Riddick, a dangerous convict, is being transported aboard
a civilian spacecraft to a new location. The craft becomes
damaged by space debris and is forced to crash land on a nearby
planet. The captain and others are killed, leaving Fry and
Johns in charge of a group of survivors. After a run-in with
subterranean creatures, they feel safe in the knowledge that
three suns will bring constant light. However, once every
22 days the suns align behind other astral bodies, creating
sustained complete darkness. At first they hide away inside
a construct left by the previous settlers, wiped-out by the
creatures. But their sources of light cannot last forever.
They need to make the journey to their wrecked craft and carry
the heavy power units to an intact ship left behind by the
vanished people. It seems like a suicide mission, especially
when they have to rely on the multiple murderer, Riddick,
who with unique implants is the only one who can see in the
film borrows from so many sources it's amazing it works at
all, and is not subject to immediate derision. But work it
does. You could say Pitch Black is a construct of so
many ideas that the whole gives the impression it's something
entirely new and original. The dangerous convict being transported
comes from Con Air (a brilliant, purposeful over-the-top satire);
the transported convict being relied upon for help is straight
out of John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 (there's
that name again); and the empty settlement and dark-loving,
ferocious and lightening-quick creatures must have brought
an ironic smile or grimace from James Cameron in regards to
his Aliens masterpiece. Even the views from the planet
surface reminds me of the computer-generated terrain created
for the early Planetary Traveller DVD. But who cares;
nothing is totally original in this day and age.
Black made quite an impact with science fiction fans upon
its cinematic release. In retrospect, the film company has
seized on Vin Diesel's Riddick as the winning element, hence
the Dark Fury and The Chronicles of Riddick
follow-ups. But it is not the man but the look and feel of
the product that wins through. This success is down to a number
of factors: the low-key mood; the over-bright, sun-washed
look of the planet surface; and the manner in which the creatures
are kept mainly to the darkness, so you see more movement
than detail, are just a few examples. A couple of things don't
work. Fry's crisis of conscience is a mite overacted, and
the holy man's faith in God's protection being severely tested
has been portrayed in so many films that it merely induces
a groan from this reviewer now.
Comparing this Special Edition version with the original DVD
release, I found there were not too many differences. The
widescreen and 5.1 sound are the same, the two commentaries
are the same, the Making of Pitch Black is the same,
and the trailers too. What's new is an Introduction by the
director, an early Scene from The Chronicles of Riddick
film, a Trailer for the game Escape From Butcher Bay,
the Making of the Dark Fury animated film, and The
Johns Case Log (computer diaries tracking Riddick).
would need to be a Pitch Black fanatic to buy the DVD
again for what amounts to a handful of minor extras.
you're buying the film for the first time, however, I would
strongly recommend this release.
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