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CINEMA: John Lyttle on film

Species - what can one say? Here's a movie that makes Congo come on like Citizen Kane, makes The Net seem as exciting as my Aunt Sadie's wedding album, makes you think almost fondly of Jack and Sarah... oh, alright, no, maybe it isn't quite that bad. Anyhow, it's a hit (spot the missing letter) and you have to ask why. It hasn't a thing to do with originality - basically, we're talking Alien with breasts - thespian ability (as an actor Michael Madsen makes a lovely occasional table) or even special effects: too much morphing, no imagination.

So what strikes a chord? Well, it's that this bitch from space is hungry for... oh, how shall I put this?... for man's essence. And I don't mean the great smell of Brut. Yep, galaxy girl wants to breed with earthlings, though finally she settles for sex with Alfred Molina (famous last post- coital words: "That was delightful"). What we're dealing with here is, of course, our old Freudian friend Vagina Denata, the sex organ that eats little boys up. Here's a babe who's beautiful, but bigger, stronger and deadlier than the male - all of which makes it okay for us to be introduced to her as a moppet about to have her playpen pumped full of cyanide. She's gagging from it and then she's gagging for it; either way, the movie whispers, she's a deceitful modern woman, tough on the outside, driven by her biological clock inside, a monster of conflicting, and castrating, demands.

Luckily, Species (below) is so inept it can be laughed at. Which is something: if it were any better it would a misogynist masterpiece rather than a camp classic. Book front row seats now.