Did they actually intended for this series to be a franchise? Seriously, because this film makes me kind of think that wasn’t the plan. One of the biggest problems with Chronicles of Riddick is that it’s such a drastic departure from Pitch Black. Pitch black is a very small story. The premise is there the danger is all around, but the only people that are going to die are the ones who were shipwrecked. With Chronicles of Riddick the stakes are up to planet destroying, universe killing levels. The necromongers, our villains for this story, are a universal threat. Also, we’re rooting for the bad guy from the last movie.
Already I’m seeing some problems in the formula.
The formula is a big part of the problem here as well, because there isn’t one. Let me rephrase that, if there is a formula… we’ve gone off book and are trying to find a new one. Pitch Black work because it was a smaller story. A narrower focus and a genuinely good idea. This reads more of a by-the-numbers studio film trying to recapture the magic of the previous movie and the result is just a mess.
It’s a shame too because the film is lush. I mean it is beautiful, gaudy, the design is brilliant! I love the Necromonger masks with multiple faces and their shoulder pads with the ornate portraits. The ships are awe inspiring as they land on the worlds they are going to destroy (unless Riddick stops them). And yet the entire film feels vapid – like we’ve put the least possible amount of effort into telling a good story. You see, that’s what Pitch Black really was, just a good story. It’s really why I come back to this question of whether or not they intended to turn this into a franchise because that’s exactly what Chronicles is… and attempt to launch a franchise. They even went as far as to release the animated feature Dark Fury… Sort of a guaranteed trilogy, just in case things fell through.
Things fell through.
I want to like this, it’s just too long and too much of a slog to get through on a regular basis… There’s no rewatchability here, whereas I can view Pitch Black endlessly.
That should have been the end of things, but Vin Diesel had other plans and fought tirelessly to keep this series alive. More on that next later.