The Screen Room
Pitch Black (2000)
I love re-watching films! Mrs Screen Room Movie Podcast doesn’t however, unless of course it’s Independence Day (1996) for the trillionth time or anything starring The Rock or Ryan Reynolds (unless it’s Deadpool). 😳
For this reason I’ve started to save films she’s not fussed about watching for when I’m on a late shift where I get a bit more “me time”.
Last night I watched a film that she’s not much of a fan of but that I love and haven’t seen for ages!
Pitch Black (2000)
If you haven’t seen it, it’s an excellent action/sci-fi/horror starring Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious), Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill), Cole Hauser (Good Will Hunting) and Keith David (The Thing) among others.
This is what’s it’s about according to IMDb:
A deep space transporter ship crash-lands on a desolate planet inhabited by nocturnal carnivorous creatures. Among the survivors are pilot Carolyn Fry (Mitchell), cop William J. Johns (Hauser) and convicted criminal Richard B. Riddick (Diesel).
Although three suns circle the planet, keeping it in perpetual daylight, Fry soon discovers that a month-long eclipse is about to occur, leaving them at the mercy of the planet’s bloodthirsty inhabitants.
Other than The Iron Giant (1999), this is the film that set Vin Diesel on the path to Hollywood stardom. Yes, believe it or not, he was in films before The Fast and the Furious franchise was a thing!
There are actually three of these films with a fourth on the way. The second is called The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and had a bigger budget than this one and the third put together. It also has a strong cast featuring the likes of Judi Dench (Skyfall), Colm Feore (Thor), Thandiwe Newton (Crash) and Karl Urban (Dredd). The third is simply called Riddick (2013). The upcoming sequel is reportedly entitled, “Furya” (the name of Riddick’s home planet).
In my honest opinion the third film is the best, but this one comes in a close second.
Although some of the CGI is a bit dated now the strength of the story still makes this film highly enjoyable.
It got criticised on release for not exploring the characters more, but who cares about the characters’ back stories when A) Most of them are going to die anyway, B) You’ve got a dangerous convict who can see in the dark, and C) Nocturnal flesh eating aliens?! Critics!! 🤦🏻♂️
As it happens this is one of the few Vin Diesel films I like. The character of Riddick, although technically the bad guy is a good character and Vin Diesel plays him really well.
For the most part it has a small cast which despite what the critics said helps things move along at a decent pace, allowing the story to concentrate on the only few characters that really matter.
The film feels kind of low budget at times and has an almost “indie” feel to it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I think along with a couple of other things is what makes the movie feel so original.
One of of those “other things” is how a lot of the colour is pulled out for some scenes giving the film a sort of monochrome look. This is to get across the feeling that the characters are indeed on a different planet with three different coloured suns. It might not be for everyone but I think it’s kind of cool. It’s a relief when the colour returns to normal though.
This is a great and underrated sci-fi/horror with a simple but effective story and an interesting anti-hero who’s story only just begins with this film.
If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend binge watching the trilogy. Also, if like me you’re not a fan of The Fast and Furious franchise, fear not. This is from a time before all that “family” crap and in my opinion is Vin Diesel’s best role to date.
Seen it? Let me know what you think. 👇