Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Another Movie Review

Chronicles of Riddick - First of all: The original Pitch Black was a pretty pedestrian sci-fi/horror Aliens rip-off, but it had one redeeming feature: At the point where the "anti-hero" is supposed to suddenly demonstrate that he's really a rogue-with-a-heart-of-gold by risking his own life to save someone else, he doesn't.

To some degree, this sequel compromises that, by having Riddick apparently care about people other than himself, to whatever limited extent. Having said that, this is otherwise a perfectly servicable epic science fiction film, and I really don't understand why it seems to be so widely disliked. Granted, it's not 2001, but there are some beautiful shots, and some well-choreographed action scenes, and some not-completely-generic characters to watch. I enjoyed it, personally. Even the science is mostly non-absurd. The biggest criticism I can come up with is that it doesn't make much sense for the evil conquering empire to allow a single merc ship to come to the surface of the planet they're conquering, take a prisoner, and then leave to travel to another system. But that's a single awkward plot point in a two-hour film, which I would say is probably better than average.

It seems vaguely reminiscent of Dune in some ways, perhaps because of the combination of an emphasis on religious beliefs and a production design that looks an awful lot like some of the H. R. Giger designs for the Dune movie that was never made. I can think of a lot worse properties a movie could be somewhat reminding me of.

Also, I watched the PG-13 theatrical cut. There is apparently a "director's cut" on DVD that's even better in most ways.

1 comment:

Thaa Reverend said...

I ended up liking the movie a lot more that I thought I would going into it. I saw the Director's Cut version. The movie had some really nice touches like their method for FTL communication. And the Elementals... why weren't they explained more? What a waste of talent to have landed Dench for the role and then do so little with her.

I agree that it had an epic feel and a Giger look. Some of the fights were mindless fun and there were some plot holes but I'd definitely watch it again with folks who hadn't seen it yet to get their input.