|Chronicles of Riddick Pitch Black |
Actors: Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Colm Feore, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser
Director: David Twohy
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 03/31/2009
Don't be afraid of the dark, be afraid of what's in the dark
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the release of The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) aka Pitch Black 2, Universal Home Video has decided to try and squeeze a bit more juice from the original film, releasing a Special Wide Screen Unrated Director's Cut edition. Is it worth it, for all of you out there who've already bought one of the numerous previous releases? I'll answer this question later. Pitch Black (2000) was directed by David Twohy, better known to me for his writing credits, specifically the Kevin Costner suck fest Waterworld (1995). Despite that particular credit, he did write and direct The Arrival (1996), which I did enjoy, but when the hole you're trying to exhume yourself from of is Waterworld, you have a lot of digging ahead of you. The most notable star in the film is Vin Diesel as Riddick, and, while not his first film, this is probably the one that really got him and his bald head noticed by the public. The film also stars Cole Hauser as William Johns, an actor I most recall from the 1993 film Dazed and Confused and sometimes get confused with Ben Affleck, who was also in that movie. Also appearing in the film is the delicious Claudia Black, a woman that any sci-fi aficionado would recognize as Aeryn Sun from the popular Farscape television series and Keith David, popular character actor I recognize mostly from John Carpenter films like The Thing (1982) and They Live (1988).
Anyhow, the film opens on a giant ship traveling through space. We see a number of people in cryo sleep, as since we all know, space travel takes a long time, so in order to pass the extended periods of time, people must be partially frozen, like green peas, and then thawed out when needed. Well, something goes wrong with the ship, and various peoples begin popping out of cryo sleep, as the computer, who probably screwed things up in the first place, now needs people to fix matters. But there's no fixing these particular matters as the ship makes a crash landing on a pretty crummy desert-like planet. As the surviving members of the ill-fated cruise extricate themselves from the wreckage, soon begin to learn more of these individuals. There's the Skipper, Mary Ann, the Professor...wait, that's not right...ah skip it...anyway, we do get to meet Riddick, the only passenger chained and bound during cryo sleep, who manages to escape his bonds, to which Johns begins to run around looking for him. As the others begin looking for water, a couple stay behind, one in particular to begin burying those who didn't survive the landing. As he's digging, he finds a hole, decides to stick his head inside, and poof, he's gone, leaving an awful lot of blood behind...where did he go? We see Riddick standing over the hole, to which everyone assumes he killed the man, but we learn pretty shortly afterwards that's not the case. An investigation turns up some pretty hideous (and hungry) creatures that can only venture out when the sun (or suns, as there's three of them on this world) is down. The stranded individuals eventually find water, in the form of a deserted mining camp. Also in the camp is a space skiff, a small ship capable of getting them off the planet and into space shipping lanes where they would most likely be picked up by a passing freighter. Only problem is the skiff needs power to operate, so heavy power cells from the crashed vessel must be transported to the skiff, and the distance is more than a hop, skip and a jump. Oh yeah, night is falling, causing the indigenous inhabitants to stir, and stir they do...by the millions...by the way, did I mention Riddick has some strange modification to his eyes that allow him to see in the dark? You can see where this might come in handy in the darkness of a planet inhabited by big, hungry, scary, carnivorous nocturnal creatures...
So, is this film any good? Being so inundated by B-movie flicks over the many years of my movie viewing existence, I was pleasantly surprised to find this was actually a very good film with better than average special effects. Okay, originality isn't its' strong point, but certain elements within the story makes it better than most, the key being that there is a coherent story throughout. And real, honest to goodness character development, to the point where I became unsure who was actually going to make it to the end of the film. The presentation of the character of Riddick, the anti-hero, was fun, and the notion of fighting evil with evil, as the tag line states seems a misrepresentation, as I really didn't see the creatures as being evil, only doing what they would normally do...the one character I found most annoying was that of Jack, given his whining and such, and sacrifices made to accommodate him. The element about the story I enjoyed most was that very little seemed to be what it appeared to be, specifically with the major characters and plot lines. Things get a bit topsy-turvy as revelations are made.
