Monday, June 14, 2004

Movie Review: Chronicles of Riddick

Back when Pitch Black was originally released in 2000, I remember thinking that the previews looked interesting. The only clip they showed was of a man spitting alcohol through a lighter flame revealing a mass of creatures surrounding him. As intrigued as I was, though, this wasn't the kind of movie my wife liked to see so we didn't make the journey to the theater. When it later appeared on DVD, I couldn't help but rent it remembering the interesting trailers of its theatrical release. In a time of retreads, sequels, and prequels, Pitch Black stood out as something original with an unusual look, intriguing characters, and interesting twists. A couple of weeks later, I owned the DVD and still enjoy watching it today.

When I first heard the news of a Pitch Black sequel, I was quite surprised. As the trailers displayed, this wasn't as much of a sequel as it was a spin-off of the Riddick character. Either way, I knew I would be going to see this one at the theater, and I finally got my chance to see it at a matinee this morning.

Where Pitch Black blurred the lines between Science Fiction and Horror genres much like Alien, the Chronicles of Riddick comes in as pure Science Fiction. The main characters of Pitch Black, the creatures, make no appearance in the Chronicles of Riddick. Instead, this movie looks at what happened to the 3 survivors of Pitch Black and introduces us to a larger part of the Pitch Black universe.

Even though I miss the creatures from Pitch Black, it certainly didn't make sense to craft a sequel featuring Riddick returning to the same planet and fighting the same creatures. Instead, the writers imagined new worlds and a backwater for the Riddick character while at the same time incorporating minor details Pitch Black fans will find interesting.

Much like Pitch Black, this work has originality, an unusual look, intriguing characters, and interesting twists. At the highest level, Chronicles of Riddick plays as a hero film with an end of the world theme. Delve deeper and you find a reluctant anti-hero motivated more by vengeance than good. The planets introduced in the film are each spectacular in their own way, one ice, one fire, and one earth-like. The intricate computer graphics make up for the loss of the Pitch Black creatures. Riddick continues much as he left off in Pitch Black, but Jack from Pitch Black (now Kira), Lord Marshal, Vaako, and Dame Vaako provide the intrigue this time. And while the story ties itself up well, the twist at the end of Chronicles of Riddick promises an interesting sequel.

If you're a Science Fiction fan, I highly recommend The Chronicles of Riddick. If you're a critic who likes to over-analyze movies, keep on moving...nothing to see here. Let us have our fun and live in peace. Quit trying to ruin what movies are really about...entertainment.



At 7:01 AM, Blogger Chus said...

Here's a great rundown!: The Chronicles of Riddick


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