Species (1995) really doesn't get the credit it deserves. Standing strong and proud alongside the likes of such amazingly bad CGI as Poseidon from the Xena: Warrior Princess opening sequence and the bad CGI mastery of the first Silent Hill film, Species earns its place in cinema history by sporting some of the worst CGI to ever actually exist.
That's not all there is to this movie, however. There's also Natasha Henstridge, here in her debut role as an alien that kills men so that she can have their babies. At first glance, that might not sound like the most feminist plot for a movie, but, well, you know the old saying: “It was definitely written by a man.”
1. The credits. Are. AMAZING. Not good. Not bad. Amazing.
2. Right off the bat, we see a big official military-ish base in the middle of nowhere and damned if they aren't keeping a little blonde girl in a glass cage. That's your problem, right there. Y'all are keeping little blonde girls in glass cages. Everything that happens in this whole movie is going to be because you cannot stop yourself from keeping blonde girls in glass cages.
3. Michelle Williams is in this movie. She plays Baby Species!
4. Ben Kingsley, who I will remind you is an Oscar-winner, plays Xavier Fitch, or Bad Science Man Extraordinaire. He orders everyone to leave the room and tries to gas Baby Species, but she is not about that death and leaps right the hell out of her cell. It seems like maybe there should have been a contingency plan for that. Anyway, she escapes, kills a random homeless guy on a train, etc.
5. Baby Species steals some stuff, including a banana, which she eats with the peel still on it because NOBODY EVER TAUGHT HER HOW TO LIVE, HOW TO LOVE. The ticket person for the train she's on is really nice to her, but she'll come to regret that pretty quick.
6. We cut to Forest Whitaker, who is playing Dan the Empath in this movie. Stay tuned for no one in this movie to have any idea what empathy actually is, including the people who wrote the script. He's in therapy expressing that other people think he's weird because he has a lot of feelings. UGH, HARD SAME, DAN!
7. Baby Species has a lot of nightmares of a weird Alien train and worms and stuff. I capitalize “Alien” because the train looks like a Xenomorph from the movie Alien, not that it looks in general like a run-of-the-mill alien. Ah, so this is where I disclose that HR Giger had a role in the designs for this movie, which is for the best because otherwise we'd all be forced to acknowledge that the design of Species is a complete and utter rip-off of the Xenomorphs. Like, Giger's fine, but the dude is kind of a one-trick pony (shields self with arms in anticipation of tomato-throwing).
8. Baby Species goes to look in the mirror and, wouldn't you know it, tentacles are bursting out through her skin. Folks, this is where we see the first glimpse of the Bad CGI Excellence that is Species. It looks like if the Lawnmower Man was a tongue.
9. Well, you knew it was going to happen: Baby Species gestates in a self-made cocoon and becomes Regular Adult Species after killing the ticket-taker for literally no reason.
10. The crew meets up and introduce themselves to each other. You already know Xavier the Evil Guy and his foil, Dan the Professional Empath, but there is also Preston the Moody Hitman Type, Laura the Woman, and Doctor Stephen Arden the Guy That Is Not Great With Women Or People At All. It's prime 1995 in this room, and everyone, man and woman alike, is dressed like Dana Scully. We are talking suit jackets over solid color tees all over the place.
11. Xavier rushes through the explanation of this movie, which is basically the same as six other movies. There are some aliens from space, they may or may not have sent Species as a biological weapon to extinct humanity, they look just like you or me, etc., etc. Also, Xavier wants this crew of totally random non-murderers to kill Species with the help of Professional Murderer, Preston. OK.
12. Xavier also claims that they made the human-alien hybrid female intentionally because she would be “more docile and easier to control.” I HATE SCIENCE.
13. Laura is the woman, so it's her job to make logical suggestions for everyone else to shoot down. While Xavier semi-explains what's going on, she's like, “So you kept a kid in a cage, and you were going to gas her...” while Dan looks at the image of mopey preteen Baby Species onscreen and says, “She's sad and lonely, all alone and sad, alone, by herself, and sad, it's sad” because empaths in sci-fi are always inexplicably useless. Seriously, I don't think the people that write these movies know what that word even means.
14. Laura proposes that perhaps murdering Species isn't the best idea, and Preston literally turns his back on her, sighs, and says, “Laura.” Like he's her dad! Less than five minutes into knowing each other! I am DISGUSTED. I will also KEEP WATCHING.
15. Preston says, “They never wanted me to go after something they didn't want dead,” and Forest is like, “I'm sorry for you,” and, you know what, I'm sorry, too. I'm sorry for the whole damn world, Preston and Dan.
16. The team accepts that it is their job to kill Species, even though I don't really know what their incentive is to do so. They are faced with one problem, though; now that she's an adult, how will they ever find her? It's not like she's going to stick out like a sore thumb or anything, right?
17. Sex in the City's fifth cast member: Species in the City. Fund it.
18. The team gets helicoptered in to stare at the ticket-taker's dead body for a while, and then they find the discarded cocoon. “What are we looking for, a giant moth?” Preston jokes. Yes, Preston. A giant moth. Your jokes are great, but maybe you should stick to killing people for a living.
19. Species is in LA now, and she buys a wedding dress and checks out some babies. Everywhere she looks, there seem to be babies. Babies here, babies there, babies everywhere. It must have been weird to watch this movie if you were pregnant.
