MGM via SONY has released the sci-fi-cult film, "SPECIES". While it borrows heavily from "ALIEN" and just about every other better sci-fi thriller to come before it, "SPECIES" has the great benefit of its director, Roger Donaldson. Donaldson moves the film along with great style and pacing, and almost every aspect of the film's production works its hardest to rise above obvious budget limitations. The cast, including Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina and Forest Whitaker, are terrific. While Natasha Henstridge doesn't give much of a performance, she's not required to and she's never looked sexier than she does here.
"SPECIES" has enough of a fan base to have spawned two sequels and various remasterings on dvd.
The BLU-RAY image is really good, however, it also has its share of unexpected flaws that we didn't expect. To begin with, it's surprisingly grainy. It actually appears grainier than on any of the previous dvd releases. There's also a surprising amount of edge enhancement. On the plus side, the detail is noticeably superior to any of the previous dvd presentations. The film often sports enough fine detail and resolution to appear "almost" three-dimensional in its depth.
MGM/SONY has presented another Uncompressed PCM 5.1 mix for this release. We're very pleased to find that SONY has been making uncompressed mixes a standard with all of their BLU-RAY releases thus far! It also sports the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The PCM mix offers decent fidelity. Of course, none of the previous presentations offered impressive mixes either. However, the PCM mix does provide some great low bass moments, particularly during the final half hour of the film. Fidelity varies throughout most of the film, however, at times dead-on, and at others almost harsh. Unfortunately, the "DTS" mix offered on the most recent dvd release, hasn't been included.
MGM/SONY has provided a variety of extras for this BLU-RAY release. There are two audio commentaries offered and both are terrific. The first with the director, Henstridge and Michael Madsen is the most fun, and provides a great deal of production info. The other commentary, with the director and producer and technical hands is probably intriguing for really big fans as well as aspiring filmmakers.
Two featurettes and previews for some other SONY BLU-RAY releases are included.