Species II

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Species II
Species2.jpg
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Peter Medak
Produced by Dennis Feldman
Frank Mancuso Jr.
Written by Chris Brancato
Based on Characters
Dennis Feldman
Starring Natasha Henstridge
Michael Madsen
Marg Helgenberger
James Cromwell
Mykelti Williamson
George Dzundza
Justin Lazard
Music by Edward Shearmur
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by Richard Nord
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer
Release dates
  • April 10, 1998 (1998-04-10)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Box office $26,817,565[1]

Species II (also known as Species II: Offspring and Species II: Origins) is a 1998 American science fiction horror film, sequel to the 1995 film Species and the second installment in the Species series. The film was directed by Peter Medak and starring Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger, all of whom reprise their roles from the first film. It also features actor James Cromwell as "Senator Judson Ross". The film was followed by Species III (2004).

Plot[edit]

Roughly two years after the first film, an American space mission lands on Mars; Patrick Ross, the commander of the mission, collects soil samples. However, the temperature on board the ship thaws a mysterious substance within a sample, which then attempts to infect the astronauts, causing a seven-minute time gap in radio contact between Earth and the shuttle. The mission is still considered a success and the crew safely returns to Earth. Only Dr. Cromwell, a former scientist and now an inmate in an asylum, reacts violently to their return.

Under military supervision headed by Colonel Carter Burgess Jr., a team of scientists, led by Dr. Laura Baker, have created a more-docile clone of Sil, named Eve, in an effort to understand the alien life form and prepare for defense, should it ever arrive on Earth in the future. Only female staff are allowed in Eve's presence as a precaution.

After their return, the three astronauts - Ross, as well as Dennis Gamble and Anne Sampas - are examined by space agency doctor Orinsky and quarantined to prevent them from engaging in sexual activity for ten days. However, at a fundraiser honoring the astronauts, Patrick disregards this advice and makes out with a debutante in a closet. When he is called to give a speech, the debutante invites him up to her room to have sex. After making his speech, he visits her room and finds her and her sister both waiting for him. Patrick has sex with the debutante, then her sister. As Patrick has sex again, the debutant undergoes an accelerated pregnancy; within minutes, her stomach bursts open to release a newborn. This seems to sequenize with the alien DNA in Patrick as he sprouts tentacles, which the sister notices; Patrick continues having sex despite her pleas, leaving her to the same fate. Meanwhile, an isolated Eve, undergoing tests in the lab, shows signs of great, physiological excitement every time Patrick has sex with women.

Patrick hides the women's corpses and his two rapidly growing children in a remote shed on family property. The next day, he tries to confide his concerns about lost memories (due to the alien DNA taking over) to his father, the ruthless and ambitious Senator Judson Ross. Judson rebuffs him, revealing he knows about Patrick's ignoring the quarantine and advising him to keep his mind on his goals, as he believes his son will one day be President. Later, at the space center, Dr. Orinsky discovers something amiss about Patrick's blood sample, leading him to try to contact Cromwell. However, Patrick sneaks into the lab in alien form and disembowels Orinsky to hide the discovery. Laura discovers alien DNA similar to Eve's in Orinsky's corpse; if Eve were to mate with a male with infected by this, the resulting offspring would be much stronger. Burgess reunites Laura with Press Lennox, who founded a private security firm after the first film, to contain the new threat. Press and Laura contact Cromwell, Orinsky's former professor, who tells them that he warned against going to Mars due to his discovery that an alien species had once Mars; he feared any remaining alien DNA might infect any humans that landed there.

Press and Laura report their findings to Burgess and tell him that Patrick, Anne and Dennis are the likely candidates. They attempt to find Patrick first, but he is nowhere to be found, so they go after Anne Sampas, who was also infected with alien DNA during the return trip home. Unfortunately, by the time they are able to locate her, she has already had unprotected sex with her husband and has become impregnated with alien offspring, which emerges from her womb shortly after. Press and Laura manage to kill the newborn creature, but not before it kills both Anne and her husband. Government agents are able to locate Dennis Gamble and analyze his blood, revealing that he was not infected and is allowed to go home, though is asked if he knows where to find Patrick. He answers that he doesn't know where Patrick is, but is asked to inform them of where he is or where he might be found should he ever see him. Dennis decides to go find Patrick to find out what is going on. Laura discovers that Anne's DNA does not match that in Orinsky's wounds, leaving Patrick as the only remaining suspect.

