Critics agree: 'Species' fails to rise above typical DNA thriller

By Christina Woo

Arizona Summer Wildcat

Hollywood is really getting on my nerves. Exactly how many different ways can you write a story dealing with a DNA experiment gone haywire?

Obviously too many.

"Andromeda Strain" and the blockbuster "Jurassic Park", both adaptations of Michael Crichton novels by the same name, should sound familiar to the general public.

The premise of "Andromeda Strain" was that of a government satellite dish crashing to earth, bringing along with it an alien strain of DNA. The DNA wipes out a whole town and not surprisingly, the government decides that rather than alerting the public to such a hazard, a cover-up is more appropriate.

In "Jurassic Park", the idea was that a mosquito from the dinosaur era was somehow preserved, and along with it, the blood of a dinosaur. From this, the DNA sequence was extracted. Add a little technology, and VOILA! Instant dinosaur.

The latest release, "Species", unlike the others, spends less time on the "reality and believability" of the story, and more on the science fiction aspect.

The movie starts off a bit slow, trying too hard to explain in layman's terms, the situation.

Are we actually supposed to believe that contact was made with extra-terrestrial beings; that they (the aliens themselves) gave us instructions on how to mix their DNA with our human DNA? If believability is what you're in for, this movie doesn't cut it.

When the cast is first introduced, it seems to lack chemistry, but as the movieprogresses, their screen personalities develop,

and their relationships with one another become more believable.

Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger), is the only woman on this team, so needless to say, a battle of the sexes becomes a part of the repertoire. It all begins with the reasoning as to why the gender of the "creature" was chosen to be female. According to Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley), the head scientist, females are more "docile".

The setting takes place in Los Angeles. A good choice, if you ask me. How appropriate that such a city, a city of a million freaks, could be a haven for a genetic freak. She blends in well.

As for the special effects, kudos go to H.R. Giger ("Aliens"), Richard Edlund ("Star Wars",, "Raiders of the Lost Ark"), and Steve Johnson ("The Stand"). Suspense was never an issue in this movie. Most of the scenes prepare you for a gruesome moment, but as for special effects, this movie gives you plenty for your money.

Christina Woo is a biology sophomore and an intern with the Arizona Summer Wildcat.

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