pitch black | david twohy | jim wheat | ken wheat | radha mitchell | cole hauser | vin diesel | monster | monsters | creature | creatures | alien | aliens | space | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | australia | keith david | lewis fitz-gerald | claudia black
Film: Pitch Black
Director: David Twohy
Writer: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat and David Twohy
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser and Vin Diesel
This film I remember when it was released to the movie channels, but didn’t actually see all the way through until this viewing to be honest. I’d seen parts as well as the sequel, but never actually watched it beginning to end. This is an intriguing one that has Vin Diesel during his heyday. The synopsis is a commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur.
We begin with some voice-over narration done by Diesel. He talks about being the animal and some other things, revealing some of his characters thoughts and how he operates. He is on a spaceship as it travels toward its destination. The crew is woke early when they run into a meteorite shower. They are pelting the ship and actually kill the captain. The other two crew members help right the problem, preventing it’s destruction. One of them is Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) and the other is Greg Owens (Simon Burke).
Carolyn takes over the controls and the ship crash lands on a planet. She dumps as much as she can from the ship, trying to get it righted, but they’re still too heavy. She comes to the moral decision that she is going to dump the passengers of the ship in order to save it, but there’s a malfunction. It crashes and we get some survivors.
Of the survivors is a bounty hunter, William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), and a religious man, Abu ‘Imam’ al-Walid (Keith David). There’s a collector Paris P. Ogilvie (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), Sharon ‘Shazza’ Montgomery (Claudia Black) and teenage boy Jack (Rhiana Griffith). There is also John ‘Zeke’ Ezekiel (John Moore) and three boys that are following Imam. There is also Diesel who is Richard B. Riddick. He is handcuff to a post while they try to find a way off this planet. It should also be pointed out that he has escaped from prison, is a murderer and has had a surgery on his eyes so he can see in the dark.
The planet is covered in desert. At first they believe that it has two suns, but as one goes to set, a third one appears. It seems that this planet is never covered in darkness. It is pointed out to everyone that Riddick is dangerous and they should stay away from him. They start their search for water and a way off this island.
Riddick ends up freeing himself by dislocating his shoulder and grabbing a nearby blowtorch. He flees into the wilderness. William is upset and starts to look for him. Zeke is tasked with burying the dead and digs a hole. Riddick ends up back to where he is and watches as he is attacked by a creature in a hole that he uncovered. Jack also sees what happened.
This causes the survivors to blame Riddick. Carolyn isn’t buying it and wants to get to the truth. The more they explore the planet, they realize there is something wrong here and things are made worse with an epic eclipse coming that only happens once every 22 years. They need to band together to survive or fall victim to these monsters.
To start this off, I have to say that when this film first came out, I figured it was just going to be another sci-fi action film, but this one is actually pretty solid. This is one of the first films with Diesel that I saw and made me like him. He does well in his role and I would say across the board everyone does as well. I really like the idea of him as a space criminal and that he had a surgery on his eyes that allows him to see in the dark, for the reason though that he is in prison where it’s always dark. The core group with him is Mitchell, who I think is solid in everything I’ve seen her in. David is a legend for me in cinema and Hauser really just plays angry characters well. They all round this movie out for what is needed.
A problem I do have with the story is the lack of interaction with the creatures themselves. We don’t get to really learn much about these aliens outside that Riddick discovers they have a blind spot and he exploits that near the end. I also found it odd that only one is really killed by anybody and it is Riddick with a knife. I understand this is to show his dominance. We just have characters like William and Imam, that are played by veteran action movie actors, I think we should have gotten a bit more.
I thought the aliens were scary and despite being CGI which didn’t look horrible. This film does a great job at making you feel like there is very little chance of them making it out alive, which and that works. We never see them really getting the upper hand, which is something else I enjoy. I thought it was shot well in building that up and using darkness to its advantage. The cinematography is used strategically for that.
I’d like to preface that I really like this film, but I did find myself a little bit bored right after the eclipse happens. It takes them a little bit before they decide to try to make it back to the ship there going to use for escape. There were also some lulls early in the film right after they crashed that had me waiting for something to happen. The ending was good for me as well. One final thing I will add here as well was that this film does a great job at showing us who is good and bad in the beginning, but we slowly see this change which I love seeing in a film.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. If you are into horror films that involve aliens and take place on distant planets, this one is up your alley I’d say. The acting is good, the concept is solid and the story isn’t bad, but could have been better. There is some good action and there are quite a few deaths in this one. It does have a depressing feel of there is no way they survive, which I really liked as well. If you’re a big fan of Diesel, I would also say to give this a viewing as it is enjoyable for sure. I did find this to be above average.
My Rating: 7 out of 10