Science fiction and fantasy
The Chronicles of Riddick
a David N. Twohy film
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.
If you like this, try:Babylon A.D. by Mathieu Kassovitz
A mercenary fights to protect a young woman on a journey through dangerous regions in a post-apocalyptic future.
Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem by Colin and Greg Strause
When a Predator spaceship crash-lands in America a small town has to deal with Alien infestation.
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about David Twohy
Add your thoughtsAll comments are pre-moderated. Please do not post spoilers or abusive language.