Riddick: A Wasted Opportunity

Original Poster
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11186
Pitch Black was a great little low-budget action-horror film. It was a story of redemption of two characters. Fry redeems herself from her cowardice at the beginning of the film. Riddick rejoins the human race. At the very end of the film when Abu asks what they should say if they ask about Riddick, the response is the period at the end of a filmic sentence that states a character arc: "Tell them Riddick's dead. He died somewhere on that planet."

And then Twohy decided he was J.R.R. Tolkien. He presented a mystery box to investors. He promised a super fantasy franchise, but stated they would not get to read a word of it until they invested. Well, someone obviously liked the pitch and we went from Pitch Black to Chronicles of Ridiculousness. They rolled back the character development. They gave Riddick the equivalent of Midichlorians (i.e., narrative AIDS) by revealing that he was from the race of Furyians (a name worthy of Lucas who gave us whoppers like "Sleezebaggano") and that his eyes were genetically shiny. No longer a broken anti-hero with a cheap prison eye-job, now he was re-Christened as a hero from a race of bad-asses. Everything that was engaging and /i]intelligent about Pitch Black had now been dumbed down to Fast and Furious levels. Hmm, maybe they can do a cross-over for the next film. The Fast and the Furyians.

Here's how I would have done the sequel.

Keep it small. You have three characters left at the end of Pitch Black, Riddick, Abu, and Jack. Work with them. When we last we saw them Riddick at the end of Pitch Black Vin was where we always met Bruce Lee at the beginning of his films - reformed and committed to staying that way. The reluctant hero thing works well-enough. We could watch Riddick struggle as bad guys keep pushing him back into murder-mode.

I'd go with a different option, however. I'd show Riddick with PTSD and remorse over his former life, someone really damaged and struggling to maintain. I'd put him and Jack and Abu in a village on some backwoods planet where they would work to shield him, as best they could, from society before they were all to split and go their separate ways as soon as they could afford to pay to get on a transport.

The bad guys show up. They have to. And Abu gets it. DEAD. Jack lies to Riddick and tells him that Abu lit out on the last transport--she knows he would would go on a rampage and become the thing he left behind and the planet with the night creatures. She takes it upon herself to get revenge. She's learned a thing or two from Riddick. She kills the "obviously bad baddies," but seems to have improbable luck at some moments. Later, it is revealed that Riddick was in the shadows helping her all along. Jack faces the big bad, starts losing badly, and Riddick exits the shadows to fight him. They fight. Riddick wins. Riddick lets him go.

Riddick has a heart-to-heart with Jack about the road she is on and where it is leading. Jack doesn't listen and screams at him for letting Abu's murderer go. She takes off after Big Bad and goes Full On Anakin. She kills his friends and associates to draw him out. She's a competent killer now. She's good a it and she likes it. Big Bad stays hidden. Jack finds his family. She moves in to kill them and Riddick intervenes. They fight and then argue. Jack wants revenge and she won't let Riddick stop her. She's different now, she says. She doesn't need him anymore. She will stop at nothing. Riddick say "I know" and kills her before she can slay the family.

Riddick decides that he should have died on the planet of the creatures and steals a shuttle to return there.

Or maybe not. But Chronicles was the great waste of potential. It didn't need to be big and dumb and fantastic. It needed character and a premise that fit with its character. We have to care about the people on the screen and we need to be invested in the world the live in. Planets named "Crematoria" and baddies who rule the "Underverse" (in their Underoos?) jacked up the fantasy to 11 without giving us a reason to care don't do that.

Another film of Twohy's that is small and compact and fun is Below. Similar in some ways to Pitch Black. Twohy is at his best with stories about characters whose arc is defined/revealed in the gauntlet of the action. He's better with confined spaces than the open landscape of full on fantasy.




May 18, 2017 6:24 PM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 3825
Watching the sequels, I can't help but to feel that Diesel wants to make a Warhammer 40K film so much his dick gets hard, without paying Games Workshop or whomever for the rights. I hope he gets cast in Dungeons & Dragons as a Kender.
May 18, 2017 6:37 PM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 19000
I'm not a fan either. The first image that comes to mind when I remember it is Colm Feore as the main bad guy. Sure, he's a great character actor, but trying to take him seriously as the big bad is akin to taking Rick Moranis seriously as Dark Helmet.
May 18, 2017 6:38 PM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11186
The big bad confused me in Chronicles. I kept asking myself if that was MIchael Gross (Family Ties, Tremors).

A Warhammer movie could be great. I like the theory that Event Horizon was humanity's first disastrous intrusion into the warp.
May 18, 2017 6:50 PM
0 0
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 3731
I thought it was an adequately entertaining sequel that had an incredibly strong first act with somewhat diminishing returns when it turned into Rio Bravo with aliens. There were a few strong character moments, particularly with Bronson look-a-like Matt Nable as Johns father. I thought that was a nice tip of the hat to the original. Honestly, though, the strongest entries in the series belong to the video games. Starbreeze Studios, which have gone on to make other seminal classics, redefined the FPS Action/Adventure hybrid as we know it today.

