Species: Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review) – The Digital Bits | Episode Movies

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmon
  • Examination date: November 10, 2022
  • Format: Blu Ray Disc
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Species: Collector's Edition (4K UHD Review)

director

Roger Donaldson

release dates)

1995 (July 26, 2022)

Studio(s)

MGM/UA (Shout!/Scream Factory)

  • Film/program grade: B
  • Video quality: A
  • Audio quality: A
  • extra class: A

Species (4K UHD)

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review

Often lumped together with the spate of sci-fi horror films released in the 1990s and into the 2000s, species debuted at the box office despite unsavory reviews. It embellished HR Giger’s designs and concepts with the support of special effects maestros Steve Johnson and Richard Edlund, while also transforming its star, Natasha Henstridge, into an overnight sex symbol.

As part of the SETI program, a group of scientists receive instructions from aliens on how to splice alien DNA into human DNA. In the process, they manage to produce a young girl named Sil (Michelle Williams), who ages quickly. Sil escapes her limitations and makes her way into the world where she continues to age into an attractive adult (Natasha Henstridge). On the hunt for her is project supervisor Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley) and his team, which includes Baker (Marg Helgenberger), Arden (Alfred Molina), Dan (Forest Whitaker) and Lennox (Michael Madsen). As they search for her on the streets of LA, Sil develops the need to procreate. Constantly thwarted, she leaves a number of bodies in her wake and it’s up to the team to find and stop her.

A Simplified Story of an Alien Genetics Experiment Gone Wrong species managed to garner a variety of names both in front of and behind the camera, all working at the top of their respective games. The film’s obvious star (alongside Henstridge) is its handy makeup effects and visuals, which clash horribly with extremely dated CGI. The pace of the film has decent momentum behind it, but the story dies out just when things get more interesting, leaving an unfulfilled climax. Regardless, there’s a lot of good in it species that’s still possible. It’s not a scary movie in terms of its monster, but it has good performances and memorable set pieces, and there’s clearly a clever creative team behind it.

species was shot by cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak on 35mm film using Panavision Panaflex Platinum cameras and Panavision Primo and E-Series lenses, photochemically finished and presented in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Scream Factory recreates the film in 4K Ultra HD with a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, finished as 4K Digital Intermediate and rated for High Dynamic Range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are included). Scream Factory’s previous Blu-ray improved on MGM’s, but this 4K presentation tops them all. It features an extremely high bitrate, mostly hovering around 90Mbps, with excellent textures and a smooth, refined grain structure. The level of detail is exceptional, enhanced in every scene under all lighting conditions, artificial or otherwise. The contrast is perfect and the images are sharp. The HDR10 rating is great, but Dolby Vision further enhances the finer nuances of shadows and skin textures. Highlights are solid without looking blown out or overdone, and blacks are velvety deep. The hues are richer and much more accurate, especially when it comes to skin tones and leaves. The colors found on costumes and objects pop a bit more too. The dodgy CGI stands out, especially towards the end, but luckily there’s very little of it. It’s a clean and stable presentation and the best the film has ever seen on home video.

Audio is included in English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English SDH subtitles. Both have ample support, but the 5.1 definitely offers more wrap, giving ambient and LFE activity plenty to do. Dialogue exchange is mostly relegated to the front while surround activity, particularly panning, is minimal. Sound effects are all pretty crisp and clear. The stereo track is similar but more limited.

species on 4K Ultra HD is contained in a 3 disc Collector’s Edition Bundle featuring a black Amaray sleeve alongside a Blu-ray of the film in 1080p (using the same 4K broadcast) and a second Blu-ray with extras. Also included is a double-sided insert with the film’s original theatrical poster artwork on the front and the teaser poster artwork on the reverse. Everything is housed in a limited edition slipcase featuring the original cinema poster artwork. The following extras are included:

DISCS ONE & TWO: MOVIE (UHD)

  • Audio commentary with Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Roger Donaldson
  • Audio commentary with Roger Donaldson, Steve Johnson, Richard Edlund and Frank Mancuso, Jr.

DISC THREE: EXTRAS (BD)

  • After Birth: The Evolution of Species (HD – 36:43)
  • From Sil to Eve with Natasha Henstridge (HD – 16:35)
  • engineering life (Upscaled SD – 16:50)
  • HR Giger at work (Upscaled SD – 12:07)
  • The emergence of species (Upscaled SD – 49:05)
  • Designing a Hybrid (Upscaled SD – 15:48)
  • alternate ending (Upscaled SD – 2:11)
  • Cinema Trailer (Upscaled SD – 1:52)
  • Production Design Gallery (HD – 50 total – 3:22)
  • Creature Design Gallery (HD – 150 total – 8:11)
  • Still gallery (HD – 106 total – 8:37)

All extras from previous Scream Factory and MGM releases have been carried over. There are two audio commentaries, one featuring actors Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, and director Roger Donaldson, and the other featuring Donaldson, makeup effects creator Steve Johnson, visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund, and producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. After Birth: The Evolution of Species is a superb retrospective documentary on the film’s special effects from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and features interviews with Roger Donaldson, Steve Johnson, production designer John Muto, creature supervisor Norman Cabrera, cinematographer Andzej Bartkowiak, Chrysalis supervisor Billy Bryan and composer Christopher Young. From Sil to Evewhich was produced by Scream Factory for the Blu-ray release Species II from Red Shirt Pictures, includes an interview with Natasha Henstridge, who talks about how she rose to fame very quickly because of the film, making films she later regrets, her joy in doing the second film even though it wasn’t as good like the first one, and proud to have been part of the franchise. In which engineering life featurette, a group of scientists that includes Professors Kevin Plaxco, Robert Goldberg, Norbert Reich, Myron Goodman, and Doctors Douglas Gurian-Sherman and Miguel de los Rios, discuss the real-world implications of DNA splicing. HR Giger at work talks to Roger Donaldson, Natasha Henstridge and writer/producer Dennis Feldman about the late artist and offers a behind-the-scenes tour of Giger’s workshop while working on the film. The emergence of species Produced by Greg Carson, the DVD documentary consists of three parts: The origin, The conceptand The discovery. It explores the making of the film through on-set interviews and retrospectives, mixed with behind-the-scenes footage and alternate takes. It features interviews with Dennis Feldman, Frank Mancuso, Jr., Roger Donaldson, John Muto, Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Michelle Williams, Marg Helgenberger and Natasha Henstridge. Designing a Hybrid discusses working with creature effects with Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson, Frank Mancuso, Jr., and Roger Donaldson. The picture galleries contain a total of 306 stills. That Production Design Gallery contains 50 still images of storyboards, models and sets under construction. That Creature Design Gallery features over 150 stills of sculpting and special effects makeup in progress and on set. That Still gallery contains 106 still images of poster concepts, promotional photos, behind-the-scenes photos, creature concepts, press photos, posters, and lobby cards. It’s worth noting that the audio commentary starring Kim Newman and Sean Hogan that was recorded for the 88 Films Region B Blu-ray release of the film is not included here.

The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD by species doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of bonus materials, but they are all of high quality, as is the main presentation. If the CGI had mixed up a little more than it does it would be a perfect presentation. As it is, it’s still an accurate representation of the film and a very worthy upgrade.

– Tim Salmon

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

keywords

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