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The Chronicles of Riddick (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Science Fiction / Theatrical Release: 2004 / Director: David Twohy / Actors: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore ... / DVD released 03 January, 2005 at Universal Pictures Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen

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    6 Reviews
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      29.04.2010 01:18

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      Overall, not a bad action movie

      The Chronicles of Riddick is the sequel to Pitch Black which wasn't a bad film, but unfortunately this film that is second in the series is not quite as good in my opinion. It is a science fiction movie that was released in 2004 and sees the return of Vin Diesel as Riddick.

      In the first movie we are first introduced to Riddick who is a convicted murderer and is stranded on a planet with people who are holding him prisoner for a reward. However, that planet had a deadly secret it was holding that came to the surface when darkness set in. He survived the monster that was killing everything in it's path and escaped the planet. However, there was still a bounty on his head. This is where this second movie starts as we find Riddick still running from the authorities. When he goes to a friends house on another planet he discovers that an evil race is taking over the planet and these aliens are called the Necromongers. So, the pressure is on Riddick to stop the evil empire from thriving and stop them from taking his life and others that he cares about.

      Despite the fact that this movie is not as good as the original, Vin Diesel as Riddick still does a great job. He is one of those characters that you warm to even though you know he is a murderer.

      There is plenty of action in this movie as you might imagine. It is also pretty thrilling which is probably the best thing about this sequel. If you like science fiction movies and plenty of action then it's worth watching this sequel but don't expect it to improve on the first film.

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      21.05.2009 21:57
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      If you lick Riddick then watch Pitch Black

      Riddick was the gravel voiced antihero of Pitch Black, an effective sci-fi horror that became the surprise hit of 1999. 5 years on, Universal saw a potential franchise on their books, and a sequel was commissioned.

      Five years have passed since the events of Pitch Black and Riddick is living in self-imposed exile on the dark planet of UV6. A massive bounty has tempted bounty hunter Toombs to track him down, much to his eventual regret, as it isn't long before Riddick is taking his newly acquired Skiff to track down who wants him that badly. The trail leads to Helion Prime, and a familiar face.
      Imam has made his home on Helion, and it is he who arranged for the price on Riddick's head.

      The universe is facing the deadly scourge of the Necromongers, a race of warriors who deal in death, searching for their prophesied Underverse. The choice is simple, convert or die, and when their Conquest Icons have the power to destroy whole worlds, the decision become a simple one. Another prophecy tells of the extinct race of the Furyans, and when Imam told the elemental, Aereon, of Riddick, she realised that Riddick, as the last surviving Furyan may be the only one with the power to defeat the Necromongers.

      Riddick isn't convinced though and he's about to leave when Imam reminds him of Jack. After Riddick left, Jack felt abandoned and went searching for him, in the process she was captured and sent to the high security Slam, Crematoria. Before the guilt trip has a chance to take effect, the Necromongers arrive in strength, overwhelming Helion. Riddick will have no choice but to fight back.

      The 2.40:1 anamorphic image is crystal clear, and reproduces the colours with stunning vibrancy. With recent films like this, it becomes exceedingly difficult to find fault, and perhaps the only really jarring moments were that of some ill judged CGI, and an occasional poor choice by the director. A case in point being a strobe lit action sequence that was decidedly indistinct.

      The design of Chronicles Of Riddick is certainly special, from the worlds to the technology and the costumes. I loved the planets in this film, from the sheer alien-ness of UV6 to the fiery if implausible hell of Crematoria. Through tints and shades, each world takes on a character of its own, and each is as unearthly as you can imagine.

      The Necromongers take the best of fantasy in their design. Chainmail and armour from the middle ages informs their costumes, and the look of their ships and technology also looks backwards instead of forwards. The towering totems that are their Conquest Icons is perhaps the most obvious example of this, but set in the fantastical world of Riddick it seems to work.

      There is only a DD 5.1 English track on this disc, but it is a powerful one that makes plenty of use of the surrounds to convey the oodles of action in The Chronicles Of Riddick. From hand to hand combat to whooshing spaceships and deafening explosions, this is a film that thrives on action and the sound is more than acceptable in that respect. The music is unmemorable but drives the story and action well.

      Inserting the disc, you get to choose between two menu schemes depending on whether you wish to Convert or Fight. Both present the same options.

      The Virtual Guide To The Chronicles Of Riddick is a little video glossary that has character voice-overs explaining the meaning and background to several of the terms, worlds and characters in the film. Each of the items is presented in the form of a hologram with images from the films and artwork.

