Blu-ray Review: SPECIES III / SPECIES: THE AWAKENING Double Feature

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SPECIES III was directed by Brad Turner and stars Sunny Mabrey, Robert Knepper, Robin Dunne, John Paul Pitoc, Amelia Cooke, Michael Warren, and Natasha Henstridge.

This 2004 sequel picks right up where Species II left off and follows new female hybrid Sara (Sunny Mabrey), the daughter of Eve (Natasha Henstridge), who is rescued and secretly raised by Dr. Abbot (Robert Knepper). He ends up sharing his secret with brilliant chemistry student Dean (Robin Dunne) and the two begin to study the genetics of this close to perfect half-breed. Sara’s alien instincts fire up and she begins hunting for a worthy mate but she can’t find one suitable enough so this ends up leaving a trail of dead bodies behind. With the help of Dean, Sara finally gets the perfect companion she’s been searching for but not without sacrifice.

Okay, Species II was an okay watch and I enjoyed the continuation of the story. All of the acting was good and the characters were all interesting. Sunny Mabrey was a great choice for Natasha Henstridge to pass the torch too. Her character Sara had sex appeal along with this innocence about her. Unfortunately the movie had a lower budget and they couldn’t pull off some of the fantastic special effects the first two movies offered. There’s still plenty of blood and gore and practical effects, including a new look for this new breed of alien creature this time around. There’s also a little CGI used and it all looked okay. There’s a few tricks that ended up looking pretty cool. Since this movie had a lower budget, they compensated by giving the aliens glowing eyes and sticking them all in more toned down rubber suits. New alien hybrids, new looks.

Run Time: 112

Rated: Unrated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff!

  • Audio Commentary With Director Brad Turner, Writer Ben Ripley And Actor Robin Dunne
  • Alien Odyssey: Evolution Featurette (13:38)
  • Alien Odyssey: Species DNA – Production Design Featurette (06:18)
  • Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology Featurette (05:37)
  • Alien Odyssey: Intelligent Lifeforms – Creature Design Featurette (09:54)
  • Species III: Genesis Featurette (08:50)
  • Trailer (02:03)

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SPECIES: THE AWAKENING was directed by Nick Lyon and stars Helena Mattsson, Ben Cross, Dominic Keating, Marlene Favela, Marco Bacuzzi, and Adam Wylie.

This 2007 sequel heads in a completely new direction and follows college professor Miranda Hollander (Helena Mattsson) who suffers a mysterious blackout and awakens amid the bloody aftermath of a mass slaughter. She asks her Uncle Tom (Ben Cross) for help where he reveals the shocking truth to her that she’s only half human, a clone from a hybrid of human and alien DNA. The two flee to Mexico to locate Forbes (Dominic Keating), the scientist who created her. When they arrive, they find themselves being chased down and in a war against a freakshow of mutated and juiced up alien hybrids that are even more deadly than what we’ve seen before. Ultimately, Miranda has to surrender to the killer instinct that lurks inside her own body so she can take on her new nemesis to try and put a stop to this mutated madness that is out of control. This alien hybrid battle royale doesn’t end well for any of them and Uncle Tom is left alone to cover it all up.

First of all, I liked this movie more than the third installment even though this one ended up being a really bizarre watch and didn’t even stick to the formula the first three movies stuck to. But it had so much more to offer! The stand alone story was entertaining and all of the characters were interesting and fun to follow. Species: The Awakening featured more special effects that looked much better than Species III so I guess they had a bigger budget this time. There’s still some practical effects used along with some cheesy looking CGI. Even though the movie is more of a stand alone watch, these alien half-breeds were the closest thing that the franchise had offered since Sil and Eve. This entry is kind of like Species gone wild that meets a traveling freak show in Mexico.

Run Time: 103 Minutes

Rated: Unrated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features:

  • NEW Alien Awakenings – An Interview With Director Nick Lyon (15:36)
  • NEW Miranda’s Memories – Interview With Actress Helena Mattsson (09:50)

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The front of the packaging features split artwork for both movies that you see up top and the back includes details for each movie, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some images from each movie. Each Blu-ray disc features its own separate artwork. Inserting each Blu-ray disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for both high-definition releases were crisp and clear. Both movies looked and sounded really great in high-def.

Bottom line is, I’ve always been a fan of the Species franchise and getting these last two cheesy chapters on this high-def Blu-ray Double Feature ended up being a fun revisit. Sure, they’re not as good as the first two movies but they’re still a part of this erotic alien franchise and worthy of a high-def release. Simply put, these two are fun and cheesy sci-fi creature features that ended up being direct-to-video romps but they’re still full of wild and untamed alien sex appeal, cool special effects and lots of gore – just like the first two offerings. Both movies also premiered on Syfy (Sci-fi Channel) but they had been edited down with all the language and nudity taken out, so what Scream Factory has done is release each movie in their own Unrated and Uncut glory. I mean we are talking Species movies here and these movies were always known for their beautiful female aliens, nudity and gore. This Species III / Species: Awakening Blu-ray Double Feature releases on March 8th and is worth checking out. 

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