Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MR The Chronicles of Riddick

Fight Evil With Evil.
Riddick is back in another review! (and soon on theaters!)

Don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what's in the dark of these reviews:

Movie: The Chronicles of Riddick
Directed by David Twohy
Release date 2004
Genre Scifi/space opera
Country USA

A couple years after Pitch Black, David Twohy and Vin Diesel were back with another adventure for Riddick.

Only this time the film was entirely written by Twohy specifically for Diesel in mind.

With a much bigger budget courtesy from Universal Studios, the scope was changed so was the entire genre of the "sequel".

If the first one was a horror/drama survival story, this second Riddick film was more of an epic-scale space opera blockbuster. No more character driven drama, the roles were simplified (almost stereotypical) so was the plot.

The Chronicles of Riddick were to be a really different product.

The story takes place about 5 years after the escape from Pitch Black's desert planet.

We find Richard B. Riddick still tracked by bounty hunters.

Riddick steals the mercenary Toombs' spaceship and decides to track where the current bounty on his head comes from. Leading him from Planet U.V to the New Mecca in the Helion System.

There, Riddick is reunited with another Pitch Black's survivor, Imam.

Imam found out Riddick was the last Furyan, a mysterious race of warriors across the universe. When suddenly an invasion of planet Helion Prime by a religious fanatic alien race put a stop to all this.

It's the Necromongers empire!

They are here to convert humans and kill all resistance all around the galaxy!

They kill Imam and the supreme Lord Marshal has Riddick scanned. When they also put together Riddick's a Furyan, Lord Marshal asks for his death immediately!

But Riddick escapes and allows himself to be captured by Toombs.

Riddick ends up in the prison-planet of Crematoria. There he finds Jack - also from Pitch Black. Who goes now by the name of Kyra. She acts all like a wannabe Riddick-lite. And it's all because of him, because he abandoned her after the first film (to save her from the constant hunting and running away from trouble). But because of him, because he allowed to be close to someone for the first time, she ended up joining a mercenary gang, getting enslaved and finding herself imprisoned in the worst place on Earth Space.

Since everything's his fault... He tries to make things right and organize a prison break. They escape across Crematoria's volcanic surface. In a reverse-Pitch Black, they have to stay in the darkness to avoid death by the sunrise, the heat rises up to 700 degrees!

They leave the planet but now Commander Vaako from the Necromongers is after Riddick as well.

Riddick disovers he is the prophecized savior that will put a stop to Lord Marshal, the reason why that man had Furya destroyed many years ago. Marshal feared the birth of the foretold male child that would put an end to the Necromongers' reign some day...

It's a a completely other genre after the small-scale horror thriller of Pitch Black. It's huge epic space opera battle for the universe (no less, obviously!). In a way it's like going from Alien to Star Wars in the same series of films.

In a way, it's also losing the originality for a more conventional big motion picture.

Yet it still shares the same basis as Pitch Black at its core. Like the same kind of unusual characters unlike anything you're used to see in big budget films, no one's a true hero, everyone's kind of a villain of sorts. Although Riddick's more of an antisocial hero than the involuntary anti-hero from the first film now.

Vin Diesel is back as Riddick, and still very much the same impressive badass. Sadly  Rhiana Griffith isn't back as Jack/Kyra, the studio wanted someone "sexier" (and I quote) so they got Alexa Davalos taking over the character instead. She was ok in her Riddick-ysh take on Jack but it's too bad we couldn't have a continuation of the character by the same actress. And joining our main characters is a pretty good Karl Urban as Vaako.

Graeme Revell is still scoring the film, albeit in a different tone. More epic, as you'd imagine, broader, louder and more spectacular. Fitting.

Riddick was such an original character who had absolutely no motivations beyond surviving the day in Pitch Black.

His past is still unknown, so that's great. We continue to have no idea if he's a real killer, how did he turn out like that or why, where he comes from, etc. But now we know he's supposedly a "Furyan". It's leaving the mystery for scifi terms.

The film does ditch the realism of the first one for a more conventional big epic scifi backdrop.

But sometimes it all feels too much. It's a case of "too much". Our Riddick is still antisocial and apathetic... yet he ends up saving the universe?

At least there's some great lengthy ways he goes to do the exact opposite a true hero would, like going to  save Kyra and letting himself captured instead of facing the villains right away.

"Keep what you kill". The movie ends on an ambiguous note, fading to black and leaving us to wonder how a sequel would look like or even be possible.... can't wait for it!

Overall, it's a decent film. Certainly more convulsed, confusing and louder than it needed to be.

It tries to be more epic than it really was supposed to.

Then again, Riddick was always supposed to be this Space Conan, so, yeah.

It's not a bad sequel nor a bad science-fiction film per say... it just leaves a lot to be desired compared to any other space scifi film out there... Mostly when you just compare it to the fantastic Pitch Black that came before.

There's several cuts of the film, from the PG13 and to the unrated Director's Cut, as well as an alternate TV version. The Director's Cut is the best place to start. 

The film wasn't that popular and got several negative reviews at the time. I think it's not that bad personally, it certainly deserve a more neutral reception. It made quite a lot of money at the end of the day, internationally and on home releases. Which warranted a re-branding of the prequel under the title of The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black as well as several other multi-media spinoffs. All taking place before the cliffhanger ending of the film, from videogames to an animated film!

I give it:
1.5 / 3 UFOs!

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