I had considered trying to do all the Riddick movies in one post. There could really be an exploration of where things went wrong, but as I got further into these I discovered more and more material… Enough to justify a full round of franchise Focus.
Riddick begins with Pitch Black… A story that fails to even bear his name. Pitch black is a straightforward tale, shipwreck in space, marooned on a world with a bunch of nasty predators. Straightforward, but they manage to pull this off brilliantly with a cast of characters that you can’t help but cheer for, and a villain that you almost want to root for. Riddick is not the central character here, although he does steal every scene he’s in. This is a straightforward horror film, with some sci-fi elements much in the vein of alien. The creature designs are brilliant, with a frightening sense of realism and just a touch of gore. It manages to push all the right buttons, one in particular is in making the ships ugly! I miss ugly ships, it was one of the big selling points for me with the aliens films. The outsides might be a little shinier, but the insides are full of rust and dirt and grit and chains and leather and it’s just beautiful.
I feel like somebody really cared about this movie. They were trying to tell a story they had a specific tale that they wanted to spin and they created great characters to weave it around. For my money this should have been the next great sci-fi horror, and I’ve always been a little disappointed that it wasn’t. But then again by the time we return to this material we find that the series has changed into something completely different.
More on that next time.