There was a time when The Eternal received the lowest score we’d ever given. That time has passed.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Natasha Henstridge as Sil.

Michael Madsen as Press

Marg Helgenberger as Laura

Written by Chris Brancato

Directed by Peter Medak

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca if you must.

Premise

Humans go to Mars, and come back with an infection of some kind. Apparently, the alien DNA that came in a transmission in the first movie was left behind on Mars way, way in the past. It also appears that a Stanfield researcher recognized it as something that only exists in a different galaxy. How the hell would he know? At any rate, it seems that it infects women in a way that simply makes them give birth to tentacles that suffocate people, while it turns men into sex zombies that can grow tentacles themselves, and rewrite the biological processes of women they impregnate.

Fortunately, mankind has a secret weapon. They created another Sil, named Eve, to find out what it takes to kill these aliens, “in case they come back.” Um, people, mankind put the original together themselves. As far as they could tell, these things wouldn’t be coming back without help.

High Point

The end credits roll.

Low Point

Any of the 88 minutes that precede the High Point.

Why I Own This DVD

I saw the original Species in theaters on the day of my eighteenth birthday, making it the first R-rated movie I’d seen on the big screen. It wasn’t great, or even very good, but it wasn’t awful. The sequel didn’t take long to come out, but I didn’t see it in theaters, since word of mouth was so negative.

Then, a few months ago, I heard they were making a third. “In that case,” thought I, “the sequel can’t be all that bad.” I ran across a new DVD copy for $7 Canadian not long after, and picked it up. About a month later, I got around to watching it, and realized that it was a whole lot worse than I’d expected. I’ve since followed the release of the third with a sort of morbid fascination. It was shot on a ten million dollar budget, and will premier on national television in a PG-13 edit days before a DVD release in R-rated and unrated versions. (Why not R-rated and NC-17 rated versions? I’m guessing the R-rated version is the one the editor prefers, and the unrated version is just that with all of the cut nudity restored. There only seems to be a minute difference in runtimes, so the unrated version would probably have gotten an R-rating itself. It makes for hard marketing when the two versions have the same rating and only differ by a minute.) Note that it seems as if those of us in Canada will only find the unrated version for sale, and not the R-rated version. It makes sense; why ship two products when the only reason to buy the R-rated version is so you can pretend you aren’t just buying it for the nudity?

The Scores

Don’t expect anything original from this; I sure didn’t notice any. I give it 1 out of 6.

The effects used to show the blood running to and then up the wall were pretty good. The rest were terrible. I give it 2 out of 6.

The story is easily the worst part. Never mind the inconsistencies we’ve got in what the infection does. Never mind the virus that has to be sentient to do what it does. Never mind the fact that the only mention of the first two victims comes so late and so casual that we’re not even sure the bodies have been discovered. Never mind the “you know how I got this eye” speech that is never, ever returned to in order to tell the audience how he got that eye. Never mind that nobody notices that there’s a problem with a soil sample when they get back to Earth. The thing that bothers me the most is that Eve actually exists in a project under the control of Dr. Laura Baker. This is a woman who should be fighting against the very existence of the project. Think about what she lived through. Think about how sympathetic she was the first time around. Do you think she could stomach having any part in this project? Similarly, the shallow character Press was in the original doesn’t seem like the kind of character that would end up where Press begins in this one. Who brings Diplomats to a demonstration of freeing hostages in order to sell services? If it was a staged event, then the potential customers would need some sort of monitoring devices to see how things actually work; all they could see was people leaving a building. If it weren’t staged, then no sane person would bring an audience along. There is just way too much wrong with all of this for any audience member with sufficient blood flow to the brain to accept. I give it 1 out of 6.

The acting was almost as uninspired as the script. The second victim in the Abraham Lincoln Suite was convincing in her panic, and Natasha Henstridge was convincing in her “lusting for Patrick through the glass” moment, but that’s it. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response is worthless. I was too dissatisfied with pretty much every aspect of this to enjoy it. I give it 1 out of 6.

The production is terrible. The editing and slow motion effects in the original attack were lousy. Look at Eve’s escape; we start with Press and Dennis having a boring conversation (while weilding weapons that have red flashlights instead of laser pointers for targeting; way to miss the point, prop guys) a few feet from Eve’s cage. We then cut to Eve suddenly choosing to escape. They could have shortened the scene by cutting back and forth. The boring conversation becomes a backdrop to show they don’t notice what’s going on. You cut to Eve staring off into the distance and back a few times, and the audience might actually feel a bit of suspense. Instead, we know exactly what’s going to happen, and exactly when it’ll happen, with plenty of time to wonder why a facility with dozens of people whose sole purpose is to monitor Eve don’t notice what she’s up to until it’s too late. The lighting, set design, and camera work are similarly troubled. The musical score was passable, though. I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, this was a complete waste of time and money. I can enjoy bad movies when they’re low budget bad or deliberately bad, but when something showing signs of a decent budget comes out like this, the fun is just gone. Rewatch the original instead, if you must. I give it 1 out of 6.

In total, Species 2 receives 10 out of 42.