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Brad Turner
Robin Dunne, Robert Knepper, Sunny Mabrey, Natasha Henstridge
Writing Credits:
Ben Ripley

Sara, the daughter of Eve, begins her mission to mate with humans, while a specialist military team hunt her down to kill her before its too late.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 3/8/2016
Available as “Double Feature” with Species; The Awakening

• Audio Commentary with Director Brad Turner, Writer Ben Ripley and Actor Robin Dunne
• Four “Alien Odyssey” Featurettes
• “Genesis” Featurette
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Species III [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 10, 2016)

Though 1995’s Species did decently at the box office, 1998’s Species II flopped. Rather than end the franchise there, the producers went the direct-to-video route for 2004’s Species III.

Species III picks up right after the conclusion of Species II. A scientist named Dr. Abbot (Robert Knepper) hijacks the military ambulance that carries the supposedly deceased body of alien/human hybrid Eve (Natasha Henstridge). It turns out she’s not quite dead after akk, and she gives birth to a baby girl.

A hybrid male child kills Eve, but Dr. Abbot manages to flee with Eve’s infant. He names her Sara and sees her quickly grow to adulthood (Sunny Mabrey). Dr. Abbot plans to use Sara to create the perfect DNA, but just like her mom, Sara prefers to attempt to mate with humans and form her own breed of super-beings. Once again, complications ensue.

Not that long-time readers need more evidence of this, but the fact I’m reviewing Species III may prove that I’m nuts. I didn’t like Species. I didn’t like Species II. Why would I believe that Species III would change my mind?

Hope springs, I guess, so I figured I’d give the franchise one more shot. Do the results encourage me to take a look at 2007’s Species: The Awakening? Nope - Species III probably isn’t any worse than its immediate predecessor, but it does nothing to improve on the franchise.

I gave Species II some credit for its attempts to broaden the narrative, as it managed to take the series on a path that seemed moderately different than the first movie. Though it still came with more than a few similarities, at least it pursued new directions.

That seems less true for Species III. While not a literal remake of the first movie, this one returns to the well in quite a few ways and offers plenty of scenes/situations that echo moments/plot points from the original flick. Again, it doesn’t quite reach “remake” level, but the script lacks much originality.

That absence of creativity combines with questionable production values and a generally low-budget feel, especially in terms of effects. While the first flick’s effects didn’t seem special, the second film’s fared worse and Species III continues that downward trajectory. Even with improvements in computer graphics between 1995 and 2004, this movie’s work ranges from mediocre to laughable; the effects become an active problem.

Not that anything else about the film rises above its cheap direct-to-video origins. I don’t want to disparage the actors, but we saw a huge drop-off in talent as the series progressed. Species included a mix of notable castmembers, while Species II at least managed to bring back two of the original actors and added professionals like James Cromwell and Peter Boyle.

No offense to Knepper, Mabrey and Dunne, but they’re not exactly in the same class as Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker and Alfred Molina, are they? Or even Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger, for that matter. The actors neither add to nor detract from the experience, as they deliver the lines with acceptable investment and that’s about it.

Even the greatest cast in the world couldn’t do much with this project, though. Species III suffers from a lack of creative inspiration, a low budget, and an absence of strong talent. All those factors combine to make it little more than a cheap cash-in.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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