Despite it being a terribly average movie, Pitch Black has one of my favourite concepts and worlds for a genre movie. The ideas and design are so potent that I can’t help but revisit it every now and again. My recent rewatch inspired me to finally go against every bit of advice I’ve ever heard and actually progress to the sequel The Chronicles of Riddick (mainly because I’ve heard some pretty good stuff about Riddick and figured I might as well get completely up to date now or never).
Expansive and huge where Pitch Black is claustrophobic and focused, The Chronicles of Riddick tries to transform Diesel’s titular hero into a modern day sci-fi icon worthy of the space opera treatment. It goes without saying this is a dumb, dumb idea. Promoted from angsty anti-hero dwelling in the shadows to swashbuckling protagonist, Diesel’s talents are spread way too thinly. He often works best in small doses or offset by a large ensemble of co-stars. Otherwise, as this movie proves, he can be a bore. I will say that I admire Twohy’s commitment to creating a wholly original world and civilisation – that ambition is carried over from Pitch Black at least – but everything is just so fucking boring. It also doesn’t help that the 2004-era CGI has aged worse than some PS2 cut scenes.
I watched this just over a week ago but already I’m struggling to remember anything other than the amber and black colour scheme or Thandie Newton being especially easy on the eyes. Despite the abundance of weird side-characters and lavish design work on show, everything just blurs together into a big expensive mess of a movie. The dialogue and plot is just bad. Everything is almost completely misjudged. The transition from Pitch Black‘s horror territory into nutball space fantasy is just too big a landing to stick. I’m glad they decided to strip things back somewhat for the next instalment. Let’s hope it’s the Pitch Black sequel this should have been. Watch this space.
Watched on blu-ray.