      Toombs Chase Logs lasts 10 minutes and it consists of a series of graphics and a roughly digitised image of Toombs, with the characters voice-over explaining his hunt for Riddick up to the point where he found him on UV6.

      Riddick Insider is a subtitle trivia track. As you watch the film, various snippets of information are provided regarding the production as well as the background of the characters and the story.

      Visual Effects Revealed is a 6-minute featurette that gives a glimpse at the greenscreen work and the CGI used in the film.

      Riddick's Worlds, begins with a 3-minute tour of the otherworld sets as presented by Vin Diesel. There are also 8 of those nifty 360° photographs that let you explore 8 of the sets from the film with your remote control.

      There are trailers for Pitch Black, Dark Fury, Van Helsing, The Bourne Supremacy and Billy Elliot: The Musical.

      The Chronicles Of Riddick is fun but little more than that. If mindless entertainment is what you desire, then this film will give you plenty of nail biting action, beautiful visuals and adventure. It fulfils the blockbuster requirement quite happily, and doesn't achieve anything more than being the generic thrill ride it is.

      Unfortunately it has pretensions for much more. The script, the story and the characters attempt to paint a picture that is intricate and detailed on a vast canvas. The Chronicles Of Riddick attempts to occupy the same sort of ground as Star Wars and The Matrix. These are all films and franchises that have lush back-stories, they are richly drawn and each of the characters and situations has a presence that extend beyond the screen. Riddick fails to emulate this. Watching this film, you get the feeling that the story and characters exist for this film only, and it's stretched tenuously thin at that.

      Riddick is one of the few iconic characters to have come out of cinema in recent years, and Vin Diesel certainly makes the best of him despite the thin script. Indeed he is perhaps one of the few memorable things about this film. It's just a shame that the story doesn't live up to the character.

      The rest of the cast is quite frankly wasted, especially Judi Dench as the elemental Aereon brought to vivid CGI life. Her character is there primarily as an ecplanation device, but as the explanation is so poor, her absence wouldn't have registered. Poor Karl Urban was not given much in this film, and Thandie Newton continues a career of insipidness with another forgettable performance as Dame Vaako.

      Despite an interesting premise, reminiscent of the Hades myth, The Chronicles Of Riddick fails to register beyond any level but the immediate. Almost two hours of eye-candy and action will certainly entertain, but make as much impression as a damp sponge on concrete. This disc boasts impressive visuals and sound. if you want to put your brain in neutral and just coast along looking at the pretty pictures, this film will suffice.

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      • More +
        28.10.2008 15:36
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        Not worthy

        The sequel of the average Pitch Black is opened with Riddick (Vin Diesel) getting chased by some mercenaries. After a quick fight he finds out that he belongs to the old race called Furions and his destiny is to save the world from the race of Necromongers and their leader Lord Marshall (Colm Feore). Necromongers are halfdead's invading planet after planet converting (killing) all their inhabitants to their relligion. Also Riddick finds out that Jack(Alexa Davalos) became locked in jail and Imam(Keith David) killed by the Necromongers.

        To be perfectly honest with you the only thing that held me before the screen were the effects. The sea of flaming sun rays, necromonger ships, the chamber, some of the fights. The only CGI moment which I laughed of were those two molerats roaming the prison in search for food and the moment when Vin Diesel is talking to one of them and says to one convict "its an animal thing" rotfl :]

        If you liked the first part I wont stop you from seeing another although is really not much to see. The plot is stupid, the heroes flat with no personality and like I said the only valuable thing is a bit of action and effects. But is it enough?

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          17.03.2008 19:06
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          The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) - disappointing sequel

          Billed as a sequel to the 2000 film Pitch Black, 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick had a lot of people keen for some more action starring Vin Diesel as antihero Richard Riddick. While Pitch Black had a very basic plotline and was thus successful, Chronicles tends to go deeper into space with a more complicated plot.

          The Plot

          Riddick is on the run from everyone. He is a hunted fugitive with a price on his head, a price so high that virtually every mercenary in the universe is hunting for him. He finds himself falling into the middle of a power-hungry battle to control the universe, with Necromonger conquerors threatening to ruin the future for humans, saying they will either kill or convert them. Riddick must face the fact that he could be the only hope, but the notoriously selfish serial killer might not be interested....

          The Cast and Performances

          For this second Riddick film, the cast is a bit more well known. While Pitch Black really only had Vin Diesel, and even he wasn't that well known at the time. He reprises the role of serial killer Richard Riddick, and is accompanied by such names as Dame Judi Dench as Aereon, Thandie Newton as Dame Vaako, and Colm Feore as Lord Marshal. Keith David once again reprises his role as Imam from Pitch Black.