Despite his attempts to ward off his fiancée, Patrick awakes to the next day to find that her body is mutilated and another alien child was born to him through her. Horrified, he washes up, dresses in his military uniform, and shoots himself in the head with a rifle. However, as Patrick accelerated the alien DNA's infection with sex, his head regenerates; unfortunately, the alien DNA is in full control. As Dennis witnesses this, he becomes scared and runs off to tell Press and Laura; he then joins Press and Laura in their mission. Patrick, with the alien half in control, begins to impregnate as many women as he can (mostly prostitutes and strippers), killing them in the process, and burying them next to his shed where he accumulates a large, virulent brood of alien children of various ages.

At the lab, the scientists, unable to locate Patrick on their own, activate Eve's dormant alien DNA in order to telepathically track Patrick, but results in making her more alien than human, increasing her strength, anger and mating drive. After being found at a grocery store by Press and Dennis, Patrick becomes aware of Eve and, in order to get closer to her, gives himself up to Press and Dennis; this occurs after almost raping a woman he meets in the store. As they return to the lab, Eve shows signs of being in heat and libido towards Patrick. Patrick tries to enter her isolation cell, but is chased off by Laura, Dennis and Press.

Burgess confronts Senator Ross with indisputable evidence of Patrick's infection and demands that he help bring Patrick in. Suspicious that the military will kill Patrick instead, Ross deduces he is at the shed, which is on property listed in Patrick's late mother's maiden name. When Ross apologizes to his son for treating him so coldly and tells him they will seek treatment for Patrick's infection together, Patrick's human side returns and he tearfully embraces his father. However, the alien side violently reasserts itself and kills Ross. Completely broken to his alien instincts, Patrick helps his hybrid children to cocoon, awaiting their rebirth as adults so that they can mate with humans, hoping to eventually destroy mankind. Meanwhile, Laura finds out that Dennis had resisted infection from the alien DNA due to his carrying a genetic flaw, and makes plans to infect the alien species with Dennis' DNA, as the species lacks immunity to human genetic diseases.

As the team prepares, Eve breaks free from the lab to find Patrick. The team tails her, finds the shed and kills Patrick's brood. Eve and Patrick finally encounter each other, undress and amorously perform a mating ritual in which they quickly transform into their alien forms, but are interrupted by Press, who tries to get Eve to get away from Patrick. Patrick fights off Press and Dennis and later overpowers Eve (who had attacked him at Laura's request after she begged her, appealing to her human half). He then, seemingly, kills her by forcing his penis down her throat, choking her to death. Press stabs Patrick in the back with a pitchfork coated with Dennis' blood, causing Patrick to die and disintegrate.

The military finally arrives and escorts Press, Laura and the injured Dennis away. Eve's lifeless body is loaded into the back of an ambulance. As the vehicle departs, a cat lands on Eve and causes her womb to swell rapidly, indicating an imminent birth after being impregnated by Patrick, as one of Patrick's children, who hadn't yet cocooned, looks on. The last thing was heard is Eve's screaming as her womb bursts. (This ending, however is retconned by the beginning of Species III, which instead shows Eve waking back up and giving birth normally before being killed by Patrick's child).

Cast[edit]

Species[edit]

The nature of the alien species is explored to a slightly greater extent in the second film. A professor claims that they originated in the Large Magellanic Cloud (called the Magellanic Galaxy), due to it apparently being the only other place carbon-based life forms have been discovered. It is also stipulated that they were a "cancerous" race that visited Mars millions of years ago and annihilated all life on its surface, (which is described in the film as being Earth-like at that time) before leaving a remnant of DNA in its soil. This DNA was intended to be picked up by other visitors so their species could continue to infect other planets. Since Patrick's alien form was quadrupedal (as opposed to bipedal, like Eve's form), bigger, and more 'brutish' in appearance than hers, it is assumed that this must be the common appearance of most of, if not all of, the males of the alien species. Their appearance is also similar to the xenomorphs of the Alien films; both were designed with input from H. R. Giger.

