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Sit back and allow me to tell you a tale

by Andrew Green

One day, when I was about 15, my friend Lucian and I tried to see the movie, Species .

The film was rated R, so we were not allowed in without a parent or guardian...and since we did not have a parent or guardian with us on that particular trip to the local cinema, we had to pull a bit of a fast one. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book , really -- we simply bought tickets to another movie (in this case, The First Knight, starring Sean Connery), and calmly walked into the theater where our REAL choice was to be shown.

Now, our reasons for wanting to see Species should be fairly obvious: it features an attractive young blond woman who doesn't wear a lot of clothes. What can I say? We were 15.

Anyway, we nonchalantly took our seats and waited for the film to begin. The lights dimmed, the previews started rolling, and we thought we were home free. BUT, minutes before the feature was to begin, an usher with a flashlight came into the theater. He walked up and down the aisles, looking at those assembled in the crowd and, as he approached us, my friend and I did our best to slink down in our seats as much as possible....It was to no avail. The usher spotted us, and asked for our tickets.

"We threw them away," I said.
"How old are you guys?"
"Uh, 19," I replied, straining to make my voice sound deeper.
He was incredulous. "Do you have ID?"
"We lost it...."
(Rolling his eyes) "Right. Do you have a parent or guardian with you?"
Lucian chimed in now. "Yes...but they're sitting somewhere in the back. We can't find them."
*Sigh* "Come with me...."

The usher escorted us back to the lobby where we would be refunded and told to leave...and as we were walking out of the theater, broken and defeated, I vowed I would one day get around to seeing Species, "...if it's the last thing I ever do!"

Well, it's now 2013, and I have finally seen Species. It only took 18 years!

"Species" (1995)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114508 

Netflix description:
"When government scientists (led by Ben Kingsley) receive a transmission from space containing alien DNA, they create the ultimate femme fatale: a hybrid woman named Sil (Natasha Henstridge) with supermodel looks, deadly shape-shifting abilities … and raging hormones. When Sil escapes, a team of specialists scrambles to find her before she can reproduce, culminating in a fright-filled climax in the Los Angeles sewer system."

I was surprised by the relatively high level of quality here. At first glance, one would assume that this film was merely a sci-fi exploitation flick, but it was actually rather well-made and, given the genre, featured an impressive cast. Let's see -- we've got Forest Whitaker, Ben Kingsley (although, admittedly, he'll do just about anything these days), Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, and even a young Michelle Williams. The idea that the SETI project could result in danger to the entire human race was intriguing to me, and the suspense is well-maintained throughout. The four experts brought together to hunt down the usually-nude Natasha Henstridge are actually likable, and they didn't hold back on the gore.

The one problem I had with Species was that the special effects are terrible. Although you can't necessarily hold that against the film, it can nevertheless be a distraction. Many scenes feature what look like primitive attempts at CG, and they really don't hold up.

Given that Ms. Henstridge is still only about 35 these days, they conceivably could do a remake of this film, and it would look much better, and.... Eh, whatever. They'd never really do that because that would be too cool of an idea that might result in something that doesn't suck, and such things aren't really allowed in Hollywood these days.

Either way, I'll say that this isn't Citizen Kane, and you can't approach a movie like Species with that sort of mindset. I don't have much of substance to say about it since...you know...there really isn't much substance to the film itself. But that's OK. At the end of the day, Species is a decent, if slightly silly, action-sci-fi-horror film. It's not too long, and it'll keep your attention. I'm glad I finally watched it.

3 out of 5.