          My Opinion

          All performances are good, but there is something missing from the first film, and I believe it to be the over-complicated plot. What success Pitch Black had was largely based upon our fears as people: the fear of the dark and of the unknown threatening our lives was very real and very well put onto the screen. Here in Chronicles, director David Twohy has injected an unbelievable element into the film, that of the power-hungry Necromongers and their desire to convert or kill all humans. The sets are elaborate and, while they are breathtaking in places, they do not necessarily fit the characters or some of the plot. However, they do fit the fight scenes very well, and these scenes are spectacular.

          Conclusion

          A decent film, but let down by being unbelievable and over-complicated.

          The DVD is available to buy from amazon.co.uk for £4.98 new.

          This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk

          Thanks for reading.

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            06.02.2008 10:08
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            Sci Fi fun..

            The big risk from watching Vin Diesel movies these days is it may be more Diesel Van; such is his spluttering and clunky screen presence away from his action hero genre. 'The Pacifier' was an example of that painful viewing over the Christmas holiday and so the welcome reappearance of his brilliant Riddick character for its terrestrial TV debut a month later was a welcome reprieve.

            The chronicles of Riddick is the sequel to 'Pitch Black', the stylishly fresh Sci-Fi horror surprise hit of 2000, the film that really made Vin Diesel a creditable action hero. Diesel has one of the most gruff sexy screen voices around and coupled with his unique pearl eyed look in this franchise (the third film is in production...), his turn in Pitch Black is the coolest arrival on the big screen since Samuel L Jackson asked Tim Roth for the return of his wallet- the one with the words 'Bad mutherf***er 'written on it...

            This is one of those movie sequels that is unfairly slated if it doesn't live up to the far superior original, for me, Pitch Black the best sci-fi horror since Aliens and so clearly a big ask. Because of that bad rep it tended to slip down your list of must see rentals after you read those negative reviews, falling off the end if the list until it pops up on TV. When it does show you find all those bad reviews go out of the window and you know what, it aint half bad.
            I think the main gripe from the entertainment press was because it was a Sci-Fi that didn't want to take itself too seriously, considering Tolkien myth making and attention to detail with the sets; feeling it didn't deliver the Sci-Fi morsel the visuals promised. Although the plot and pithy narrative doesn't quite live up to that very grandiose and expensive look here, when you have such a cool anti-hero like Vin Diesel up on screen I always feel your going to have a decent two hours of action movie, as was the case here. Riddick is a really cool and iconic screen hero and well worth a run of sequels if you ask me. It's like Mad Max never went away.

            -The Cast-

            Vin Diesel ... Riddick
            Colm Feore ... Lord Marshal
            Thandie Newton ... Dame Vaako
            Judi Dench ... Aereon
            Karl Urban ... Vaako
            Alexa Davalos ... Kyra
            Linus Roache ... Purifier
            Yorick van Wageningen ... The Guv
            Nick Chinlund ... Toombs
            Keith David ... Imam
            Mark Gibbon ... Irgun
            Roger R. Cross ... Toal
            Terry Chen ... Merc Pilot
            Christina Cox ... Eve Logan
            Nigel Vonas ... Merc

            -The Plot-

            Vin Diesel (real name Mark Vincent) plays 'Riddick', a ruthless fleet of foot and mind killer that you don't want as an enemy when the whatsaname hits the fan. Although reluctant to help humans in general, he inevitably has to do just that when they are around as all their collective blunders and fear will inevitably bring him down as they face the extreme terror, what ever that maybe. In Pitch Black it was a nocturnal and inhuman killing entity that picked off a stranded crew and passenger list of a crashed spaceship one-by-one, where as here it is straightforward immense military power threatening humankind in the form of the Necromongers.

            The light sensitive Riddick has been hiding away from bounty hunters on a cold and dark planet, five long years of solace he has welcomed, until, that is, some of the said bounty hunters catch up with him because the price has shot up on his head. After the Mercenaries bungle the pick up, headed by 'Merc Toombs' (Nick Chinlund), Riddick is soon racing across the galaxy to take out the person or persons who have put the bounty on his head.

            Aereon (Dame Judy Dench), an ethereal sire called an 'Elemental', half dead, half living, is the one who has called for Riddick. It seems the humans have got themselves in a pickle again and it is written that Riddick will sort it.