20. Species watches television for about half an hour, so she's all up-to-date on human stuff.
21. Laura and Preston volunteer to throw some suits on and fix a camera in a lab, but guess what? It's not just a broken camera in there, it's also another Species. They beg to be let out, but Xavier is like, "Nah, how about I incinerate the whole room with you in it, sound good?" It does sound good but not great to Laura and Preston, so they bust out, but everyone continues working for this guy. What are the job perks here? Is it blackmail, is it money, is it...?
22. Species goes to a dance club from a 1995 movie, which basically consists of techno and people swinging on swings that are suspended from the ceiling and that sort of thing. She does ever so slightly follow a woman to the bathroom and extra murders her. Later, she walks back to the bar, up to a guy, and says, “I've got a party to go to and no one to take me.” He says, “Where's this party?” and she says, “I don't know.” Yes. This dialogue. Masterful. Better than Showgirls.
23. The rando takes a shower, and when Species tries to leave he grabs her, and she PUSHES HER TONGUE RIGHT THROUGH HIS SKULL. The crew, of course, shows up right after she escapes. Stephen calls Species a psychopath, and Laura retorts, “She wasn't exactly smothered with a mother's love!” I have never related to anyone so hard in my life. Species!
24. They discover that Species did not breed with the rando, and Xavier gets all high-pitched, like, “What's the problem? He was here, she was here!” and, folks, that tells me just about all I need to know about Xavier. Preston looks at Xavier and says, “more docile, huh?” SNAP! Laura also says, “If she's menstruating, that means she can reproduce,” and Xavier looks away thoughtfully, and says, “I know." Xavier! Dude! What is up with you?!
25. Meanwhile, Species is having dreams of aliens having sex all the time, which again: hard relate. She gets whistled at, but check out this instant karma! The guy that whistled at her gets hit by a car immediately. Um, but then she also gets hit by the car. So maybe not karmic justice after all.
26. This random guy shows up and tries to foot Species' hospital bill, but she heals right in front of the doctor all creepy, which gives her plenty of time to go ahead and murder the Hell out of this good samaritan. He takes her to his mansion and he forces her to take a Polaroid with him (you know it's to send to his mom). Yikes with this guy. He also listens to opera music as they go to hop in the pool. Something to prove, much? It's fine, though, because, you guessed it: Species kills him.
27. During all that, Preston and Laura stop by the hospital, but here's what messes me up: Preston offers Laura a piece of candy, she takes it, he smiles all proud of himself, and she just holds the candy in her hand. Girl. Are you going to eat that or what? After they leave, Preston makes a joke about “copulating” because he is both a hitman and a 12-year-old, and he and Laura crack up. Seriously! While a guy is getting murdered!
28. When they finally figure out where Species has gone and show up at mansion guy's place to discover him incredibly dead, Laura gets attacked by a squirrel. A squirrel leaps from a tree onto Laura and attacks her. Yes, you heard me right. A squirrel.
29. Species is naked and on the lam, and she jumps into this random lady's car, and it turns into this whole thing. She ties the lady up, she has an existential crisis at her, it's just a mess, and that is why you always, always lock your passenger side door.
30. The lady says, “I wouldn't hurt you!” and Species says, “Yes, you would. You just don't know it yet.” Oh my God, Species, can't you give love a chance? Anyway, then Species cuts off her thumb and regrows a CGI thumb, and then she cuts off the lady's thumb. It's just so many thumbs.
31. Species goes back to the club and has a run-in with the gang, which leads to your standard helicopter chase because somewhere along the way Species learned to drive. Get this, though: Species has that thumbless lady tied up in her car, but Species jumps out while driving it right at a something and the car EXPLODES. So, this is where the thumb thing comes in. Our motley crew checks out the thumbs on the lady and they're like, “Oh my God, it was totally Species. Case closed.”
32. BUT THE CASE IS NOT CLOSED. The crew goes back to the club so that Preston and Laura can flirt while Dan and Stephen get drunk. Laura encounters Species, who has dyed her hair and is therefore completely incognito, and Species compliments her perfume, asking if it works on her boyfriend, to which Laura retorts, “Yeah, as a repellent!” Nice. Anyway, she and Preston have the least hot sex probably ever to appear in a movie while Species listens for a while, then goes and murders Stephen, who makes her pregnant because he is A FOOL.
33. The crew ends up following Species into a sewer, and Xavier keeps asking Dan “Where did she go?” because, once again, people do not know that “empath” means, nor that it does not mean “GPS.” Anyway, Xavier dies from his... mouth imploding, maybe? Not too sure. Definitely a Species-related death though.
34. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS. THERE IS A BABY SPECIES. Um, but Dan kills it with a flamethrower.
35. Species makes a quick comeback after childbirth and she looks better than ever. In fact, she almost kills Preston via tentacles that shoot out of her breasts. It is INCREDIBLE. What possible logic could there be behind this choice? What possible explanation is there for this? How would one develop such a thing even by the frailest, most far-fetched connection to science? Tentacle. Breasts. Yas, queen!
36. I get that Species is supposed to be the villain, but I really like her. Besides the first lady she killed (who was super nice), she's taking care of a lot of the most obnoxious people in this movie. Besides, it's been a hard knock life for Species. All she wants is to be impregnated and take over the world, and all these jerks just keep trying to stand in her way. Species is clearly misunderstood. Anyway, she dies.
37. ... OR DOES SHE?
38. The weirdest thing about this movie is that there's really no reason for them to have made a human-alien hybrid to begin with. What was the end objective here? What would be the most positive possible outcome for this? I don't get it, but farewell, Species. You will be missed, as this is clearly the ending of your story, forever.
Just kidding — there are THREE SEQUELS.