Species III appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot on hi-def video, the image showed the limitations of that source.
Not that this made the transfer poor – it just seemed erratic. Sharpness was one of the inconsistent elements, as occasional instances of softness occurred. Most of the movie showed reasonable delineation, but it came with less precision in general than I’d expect, and more than a few mildly soft elements appeared.
I saw no issues with moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to occur, so this was a clean presentation.
Colors tended to be bland. The movie went with an amber orientation dashed with some teal, and those hues looked drab. While the hues weren’t poor, they seemed flat. Similar thoughts connected to the inky blacks, and shadows seemed somewhat murky. Despite these complaints, the image wasn’t bad – it just failed to be better than mediocre.
In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack demonstrated the restrictions I’d expect from a 12-year-old made-for-video movie. This meant a soundscape without a lot of ambition, one that focused mainly on the forward speakers. In that domain, we got moderate localization and movement, but the results lacked much vivacity.
Surround usage seemed modest as well. Some of the action scenes made decent use of the back channels, but they didn’t manage to create an especially involving impression. This felt like a low-budget mix that added a little to the experience but not a lot.
Audio quality was acceptable. Speech could seem a bit reedy, but the lines were intelligible and reasonably natural. Music appeared acceptably full, and effects had a little punch to them. Nothing here seemed especially strong, though, so this ended up as a passable track and nothing more.
The Blu-ray comes with a reasonable set of supplements, and these start with an audio commentary from director Brad Turner, writer Ben Ripley and actor Robin Dunne. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat about story/character issues and connections to the prior films, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, camerawork, editing, effects, and related topics.
The three men offer a perfectly serviceable commentary. That means that the track never becomes especially fascinating but it also remains reasonably interesting and informative. The conversation gives us a good meat and potatoes overview of the film.
Under the banner Alien Odyssey, we find four featurettes: “Evolution” (13:38), “Species DNA” (6:18), “Alien Technology” (5:37) and “Intelligent Lifeforms” (9:54). Across these, we hear from Turner, Dunne, producer David Dwiggins, executive producer Frank Mancuso Jr, director of photography Christian Sebaldt, production designer Cameron Bernie, digital effects coordinator Dennis Berandi, creature designer Rob Hinderstein, stunt coordinator Jim Vickers, stuntman Chris Daniels, animatronics operator Christian Risto, prosthetic designer Joel Harlow, and actors Natasha Henstridge, Sunny Mabrey, JP Pitoc, Amelia Cooke, and Robert Knepper.
We get notes on the film’s development, story/characters, cast and performances, cinematography and shooting digitally, various effects and creature design, sets, locations and production design, and stunts. The programs vary in quality, but they offer a generally solid array of details.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a featurette called Genesis. This runs eight minutes, 50 seconds and features Mancuso, Henstridge, Turner, Species director Roger Donaldson, and actors Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Justin Lazard, and Marg Helgenberger.
“Genesis” offers an overview of the franchise. It lacks much depth.
To coin a phrase, three strikes and you’re out. Species III offers another flawed sci-fi action adventure and continues the franchise’s lifeless ways. The Blu-ray presents mediocre picture and audio as well as a positive package of bonus materials. The third Species movie may be the worst.
Note that Species III comes as part of a “double feature” package that also includes Species: The Awakening. Both reside on individual discs.