The Chronicles of Riddick
Dark Fury

Starring: Vin Diesel (Voice)
Universal Pictures
RRP: 12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 16 August 2004

Riddick, Jack and holy man Imam are the sole survivors of the events which took place in
Pitch Black. Now they find themselves intercepted by a mercenary ship. After a brief fight the three are captured and brought before the Lady Chillingsworth, a fanatic collector. She has hundreds of bodies in a state of suspended paralysis, all set in different positions like works of art. All of them are killers, and she wants Riddick as the main exhibit. However, she never sees the individuals in action, so cannot resist putting Riddick and the two others in an arena to fight a couple of tentacled aliens. Escaping after a surprise victory, the trio are hunted by everything the Lady Chillingsworth has in her force. One such fighter is her number two. Has Riddick met his match?...

The idea of Dark Fury is to cash in on... I mean, bridge the gap between Pitch Black and the new live action feature The Chronicles of Riddick, in terms of characterisation and continuity. This is achieved by means of a rather short animated film which mixes the techniques of computer imagery for spacecraft and backgrounds with the traditional hand-drawn style for the characters. It has the overall effect of a below average Japanese Manga.

David Twohy and the film company Universal have wasted no time here in jumping on The Matrix bandwagon by turning Pitch Black, or more precisely the character of Riddick, into a franchise. However, whilst The Animatrix was a first class collection of original shorts showcasing the various talents of writers and animators, Dark Fury merely comes across as a convenient excuse to advertise the new computer game and new movie, as well as whatever else they can think of to promote.

The story itself is a basic run-around, with nothing really being done with the potentially exciting concept of a collector of killers. Although the actors from Pitch Black provide the voices for the main players, nothing is pushed in the way of characterisation. Aside from Jack killing for the first time, the trio simply go through the (slow) motions. Don't get me wrong; the animation is very good, but the plot is derisory and the 30-something minutes length is an insult to potential film-fan purchasers. It leaves you wondering why they didn't make something better or nothing at all.

Extras include the Making of Dark Fury, Dark Fury Animatic (watch the film in rough images/storyboards/sketches etc.), Peter Chung - Into the Mind of the Animator, A View into the Light (brief talks about the new movie), Escape From Butcher Bay games trailer, and a trailer for the animated Van Helsing film. This may sound a lot, but aside from the animatic it all amounts to a handful of minutes. The truth is I feel cheated, and I'm certain many others will feel similarly.

Ty Power

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