Science fiction and fantasy                                            



The Chronicles of Riddick

a David N. Twohy film

The Chronicles of Riddick poster  
When we first met Riddick in Pitch Black he was an ethically challenged murderer scheduled for execution. The Chronicles of Riddick takes place five years later and again he's being hunted, this time by mercenaries and Necromongers. Riddick is alone after deliberately severing his ties with the survivors of the first film. And this is also a film with few ties to the first one, both thematically and visually.

Where Pitch Black was a horror movie, The Chronicles of Riddick is space opera. The style of the Necromongers could be described as gothic meets ancient Greek, very monochrome with sculptures of grim faces everywhere and not a hint of irony. Their mission is to destroy or convert each world they encounter in their relentless search for the Underverse. They are poised to invade Helion Prime, the homeworld of Abu "Imam" Al-Walid (Keith David), the religious man we met in the first film. People dress in colourful, flowing garments on this planet, giving the place a cosmopolitan look.

Riddick arrives, keen to know why there's a price on his head and how he was found. This is when we meet Aereon, the air elemental played by Judy Dench. Really, they could have thought up some better names. Aereon has a talent for predicting the future and a way of making herself transparent. This movie clearly doesn't have much truck with scientific realism, and we see more evidence of this when Riddick goes to Crematoria, the prison planet. There, the unlikely astronomy involves searing heat on the day side and -300 freezing on the night side, which might be possible on an airless rock, but this planet has a breathable atmosphere.

Riddick is feeling guilty about Jack, the girl/boy he rescued and later left. Jack is now Kyra, and she's fending for herself in a high security prison where she has learnt to fight. There is, of course, a lot of fighting, including a fair bit of wire work. Much of the plot seems to be an excuse for Vin Diesel to show off his considerable gymnastic talents. Unfortunately most of the fight scenes are speeded up, flickering riots of confusion, impossible to follow. It's a matter of waiting until it's over to see who remains alive.

The CGI effects and overall look of the film is good quality, it certainly looks impressive. But The Chronicles of Riddick falls down on its storyline, which invents a new back story for Riddick that doesn't quite fit with the earlier version, and fails to explain the "why" of almost everything. Why is the Underverse so important, and why must the Necromongers leave no non-converts alive? We aren't told. The characters of Vaako and his wife, and the Purifier seem interesting at first glance, and it would be nice to know more about them.

The ending is abrubt, and this will disappoint some people. Although a sequel isn't out of the question this movie was not billed as part two of a trilogy, so a fuller ending would have been appropriate. This is a film with masses of style and the start of an epic tale, but not enough of the narrative spark to follow up on that promise.

Film Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about David Twohy

Comments

RAUM     19th October, 2004 21:24pm

I it would be more interesting to chronicle my underware than find a plot in this film total drivel

Johnny pom     19th October, 2004 22:04pm

give the man a strepsil. He could replace Darth Vader for the soothers adverts. mind you, adverts require a degree of acting talent. even michael winner is more likeable than this film.

STEVE     20th October, 2004 17:10pm

WELL THE TWO PEOPLES COMMENTS I SEE HEAR DON'T HAVE A BRAIN BETWEEN THEM. THAT SAID THIS I A SUPERB SCI-FI ACTIONEER WHICH VIN WAS BORN TO PLAY. THE VISUALS WERE GREAT THE CGI SUPERB AND THE ACTION NICELY SPREAD THROUGH OUT THE FILM. WE CAN ALL PICK HOLES BUT COME ON IT'S ENTERTAINMENT FOR GODS SAKE. AS FOR THE MAIN REVIEW COMMENTS THERE IS GOING TO BE A SEQUAL SO THEN ALL THOSE QUESTIONS MAY AND WILL BE ANSWERED

Johnny pom     21st October, 2004 14:39pm

Steve, just in case you didn't know, the caps lock key is just above the little arrow on the left of your keyboard. This fact alone proves that I have considerably more brain power than you. The lifegaurd must not have been watching when you slipped into the gene pool. That movie sucked more than Linda Lovelace. Get a life and chill out man. It's my opinion, and I'm entitled to it. Damn Yankee hothead. P.s., Vin diesel has the acting skill of a damp sponge. For proof, try watching xXxXxXx or whatever that turgid piece of eye-candy crap was called.

jamie     6th November, 2005 00:43am

how can anyone say that film sucked.im not usualy into those scifi action films.but thats one of the best ive ever seen.

reign     19th February, 2006 06:35am

hello people.. yo johnny do you think that typing with CAPS LOCK ON IS THE EQUIVALENT OF SCREAMING AT SOMEONE IF SO YOU DO HAVE A BRAIN BUT IT IS THE SIZE OF AN AMIBA'S. that said i think the movie was great, has special efects like not seen since starwars and vin diesel kicks ass !!!. the projected release date for the sequil is christmas 2006 or february 2007. it will
pick up where this one leaves off with riddick as the leader of the necromungers. and he takes his new army in a different direction. wild fight sequences lots of swordplay and assasination attempts foiled. the usual stuff with a new twist, the badguy wins. see ya at the movies

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