Wednesday, February 13, 2008
(Image from IMP Awards)
Mankind receives signals from outer space that give instructions for creating a new life form. A bunch of scientists (led by one played by Ben Kingsley) foolishly grow this life form in a lab (as we all know, scientists are dumb and repeatedly wreak havoc on mankind), which promptly escapes, grows rapidly from a child into a gorgeous woman (Natasha Henstridge), and looks for a man to mate with. A team of other scientists (Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger) and one 'hunter' type guy (Michael Madsen) and a bunch of armed men who are never around when they're really needed try to track her down and kill her, because she is actually a lethal monster seemingly sent to wipe out the human race.
This movie is awful, plain and simple. It's idiotic; if the plot summary doesn't sound dumb enough, pretty much every scene is defined by stupidity. The 'scientists' who help track the creature, named Sil, are almost comically clairvoyant with their intuition of how the alien behaves. Except for the one guy who is actually clairvoyant (Whitaker). Well sort of - he is an empath who can feel people's emotions off of a VHS tape at the start of the film, but his powers seem to degrade from there on in and are mostly useless. The investigation proceeds in an idiotic manner - at one point they learn that Sil has checked into a motel and when they get there they find that she has gone out 'looking for a man'. Instead of setting a trap for her, they surround the place with police cars and make a lot of noise, and predictably enough, when she gets back she sees the commotion and avoids the place. And then there's the logic behind the team composition - why would one guy with a handgun and a bunch of inept civilians be at the vanguard of this hunt? The military guys are never around. It's asinine. It doesn't help that Madsen looks bored and wasted, and grips his gun with all the conviction of a child playing cops and robbers.
There are some talented actors in this mess, but they are wasted and saddled with inane dialogue. Molina, Whitaker, Kingsley, all wasted. Kingsley in particular seems to be an actor with no shame (as some of his recent acting choices prove), and he really hams it up here with a jarringly fake American accent. Natasha Henstridge came to fame with this film, and it's easy to see why. She's actually quite good in the role, which requires appearing naive and looking good. And boy, does she look good. She's stunning. And naked. And stunningly naked. It beggars belief that she has that much trouble finding a man to have sex with. It's like Bizarro World or something.
'Species' is a limp, lifeless film, that looks cheap and ugly and features some laughable effects. There are two memorable things in this film. One is Natasha Henstridge. Naked. The other, I kid you not, is nipple tentacles. Seriously, these suckers have to be seen to be believed. I almost choked on my pretzel when they were whipped out! It's a health hazard, that scene is! Oh, by the way, the IMDB Plot keywords for this film are: "Assassin / Cocoon / Killing / Male Rape / Merciless". Chew on that! Needless to say, avoid this if you have taste. Even if you are a fan of nudity, merciless male rape and cocoons.