Reception[edit]

Box Office[edit]

On April 10, 1998 in 2510 theatres, the film finished at $7.2 million, ranking number four on its opening weekend. Domestically, the film grossed only $19.6 million from its $35 million budget and $26,817,565 overseas, making the film a box office flop.[2]

Critical Reception[edit]

The film received notably worse reviews than its predecessor, currently holding a 10% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews (3 positive, 27 negative). Dwayne E. Leslie from Box Office Magazine gave the film 1 out of 5 stars calling it "a sequel that doesn't measure up", also heavily criticizing the film's predictable and open ending.[3] Joe Leydon from Variety magazine called the film "a half-baked rehash". He praised the special effects and technical aspects of the film but added "that's not nearly enough to camouflage the inherent crumminess."[4] James Berardinelli described the film as awful but added "there's enough blood, gore, simulated sex, and bare flesh to prevent it from ever becoming boring".[5]

In a 2004 interview, co-star Michael Madsen expressed his opinion on this film saying "Species II was a crock of shit. There are a number I'm not very proud of. The movie studios can't mind that much, as they haven't contacted me to tell me off about it. I'm honest - if I've made a bad movie, I want my fans to know what they're letting themselves in for."[6]

In the DVD commentary director Peter Medak highly praised the films' special effects. He expressed his opinion that audiences had too much expectation as this was a very different sequel due to not continuing from the story with the alien-infected rat that survived the finale, which hinted at a sequel in the 1995 original. Medak also admitted being uncomfortable with the amount of nudity in the film but said it was for the purpose of the story.

Merchandise[edit]

To coincide with the movie, McFarlane Toys released an Eve and Patrick (in their alien form) action figure as part of their series one Movie Maniacs toy line. Both action figures came with a replica of the film's poster with skulls and bones base. Eve came with an alternate head. Two Eve action figures were produced which was dubbed the PG and R rated version. The R rated Eve action figure (in her alien form) had nipples on her breasts while the PG figure didn't. The R rated figure was released only in comic book and other collectable stores while the PG figure was released in toy stores. Another thing noticeable about the figures was their facial expressions.[citation needed]

Novelization[edit]

As with the first film, Yvonne Navarro wrote a novelization based on the original screenplay which gives plot and character details not seen in the film. For example the book tells how due to little knowledge of the outside world, Eve actually doesn't know if Superman is a real life personality or not. It is also hinted that she was able to learn a degree of martial arts by watching old action movies.

In the film, Eve is shot by soldiers, but after being briefly incapacitated her body regenerates and she continues to escape. Soldiers continue to shoot at her, but Eve manages to run past them; why she is unharmed is left unexplained. The book explains that her skin adapts (in a way similar to how her body adapts to the gas test earlier in the film), becoming bulletproof.

Other details in the book that do not appear in the film include an earlier escape attempt by Eve and Patrick discovering new senses in a restaurant with his fiancé. In the novel, the debutante is a young, sexy, brown-eyed blonde, whereas in the film, she is an older woman who is a brunette. The debutante's sister in the novel isn't her sister but her best friend from college that they often engaged in sexual games that involved seducing men.

Other events that occurred in the novel that occurred in the movie happened before or after other events. For example, Patrick doesn't encounter the debutante at the fundraiser until after Orinsky was killed by him, and Cromwell wasn't visited by Laura and Press until they discovered Orinsky's corpse.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Species II (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  2. ^ "City of Angels' Takes Wing in Heavenly Opening Weekend". The Los Angeles Times. 13 April 1998. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  3. ^ Species II review Boxoffice.com
  4. ^ Species II review Variety.com
  5. ^ Species II review Reelviews.net
  6. ^ Tim Inghman (18 June 2004). "Michael Madsen review". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 

External links[edit]