So, is it worth buying this version if you've already bought a previous DVD release of the film? Probably not...the special features included are commentaries by the director and stars Diesel and Hauser, additional commentaries by the director, the producer, and the guy in charge of the special effects, which were available on previous releases. The list of new features is listed on this website, but I found very little of them really worth my time, so if you already own a previous version (I didn't), you're not missing much. There was a free movie pass included in the DVD case, one for the new movie The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), so that's pretty sweet, give that going to the theater to see a new film has gotten so expensive.
By the way, did they rename this film The Chronicles of Riddick - Pitch Black? Was this done to help people remember it was the first film with the Riddick character? If so, it was a daft manuver...it will always be Pitch Black to me.."
Taut, smart, enjoyable filmmaking
Eric J. Pray | 11/14/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hell has surely frozen over. That's the only way to explain how David Twohy, writer-director of the so-bad-it's-hilarious Charlie Sheen skydiving epic "Terminal Velocity," has made a movie this good. It's not high art, but "Pitch Black" is a triumph within its genre: a suspenseful, intelligent monster movie with surprisingly deep characters. A damaged spaceship loaded with cargo and cryo-sleeping passengers crash-lands on an alien world where three suns create perpetual daylight. At first, the survivors think their biggest problem is the vicious convict who's escaped from the wreckage. Then they discover the light-fearing predators lurking beneath the planet's surface. And then comes the total eclipse... "Pitch Black" is a Diesel-powered movie-- Vin Diesel, that is. As the menacing convict Richard P. Riddick, Diesel gives a ferociously intelligent and charismatic performance, backed up by Twohy's surprisingly nuanced script. You'll come to root for Riddick as the movie wears on, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll like him. Radha Mitchell is also fine as the novice pilot Fry, battling inner and outer demons as she tries to hold the survivors together; Cole Hauser does a nice turn as Riddick's captor; and the fine supporting cast includes Keith David as a Muslim cleric (a refreshingly positive portrayal of Islam) and "Farscape"'s always-excellent Claudia Black. "Pitch Black" is an embarrassment of riches for sci-fi fans: characters who continually surprise you, creepy creatures left mostly up to your imagination, and a stripped-down story that moves at a breakneck pace. Perfect popcorn entertainment-- just be sure you don't turn _all_ the lights off before you watch it..."
Eric J. Pray | Upstate New York | 09/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pitch Black was arguably one of the most overlooked films of the early year. Although the setting of the film could seem routine to a casual viewer(space travelers stranded and bickering on a hostile planet infested with alien nasties), director David Twohy's wonderful use of color and stylistic flourishes more than makes up for any trivial complaints.For those of you curious about the film's plot, it deals with a group of marooned space "passengers" who spend the majority of their time searching for a way to evacuate a harsh desert planet. Their efforts are unexpectedly forced to quicken however when they discover a particularly vicious type of nocturnal alien ready to emerge to the planet's surface during an eclipse. Viewers can't help but like the film's villainous hero(played by Vin Diesel of Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room)who brings to memory Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous role as the Terminator. The film looks and sounds great and has more than a few moments of nail-biting tension thrown in for good measure. For Science Fiction fans this is a must-see. And as for the rest of you, try giving this fine movie a chance.You'll thank me when you do."
Pitch Black is a visual masterpiece with a decent plot
Raja Chadni | 06/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With a great casting job and the most excellent cinematography of the year to date, Pitch Black is a movie to see. But here's a warning: rent it on DVD and watch it in Dolby Digital Surround Sound or you won't get the theater feel, and it is necessary to enjoy the full effects. Vin Diesel is simply a bad@#* in Pitch Black, but he isn't so invincible that he gets his way at all times. Radha Mitchell plays a headstrong, stubborn navigator thrust into a role of command, and she plays the part well. But the best thing about this movie is director David Twohy's mastery of the camera. For the first half of the movie, the screen was so bright from the three suns that I needed refills on my drink three times to quench my thirst. Twohy's portrayal of a bleak desert world was impressive and worked well. But when the eclipse came, the movie went from bleak heat to dark fear. Just like that. But the great part about it is that the viewer doesn't consciously recognize the transition. It is a subconscious switch that heightens the apprehension level and sets the heart beating. I can't describe it any better than that, but the movie was worth the $6.50 and will be worth my $20 when it comes out on DVD."