The story was uniquely strong as "prequels" go, and the voice acting from the likes of Ron Perlman and Michael Rooker were the best of its ilk in non FMV form. I actually wouldn't mind Diesel adapting Butcher Bay to film. Futuristic prison films only have a small cult like following, but I think it could prove to be a pretty damn entertaining entry into the film series.

Edit: I didn't read the entire OP. Most of it was related to Chronicles of Riddick. I sort of agree that the expansion of the lore with the Underverse turned out to be too lofty and silly for this type of genre exercise. People want to watch a badass from the future kick some alien ass. No need to make it overly convoluted.
May 18, 2017 6:52 PM
0 0
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 10689
The YARNING
And then Twohy decided he was J.R.R. Tolkien. He presented a mystery box to investors. He promised a super fantasy franchise, but stated they would not get to read a word of it until they invested. Well, someone obviously liked the pitch and we went from Pitch Black to Chronicles of Ridiculousness. They rolled back the character development. They gave Riddick the equivalent of Midichlorians (i.e., narrative AIDS) by revealing that he was from the race of Furyians (a name worthy of Lucas who gave us whoppers like "Sleezebaggano") and that his eyes were genetically shiny. No longer a broken anti-hero with a cheap prison eye-job, now he was re-Christened as a hero from a race of bad-asses. Everything that was engaging and /i]intelligent about Pitch Black had now been dumbed down to Fast and Furious levels. Hmm, maybe they can do a cross-over for the next film. The Fast and the Furyians.

Chronicles of Riddick has far more in common with Conan the Barbarian than anything Tolkien created. Also it's great fun, and better than Pitch Black which is nothing more than a mediocre Planet of the Vampires/Aliens rehash.
May 18, 2017 9:31 PM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11186
Special Agent Cooper
The YARNING
And then Twohy decided he was J.R.R. Tolkien. He presented a mystery box to investors. He promised a super fantasy franchise, but stated they would not get to read a word of it until they invested. Well, someone obviously liked the pitch and we went from Pitch Black to Chronicles of Ridiculousness. They rolled back the character development. They gave Riddick the equivalent of Midichlorians (i.e., narrative AIDS) by revealing that he was from the race of Furyians (a name worthy of Lucas who gave us whoppers like "Sleezebaggano") and that his eyes were genetically shiny. No longer a broken anti-hero with a cheap prison eye-job, now he was re-Christened as a hero from a race of bad-asses. Everything that was engaging and /i]intelligent about Pitch Black had now been dumbed down to Fast and Furious levels. Hmm, maybe they can do a cross-over for the next film. The Fast and the Furyians.

Chronicles of Riddick has far more in common with Conan the Barbarian than anything Tolkien created. Also it's great fun, and better than Pitch Black which is nothing more than a mediocre Planet of the Vampires/Aliens rehash.

Pitch Black is head and shoulders above Chronicles.

Pitch Black actually has a point. Pitch Black has a nice reversal with Johns (the cop who turns out to be a merc who turn our to be a jerk) and Riddick (the cold-blooded killer who subtly shifts into anti-hero), not an overblown "twist," but a nice re-framing of both characters about halfway through. The only thing dodgy about Pitch Black is the FX work, but it was a low-budget movie. The ONLY thing Chronicles has going for it is a big budget.?

Chronicles is not great fun. Conan the Barbarian is Shakespeare compared to Chronicles. Chronicles is just dumb. Not fun-dumb, dumb-dumb. Crematoria. Sure. Necromongers. sure. FURYians. Sure. "I sense energy. Furyian energy!"

If you liked it, great. Some people like truck stop hookers, but most people have the common decency not to admit it.
May 18, 2017 11:44 PM
0 0
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 10689
The YARNING
Pitch Black is head and shoulders above Chronicles.

Pitch Black actually has a point. Pitch Black has a nice reversal with Johns (the cop who turns out to be a merc who turn our to be a jerk) and Riddick (the cold-blooded killer who subtly shifts into anti-hero), not an overblown "twist," but a nice re-framing of both characters about halfway through. The only thing dodgy about Pitch Black is the FX work, but it was a low-budget movie. The ONLY thing Chronicles has going for it is a big budget.?

Chronicles is not great fun. Conan the Barbarian is Shakespeare compared to Chronicles. Chronicles is just dumb. Not fun-dumb, dumb-dumb. Crematoria. Sure. Necromongers. sure. FURYians. Sure. "I sense energy. Furyian energy!"

If you liked it, great. Some people like truck stop hookers, but most people have the common decency not to admit it.

So your point is that Pitch Black is better because it has a character that that goes from hero to villain and vice-versa? That's it?

Chronicles is indeed great fun, the sets and special effects and fight choreography are excellent. It is dumb-fun of the highest order. It's utter lack of self-awareness only adds to the enjoyment. It's Conan in Space. If you like Conan, you'll like Chronicles of Riddick. If not, go fuck yourself. Its only flaw is the Pg-13 rating.

As for Truck Stop Hookers, never heard of it, but I love the movie Truck Stop Women, it's a classic Drive-In Feature.





May 19, 2017 1:17 AM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11186
Special Agent Cooper
The YARNING
Pitch Black is head and shoulders above Chronicles.

