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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Species (1995)



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Species precariously, yet successfully walks a fine line -- its premise and subsequent plot developments manage to build great potential without actually utilizing any of it. Alien DNA is mixed with human, and the resulting creature is studied by top secret government researchers. When she escapes, she embarks on a quest to reproduce and eventually conquer the human race. A brief scene where the alien, code-named Sil, contemplates her own existence and reason for being, introduces a fascinating possibility -- a monster movie where the monster isn't just a gruesome, unthinking beast, but one with its own moral dilemmas. This film would have taken its first steps toward brilliance had it pursued that angle. But it doesn't, nor does it undertake any of the other moral issues presented. Ben Kingsley's character, who appears to have been in joint charge of the Sil project, is an empty cardboard character, who could have been wrestling with the moral question of Sil's creation and the heavy responsibility associated with bringing doom upon the entire human race. Even an early scene between Kingsley and two other characters, which should have caused no end of friction and antagonization among them for the rest of the film, is all but forgotten in future scenes. Alas, Species is content merely to be overly gory and sensationalistic. Some scenes of moderate suspense and a clever plan of Sil's to elude her pursuers save the movie from being a complete dud. But once it's all over, you'll feel so wholly unsatisfied, you won't care.

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