I'm concerned deserved to be recognised amongst one of the better movies from the era of its release.

Introducing Natasha Henstridge as this titular alien character, in her first break out role. And whilst she is the main focus of the film her acting capabilities are not exactly what you would consider as leading lady quality. I think it's fairly clear why she was given the role in this movie. Thankfully she does have a great supporting cast around her to pick up the slack, in Sir Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina and Forrest Whitaker. And to be honest, given the high budget B-movie nature of 'Species', seeing such seasoned actors in a movie like this upon a recent rewatch is quite a jarring experience.

Written by Dennis Feldman, and although this could often be considered as a stereotypical Sci-fi Horror, I think there are multiple layers to the writing that need to be appreciate here. Although looking human more often than not, I think 'Species' does an exceptional job of providing audience insight to the animal instincts of this creature and its natural inherited desire to reproduce. The constant growth and development of its intelligence is really cleverly handled and I think due to its subtlety and almost action centric plot, a lot of these developments go under appreciated within this movie.

'Species' is filled with excellent visual effects. The practical side of things look incredible and still hold up better than most today. The practical costume and puppetry amazing snd one of my scenes in particular, is when the alien sticks her tongue through the back of a man's skull. A scene that still has me wincing almost 30 years later. The camera work as it spins around the two cast members to transition from actor to what I can only assume is a mannequin is so clean, it's almost impossible to see the cut. Unfortunately the same can not be said the CGI here. Thankfully, it is rather minimal for a vast majority until we reach to closing act, and for those of you have seen 'Species' will know, I think the less said about the CGI in those moments, the better.

I do always find with every rewatch I make of this movie, that the pacing could be better. There is a rather large lull in the middle that really causes distraction from the rather consistent plot development and action set pieces. I think there could quite easily be a good 20 minutes at least that could be condensed in order to bring this movie down to a tight 90 minute runtime. And that's not to say that this time is not spent with purpose, but I feel there would have been a much more fluid way of presenting this exposition to the audience than the dragged out middle section we ultimately get here.

Overall, I find 'Species' is one of those rare movies from the 90's that I think still holds up pretty well today. It's certainly not a perfect movie, but as far as 90's Sci-fi Horror goes, this is still up there with the best of them for me. Whether it be a new discovery or a nostalgia based revisit, regardless of its flaws, this is certainly a movie that can be enjoyed on some level by everyone.



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