Mid-Week Movie with a Friend – Pitch Black

Thanks for having me on the show, Tory!

All we need is that Merv Griffin set Kramer had in his apartment (TM – hehe, that probably works as a reference for most. I refused (and still refuse) to watch Seinfeld). Remind me to look through the trash outside my brownstone.

Riddick is inaugural-movie-review-post worthy. He is the reason I subscribed to this blog (Awww, and here I thought it was just for me and my eye-lash batting at you). Now I get to hang out and talk about the other “Chronicles” of Riddick.


Pitch Black is the first full-length installment of the Riddick series and I saw it last. When Pitch came out, it got mixed reviews. That’s not why I waited fourteen years to see it.

It was just not on my radar back then. (I know what you mean. I remember the commercials, but only because of a VERY weird dream that I still remember, dealing with having to be out during the day on a planet similar to the one in the movie.)

Critics were hung up on the plot of this movie–hackneyed and tired, they said. We’ve already had the intergalactic version of the USS Minnow crash on a distant planet, they said. We’ve already seen its payload, they cried–a diverse collection of folks who have to survive its inhospitable surface, plus one dangerous dude who escapes and later saves everyone from the savage alien lifeforms that appear. At Night.

Yes, we’ve already seen this storyline and the criminal turned hero. Nevertheless, I destroyed twenty newly installed acrylic nails watching it. (not really–but my own nails came out worse for wear.)

And that’s all I’m going to say about the actual movie. Go watch it.

However, I will address the plot device of the anti-hero. VERY difficult to pull off (Agreed, but yet the villainous heroes can be the most fun! I love dark ones like that). Why do screenwriters attempt it? Because we’ve seen (a billion times) heroes and heroines who are unbelievably amazing and can Kung-fu grip anybody. Talk about hackneyed.

Pitch Black takes a chance and employs the unemployable. Even better, the movie lets him drive the plot. No wonder Vin Diesel believes in this character and this series.

Sci-fi is a hothouse of external plot craziness and Riddick is a master-gardener. He’s in control just enough to let us enjoy the contrast between his badness and the horrible things incubating in distant star-systems.

Side note: critics also stumbled over Pitch Black’s seemingly impossible plot points. The triple-sun/eclipse event, for instance. And a lifeform that hibernates in a hostile environment–like–forever.

Multiple stars per planet: Having seen Star Wars (Tatooine), I’ve never questioned this.

Lifeforms with millenia half-lives: are you familiar with the life cyle of spores? The fact that the prion which causes mad-cow disease can survive the surface temperature of a star? Well, almost–it can survive my microwave oven, I’m told.

You get my point.

Next time–the Chronicles of Riddick and a great example of fresh world-building that is deceptively simple and yet oh, so very complex.

Angelyn blogs about history and romance. Fall in love with both at www.angelynschmid.com.



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