Pitch Black actually has a point. Pitch Black has a nice reversal with Johns (the cop who turns out to be a merc who turn our to be a jerk) and Riddick (the cold-blooded killer who subtly shifts into anti-hero), not an overblown "twist," but a nice re-framing of both characters about halfway through. The only thing dodgy about Pitch Black is the FX work, but it was a low-budget movie. The ONLY thing Chronicles has going for it is a big budget.?

Chronicles is not great fun. Conan the Barbarian is Shakespeare compared to Chronicles. Chronicles is just dumb. Not fun-dumb, dumb-dumb. Crematoria. Sure. Necromongers. sure. FURYians. Sure. "I sense energy. Furyian energy!"

If you liked it, great. Some people like truck stop hookers, but most people have the common decency not to admit it.

So your point is that Pitch Black is better because it has a character that that goes from hero to villain and vice-versa? That's it?

Chronicles is indeed great fun, the sets and special effects and fight choreography are excellent. It is dumb-fun of the highest order. It's utter lack of self-awareness only adds to the enjoyment. It's Conan in Space. If you like Conan, you'll like Chronicles of Riddick. If not, go fuck yourself. Its only flaw is the Pg-13 rating.

As for Truck Stop Hookers, never heard of it, but I love the movie Truck Stop Women, it's a classic Drive-In Feature.






It has three characters that have a developmental arc (growth) or arc of revelation (not what we initially thought they were). Johns is the hero revealed to be a villain. Fry is a coward galvanized into a hero. Riddick is a villain reluctantly humanized into an anti-hero. All three arcs answer a question - What would you do to survive? Johns is a pure instrumentalist serving his self-interest. Fry begins in the same spot, but ends as a self-sacrificing altruist. Riddick is an instrumentalist, but he has he good of the group in mind too. He flirts with (and menaces) Fry's altruism almost as a science experiment, testing humanity.?

I love Conan, but Riddick can go fuck himself.

As for Truckstop Hookers, I was being literal. Some people actually go to truckstops and pay for hookers. The joke was that Chronicles is a very guilty pleasure.

May 19, 2017 2:19 AM
0 0
MKS
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 46492
Chronicles of Riddick didn't retcon his eyes. It's still a shine job at a prison. The origin of this is explicitly explained and shown in the canon videogame Escape from Butcher Bay, which is superior to both Pitch Black and CoR. CoR nearly explained his heightened sense of hearing and smell as being Furyian.

CoR is an ambitious failure but it's the kind that I find easy to like. I loved Pitch Black far more growing up but upon a recent rewatch, I noticed how terribly edited it is. It is the more narratively strong project but it's sloppier in execution. Still the better overall project.

Riddick is worth mentioning. It's a step back in the right direction for the character and has quite a few cool moments in it but the boy and his dog stuff along with the nature of the creatures knee cap it and keep it from being too good. It's still a fitting and comparable entry in the franchise.
May 19, 2017 2:50 AM
0 0
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 436
Special Agent CooperChronicles is indeed great fun, the sets and special effects and fight choreography are excellent. It is dumb-fun of the highest order. It's utter lack of self-awareness only adds to the enjoyment. It's Conan in Space. If you like Conan, you'll like Chronicles of Riddick. If not, go fuck yourself. Its only flaw is the Pg-13 rating.

Yup, that's what I've always said about the movie as well. It's a Conan movie in space. And the second best Conan movie at that, though admittedly that's not saying much ;) It's my favorite of the Riddick movies, though. Of course, Pitch Black and the animated one aren't far behind. The most recent one, eh, it just felt like it was trying to rehash Pitch Black, rather than covering new ground. The worst of the lot by far, as you might just as well re-watch the superior Pitch Black instead.

That said, I'd have to disagree somewhat on the fight choreography, at least for the final fight on the prison planet. It's just cut, cut, cut, cut, and cut some more, giving one very little ability to actually follow the action. Take some notes from martial arts movies, directors.
May 19, 2017 2:12 PM
0 0
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 34
I adore CoR. I like it better than Pitch Black although I do like them both.?

I keep hoping all these fast and furious films are going to finance his completion of the Riddick character. He goes to save Jack in the multiverse.

It is a wasted opportunity only if Vin cannot accomplish that.
May 19, 2017 4:32 PM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 6854
I know it gets said (usually by me) every time CoR is brought up but the director's cut of CoR is practically a different movie, and is actually really good. It's still b-movie shlock, of course. But it's interesting and fun shlock. The theatrical cut of CoR is like watching a hard-R horror film on a broadcast T.V.. If you dislike CoR and haven't seen the DC you should give it a go.
May 20, 2017 3:32 AM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11186
Matthew Good... BandI know it gets said (usually by me) every time CoR is brought up but the director's cut of CoR is practically a different movie, and is actually really good. It's still b-movie shlock, of course. But it's interesting and fun shlock. The theatrical cut of CoR is like watching a hard-R horror film on a broadcast T.V.. If you dislike CoR and haven't seen the DC you should give it a go.

I don't trust you? Matthew.
May 20, 2017 5:59 AM
0 0