MOVIE REVIEW: “Pitch Black” stars Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill, Man on Fire), Cole Hauser (Good Will Hunting, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious, The Pacifier), Keith David (Platoon, Crash), Lewis Fitz-Gerald (Home and Away [TV series], The Last Man Hanged), Claudia Black (Farscape [TV series], Rango), Rhiana Griffith (Wrong Answer [Short], 15 Amore), Simon Burke (The Devil’s Playground, Rake [TV series]), Les Chantery (Sleeping Beauty , Righteous Kill), Sam Sari, and Firass Dirani (House Husbands [TV series], Killer Elite). It is directed by David Towhy (The Arrival, The Chronicles of Riddick), who also wrote it with Jim Wheat (The Return, After Midnight) and Kevin Wheat (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Lies). When a commercial transport ship crashes on a mysterious planet that never experiences nighttime, the crew and passengers must find a way to survive and escape. However, monsters who thrive in darkness cause the survivors to panic when an eclipse soon approaches, which will force them to confront these beasts head on.
This was made in the year 2000? Well, that’ll explain the visual effects… When it comes to the sci-fi genre, I’m always hungry for films I’ve never seen. You all have probably read my discussion on my love for the genre before, so I’ll spare you the details. I received “Pitch Black” on my birthday months ago and it’s taken me a long time to see it. Was I itching to get my Vin Diesel fix? No. I knew what I was walking into, taking into consideration how the Riddick releases aren’t highly praised. However, I knew nothing about the story, so I was interesting in diving into the unknown. What I came out with was something more or less entertaining. The concept of this film pulls from a handful of others. I see remnants of “Alien” and any story that focuses on fighting monsters with light, but fortunately for me, this doesn’t try too hard to be like one of those films. In many ways, this movie is intriguing to watch, mainly for its action and idea. The opening of this flick was actually really good, with a weird, but observant narration taken by Riddick himself, who is locked away aboard a space ship, taking him to prison. The conflicts that grow amongst him and the other characters are what keeps this story together. Most of them will do anything to escape, while others stay reclusive, holding secrets that is viewers want to unlock. I thought the acting was fairly good in this. Diesel turned in a solid performance as well as Radha Mitchell, who was essentially the lead of this film. Their occasional batting heads provide good writing for this thriller, and it’s hard to come by a well-written female lead in a sci-fi release. As for the rest of the characters, they were good in pushing the plot along. They were, of course, predictable in which would be killed off next (yes, there are deaths). The usual targeting of this killing became so absurd at one point that I laughed at how the writers spared the figures they clearly needed to develop more, leaving the ones that don’t really talk to rot. It’s a point A to point B then back to point A tale, with destruction laden on the journey. Some would think of this as tiresome, but thankfully there is enough meat to both the characters and the danger for this to breathe. I took enjoyment out of watching this and I’m sure that any fan of sci-fi would too, but there are clearly issues that keep this from reaching its full potential. The first would be the special effects. My gosh, I usually try to be lenient with an older film’s visuals, being as how they didn’t have many of the resources we have now, but this is unforgivable. This movie’s production took place around the time CGI was getting big, and so whenever a few years would pass, it would get outdated (just look at the Star Wars prequels). “Pitch Black” had some of the most outdated visuals that I have seen. It wasn’t complete garbage, but I couldn’t let it slide either. The monsters looked like they were still in the rough stages of animating, and it can take away from the thrills of the story at hand. Secondly, the editing of this was incredibly odd. I’m all for color tones and unique ways of cutting a movie, but this was too much for me. There is such a thing as over-editing in the film business, and this release exhibits this. Many cuts will be hard or jagged, using choppy slow motion frequently. The color tones of the sky, while cool at times, can become a bit too obnoxious and over-colored. This in turn makes the movie feel juvenile, and less professional in terms of how a brilliant film is edited. Finally, the last thing holding this back are certain aspects of the story. There were times in this movie where it got weird, and I never knew why. On top of that, it wasn’t as gripping as I would’ve wanted it. Sure, the thrills could hype anyone with our characters trying to survive, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, and I believe that is what the filmmakers were shooting for. Overall, I thought that this was a fairly good sci-fi feature, full of many things I though to be entertaining, including an interesting idea. However, many technical issues hold his back from becoming something of a classic. FINAL SCORE: 79%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: