Pitch Black [VHS]
With forty passengers on board, technical problems force the spaceship Hunter-Gratzner to crash land on a distant planet. The passengers were heading for other worlds and only ten have managed to survive, but one of them, Riddick (Vin Diesel), is an armed and dangerous convict determined to take control of events. The planet at first seems barren, with no evidence of water or living creatures, but when the sun sets the survivors discover they have the planet's terrifying nightlife to contend with.
Owing a major debt to Alien and its cinematic spawn, Pitch Black is a guilty pleasure that surpasses expectations. As he did with The Arrival, director David Twohy revitalises a derivative story, allowing you to forgive its flaws and submit to its visceral thrills. Under casual scrutiny, the plot's logic crumbles like a stale cookie, but it's definitely fun while it lasts. A spaceship crashes on a desert planet scorched under three suns. The mostly doomed survivors include a resourceful captain (Radha Mitchell), a drug-addled cop (Cole Hauser), and a deadly prisoner (Vin Diesel) who quickly escapes. These clashing personalities discover that the planet is plunging into the darkness of an extended eclipse, and it's populated by hordes of ravenous, razor-fanged beasties that only come out at night. The body count rises, and Pitch Black settles into familiar sci-fi territory.
What sets the movie apart is Twohy's developing visual style, suggesting that this veteran of B-movie schlock may advance to the big leagues. Like the makers of The Blair Witch Project, Twohy understands the frightening power of suggestion; his hungry monsters are better heard than seen (although once seen, they're chillingly effective), and Pitch Black gets full value from moments of genuine panic. Best of all, Twohy's got a well-matched cast, with Mitchell (so memorable with Ally Sheedy in High Art) and Diesel (Pvt. Caparzo from Saving Private Ryan) being the standouts. The latter makes the most of his muscle-man role, and his character's development is one more reason this movie works better than it should. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
So, imagine my delght when I bought this item, partly to catch up on the story and nature of Vin Diesel's main character, before going to watch the follow up, 'The Chronicles of Riddick'.
Not only is 'Pitch Black' incredibly stylish and aesthetically pleasing - just watch the incredible range of lighting effects - but the characters are charmingly intruiging, if largely archetypal for this type of movie. Yes, it relies heavily on its predecessors, but try making a 'humans stranded on an unknown planet and encountering carnivorous aliens' film that doesn't. The plot roles along nicely, and although it was never going to win any Academy Awards, is juxtaposed nicely with just the right amount of tension and action. Add into that mix a well above average muscle-bound anti-hero portayal from Diesel and you've got a very good movie, especially for the price.
There aren't many extras on this early DVD release - but if you want those you can splash a few extra quid on the Special Edition - but if you're looking for a B Movie type sci-fi horror that breaks the mould in terms of sophistication and performances you need look no further.
When this film first came out, it was a bit of a cult hit that was sort of ignored as far as publicity and advertising went but I loved it all the same. Then came along its sequel, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, which gave this film a boost into the spotlight and is now considered a sci-fi/action classic. Watching it now on Blu Ray, some nine years later from when I originally watched it, I still can't believe how good this film is!Read more ›
I remember getting Pitch Black on US import DVD about 5 weeks before it was due out at the cinema here in the UK (almost a year before the UK DVD release) due to a February cinematic release in the US compared to an October release here , and it was a directors cut no less , but sadly , those days of getting movies weeks before their actual UK cinema release are long gone , as nearly all movies on DVD/Blu-ray in the US are now released at the same time (give or take) as the UK , so I find there is little point buying imports anymore.
This is arguably the film that launched Vin Diesel's career and , with what I thought was an excellent sequel that followed (apparently the critics didn't liked it) , it didn't just rehash the same storyline like so many sequels do , it completely opened up the Riddick universe and was turning out to be an excellent franchise.
As for the most recent instalment in the franchise , its fair to say the story has gone back to the first film , but still enjoyable enough... I'm not a big fan of Vin Diesel movies , but I do like his Riddick franchise which he has made his own and I could quite happily sit and watch all 3 movies in one sitting , and rumour has it , he's signed up to do more.
Visually the Blu-ray transfer is excellent. The scene where Riddick is chained up after the death of Zeke , the detail on his hair (what little there is) is quite remarkable. Even the alien creatures , which looked rather flat on the original DVD , gain incredible detail.Read more ›
When Riddick goes missing the other survivors become nervous due his reputation, but it becomes apparent there is much more to fear when one of the party is eaten alive by a mysterious creature. The creatures weakness appears to be any form of light - which makes the pending eclipse extremely bad news.
This dvd contains special features which will no doubt increase its appeal to fans of the film. It proved to be successful enough to warrant a sequel, 2004's 'The Chronicles of Riddick', however there are certainly better films in the genre (either Alien or Aliens for example). The special effects are ok and this is one of Diesels better performances but the story lacks the necessary depth to be considered a classic. I found it hard to really warm to any of the characters with the exception of Radha Mitchell's (Fry).
I found the film to be entertaining enough but would advise that you watch the film before buying.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this film, i would recommend it, a real twist in the ending, vin diesel is excellent in this filmPublished 1 month ago by Ms. P. Ryan
An excellent and different film. Refreshing in concept and a feast of real acting. Great film, and one of three such.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer