THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
Directed & Written by David Towhy
Produced by Scott Kroopf & Vin Diesel
Based on Characters Created by Jim & Ken Wheat
Cinematography by Hugh Johnson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban, Colm Feore, Linus Roache, Keith David, Yorick Van Wageningen & Alexa Davalos
2004/135 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
2.40:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Universal DVD
The movie opens five years after the events of PITCH BLACK. Mass murdered and anti-hero Riddick (Vin Diesel) is being chased by bounty hunters on a cold planet. After easily taking care of them he discovers that the holy man (Keith David reprising his role from the first film) was behind his bounty. Riddick wants to know why but he might not be ready for the truth.
The Necromongers, a powerful race of intergalatic religious crusaders, are after Helion Prime, one of the last planet inhabited by humans. They will take control of that planet, destroying the cities and converting the inhabitants into their religion. The only race who could fight them are the long exterminated Furyans... but wait, isn't Riddick one of them?
While THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK is a sequel to the director's $23 millions low profile sci-fi movie PITCH BLACK released in 2000, its also the beginning of a new proposed trilogy that might or might not get complete. Costing over four times the budget of its predecessor, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK wasn't a box office hit but could easily become one thanks to the DVD.
The movie is a visually amazing and stylish sci-fi flick but there's too many elements introduced at the speed of light. Towhy tries too hard to build a whole mythology for the film that in the end it suffers from it and was all mumbo jumbo to me. Even though the director's cut has 15 more minutes into the film, things move way too fast. Supposedly, Towhy's first cut was around two hours 50 minutes. Influences of DUNE and STAR TREK are clearly seen throughout the film which could be good or not depending on how you see the whole thing. I still wish that Towhy will get to complete this serie as in the end it could make sense and be worthwhile... then again it could not be.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK crash his way into DVD thanks to Universal. The movie is presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for widescreen television. The image is crystal clear with almost no imperfection except maybe for some scenes which are a little softer but then again its nothing alarming. There is no signs of compression or artifacts. The colors are richly saturated and well balanced. We get a loud and clear English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. While the keep case clearly states that there's a French and Spanish tracks on the disc they are nowhere to be found. The English track is aggressive and makes great uses of the directional surround fx. I guess we can expect another edition one day with a DTS track, oh well. There's an interesting commentary track with David Towhy, Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos. Towhy goes pretty much into all the small details of the making-of his film and sounds proud of it.
The disc also features many extras, first of all there's the usual Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by the director. Most of them aren't that necessary to the film and some of the fx aren't in final stage. 'Virtual Guide to the Chronicles of Riddick' take us through the various locations of the movie and a look at some "important" elements of it. In 'Tombs' Chase Log' we follow the events of Tombs before he tries to capture Riddick at the beginning of the movie. This is very similar to the Andy tape featurette on the DAWN OF THE DEAD DVD also released by Universal. Its pretty much useless and hopefully this kind of extras won't be something we'll see in all their releases. 'Riddick Insider' gives you access to information directly while watching the film, much like on the DVD of that movie with the Neo guy fighting the machines. 'Visual Effects Revealed' is a cool featurette on how some of the fx were created but at 6 minutes its way too short. In 'Riddick's Worlds', Vin Diesel himself takes us through the various sets of the film but its only 3 minutes long. We also get an interactive 3-D look at all the sets. You can also play the first level of the X-Box game of CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK but you'll need an X-Box and finally there's also the usual DVD-Rom content and annoying Universal preview for other movies before the main menu.
There's a six page promo booklet on Universal products, the menus are nicely designed and feature animation and music. The film is separated in 28 chapters, comes in a keep case with a special embossed paperboard package.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©