Species III / Species: The Awakening – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Species IIIThe first SPECIES movie offers a terrifying look at an experiment combining human and alien DNA. The result proves more dangerous and terrifying than anyone could have ever imagined. The ongoing fight for supremacy between mankind and human-alien hybrids continued in three subsequent feature films.  Fans of widely popular SPECIES movies rejoice as the long-awaited Blu-ray™ editions of SPECIES III & SPECIES – THE AWAKENING Uncut and Unrated hit home entertainment shelves everywhere on March 8, 2016 from SCREAM FACTORY™.  These highly sought-after cult sci-fi terror classics debut for the first time on Blu-ray.  A must-have for collectors, sci-fi horror enthusiasts and loyal fans to complete their movie library, SPECIES II and SPECIES III / SPECIES THE AWAKENING double feature are available for pre-order now. ** Avid fans and collectors please take note: those who order directly from ShoutFactory.com and get it shipped two weeks early.

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In the ongoing fight for supremacy between mankind and human-alien hybrids, a fatal weakness among the hybrids has given humans the advantage… until now. When Sara, the daughter of Eve, is born, she develops into the most genetically perfect alien form yet! Seeking to repopulate Earth with her kind, this dangerously beautiful femme fatale heeds an overwhelming drive to mate… while a crack military team trails her in an attempt to end the war between the two species forever!

Believe it or not, I actually remember when this premiered on SyFy (Then Sci-Fi Channel).  My roommate and I watched Stargate SG-1 a bit and when we saw that it was Species III AND had Natasha Henstridge we were more curious than excited.  Alas, we started watching it, and when they off’d Eve immediately with not even a line of dialogue, we were pretty much done.  So, this viewing is the first I’ve actually seen of the entire film that picks up right where we left off from Species II.

For the type of film this is, there are some impressive effects in the movie on the physical end of things.  The digital are kinda cheap and crummy (And not a dated thing, they were cheap and crummy in 2004 too).  Biggest issue with the film is that it has NO RIGHT to be almost two hours long.  It suffers from being super cheap with limited sets and locations that aren’t interesting and get reused over and over with a plot that tries to stay away from using effects until it very much has to.  Oh…and there is a device in the film introduced to be something destructive in the final act, but when its used it does its business OFF CAMERA.  Boo!  Nobody is particularly bad in this film, and they had to work with what they had to work with, but man was this one so slow and boring.

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When brilliant college professor Miranda Hollander suffers a mysterious blackout and awakens amid the bloody aftermath of a mass slaughter, she turns to her uncle for answers. But when he reveals the shocking truth…that she’s only half human, a clone from a hybrid of human and alien DNA, they must flee to Mexico to locate the scientist who created her. Soon they find themselves locked in battle with a horde of rampaging, unstoppable hybrids…and time is running out before Miranda will inevitably surrender to the killer instinct that lurks inside her own body!

After Species III, I was dreading the fourth and so far final entry in the sexy female alien bangs and kills series.  I guess I enjoyed this one slightly better than the third?  Its quite a bit different than the previous ones and is a bit more weird and goofy at times.  Plus the plot seems like its trying to stand on its own more.  Its still not a good movie at all, and also remains a chore to get through like the previous one.  But, I suppose its just not as much of a chore by a half star on the rating scale?

Species: The Awakening isn’t very good, but it seems to have bolder force behind the camera and a desire to sort of make its mark on the mythology.  It feels very standalone from the previous three films and doesn’t really pick up anywhere.  There are some cool sets and mood pieces as well as creepy and freaky characters throughout to keep ones attention from fully drifting.  If had a gun to my head and had to pick one of these two films to sit through, it’d be this one, and that’s not just because its shorter (Though, that plays a big part in the decision, too).  I wonder if there are any fans of this or the third one at all.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Species III is fine, but it comes with a pretty disappointing picture.  This may be due to the fact that this was sorta a straight to video feature that came at a crossroads sort of time with digital and film moviemaking.  Awakening fares much better with a rich, sharp image and plenty of style that is translated quite well by Scream Factory’s transfer.  On the downside, the digital effects are plenty exposed and obvious on both films, but the ideas behind some the kills that use the technology still help them to work enough.

Depth:  Both films feature solid depth worth.  Species III has some blurrier blocky movements while Awakening has natural smooth ones.

Black Levels:  Species III features some murky, crushed blacks, while Awakening has a rich deep look with great shadows and definition refining. 

Color Reproduction:  Species III doesn’t feature a wide variety of color but blues are pretty strong, especially when Sunny Mabrey’s eyes light up.  Awakening has a lot of filters going on, but blues, greens and reds are very strong.  The reds almost look like an Argento homage at times.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones take on a natural look consistently throughout Species III.  Awakening tends to be at the mercy of whatever filter they have the scene it with.  Species III has decent facial details, strong predominantly in close ups.  Awakening looks terrific and has great textures and detail from many distances.

Noise/Artifacts:  Both are pretty clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  The sound for both movies is actually pretty impressive.  Similar sounding audio tracks that both provide a full, eventful experience with a very spaced and loose mix.  

Low Frequency Extension:  Action scenes with things being tossed and turned about benefit mostly from the subwoofer.  Some auto crashes and gunfire boom too.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Mostly the rear channels provide ambient noise, but do have some good fills here and there.  The front channels are loud and provide a good documentation audibly of the onscreen action.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is always crisp, loud and clear.

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This double feature comes in a 2-disc set.  Each movie gets its own disc.

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Audio Commentary

  • With Director Brad Turner, writer Ben Ripley and Lead Actor Robin Dunne

Alien Odyssey: Evolution (HD, 13:38) – This one talks about the process of doing this film, from switching hands of the theatrical division to the home video one.

Alien Odyssey: Species DNA (HD, 6:18) – A featurette about the set design of the film.

Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology (HD, 5:37) – The technology shown and used in the film is the focus of this one.

Alien Odyssey: Intelligent Lifeforms (HD, 9:54) – In this featurette, the alien life and personality is discussed.

Genesis (HD, 8:50) – A little history and overview of the series to this point.

Original Trailer (HD, 2:03) 

Species: The Awakening

Alien Awakenings (HD, 15:38) – An interview with director Nick Lyon.

Miranda’s Memories (HD, 9:50) – An interview with actress Helena Mattson.

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If you’re going to go in, you’re going to go all in.  That’s what Scream Factory has done in taking on all the sequels to Species.  These two made for television/straight to video films aren’t very good, but have technical aspects that can impress for what they are.  Cool enough, there are imported extras as well as a few new ones provided here.  For those interested, its a very good release, but this is for the hardest of the hardcore or completionist only.  Oh, and the Sunny Mabrey fanclub.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Species III / Species: The Awakening – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Timotius

    Hello Brandon thanks for your review, i appreciate it. First of all I have watched both movies and I think it will be a waste of 29,99 dollar if I only came for extra interview with Nick Lyon and the actress Helena Mattsson Could you do me a favor ? I just need a recorded part of both interview juts to get an understandment of the 4th movie ? – Kind regards Timoti