            It seems the evil Necromongers are on their way to level another planet, 'Hitchhikers Guide' style, if the human occupants don't agree to a Borg like (or Cybermen for Dr Who fans) conversion to a half robot killing machine. If they don't comply they will be vaporized, not exactly an enticing outcome for the human populous.
            The Necromongers mission is to create the 'underverse', a place where the Necromongers will rule and all will obey them absolute. Head commander in waiting of the Necromongers is Vaako (Karl Urban), the supreme warrior, his femme fetale` wife Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton), more than eager to push him to his rightful destiny.

            The current Lord Marshall of the Necromongers (Colm Feore) has ordered the invasion and the 'Purifier' (Linus Roache) has begun the process of turning humans into humanoids. But they didn't count on Riddick turning up. For Riddick is a Furyan, an enemy they fear the most, even though he is just one against their hundreds of thousands. But first Riddick has to escape from his latest prison, the burnt and blackened world of Centurion, something he seems to enjoy doing...

            -Conclusions-

            Although this movie is very much Vin Diesels (the muscle bound hero women want to tame and men want to be type deal, the cliché anti-hero gets a conscious, an action hero tart with a heart if you like) you do begin to engage on all levels as it gets into gear. The escapist Sci-Fi crowd may bemoan the ersatz detail in the mythology and patchy narrative here, but how can you not like the indestructible Vin Diesels desire to kick some alien butt through the not so cardboard scenery. No one has done it better in the blackness of space of late than this guy and that earns an extra dooyoo star for me. The special effects are excellent too; the superheated world of Centurion a real visual treat, the wobbly orbit meaning the nearby sun cooks the surface to 700 degrees every forty minutes, the same temperature the action level needs to be to make this such fun. That just looks fantastic on the big screen TV and coupled with the busy and extravagant legions of Necromongers preparing for war scenes you can't help but admire the cinematography here. You can't criticize it for not being 'Alien', guys-it's an ex wrestler in space!

            So after being lead a stray with a duff review or two I advise you to check this out if you like your science fiction and I for one am certainly looking forward to the prequel, and won't be reading any reviews on it this time...

            -Ratings-

            Imdb.com 6.30 out of 10.0 (26,605 votes)

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              17.10.2006 10:22
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              Pretention, thy name is Twohy

              Introduction
              ---------------

              In the future, the once ubercool Riddick (Vin Diesel) has found out that he is a member of a race called "Furians", presumably so named because of their ability to get really quite angry. The even more laughably-named "Necromongers" (Presumably you find them next to the Fishmongers) are on a hissy fit to conquer the galaxy, no doubt because of said galaxy collectively sniggering at the homo-erotic costumes that they wear. Such conquests seems to begin by driving a large phallic object into the ground of a planet. Subtle, they are not.

              Apparently, the Necromongers want to get to the "Underverse", no doubt marked by a very large Calvin Klein label or similar. As such labels tend to be black, you can appreciate how hard it must be to find it in outerwear - sorry, outer space. There may have been mention of why they wanted to go where only genitalia have gone before, though by this point I was well past caring.

              The Imam (poor old Keith David) from the first film is brought into the story just long enough to let Riddick know that he is prophecised to kill the big, bad leader of the Necromongers (Colm Feore) who is supposed to be unkillable because he has been to the underverse and back again and now models for Prada (or some such sillyness.)

              In another crass attempt to import characters from the first film, Jack (The girl) has now grown up to be Thandie Newton, imprisoned in a high-security "Slam" which consists of a big hole in the ground that unfortunately is'nt big enough to bury this movie in. It does have a couple of utterly unconvincing space-panthers though.

              The Film
              ----------

              I absolutely loved Pitch Black, I really did. I also played the excellent Escape from Butcher's bay and loved that also. Unfortunately, the admiration train derailed and hit the slums of reality when I was unfortunate enough to watch The Chronicles of Riddick.

              Karl Urban, Thandie Newton and Colm Feore are all wasted here while Dame Judie Dench floats through a token couple of scenes as a air "Elemental" with a somewhat knowing look on her face. If there is, as planned, a sequel to this film we can look forward to fire elementals, water elementals, earth elementals and most fittingly cheese elementals.

              The special effects were no doubt very expensive, but don't really look it. Generally they are serviceable, as is the music, but there really was'nt much thought given to any of the sets nor the costume design and whoever wrote the script obviously has a Conan fixation.

              On the plus side, the first thirty seconds of Riddick running across an ice field was rather cool, as was Linus Roach's self-immolation. What was'nt cool was the changing of Riddick from a sarcastic, self-obsessed murderer to a pathetically named Alien whose one-liners are tired, staid and pretentious.

              In summary, this film was a horrible, horrible mess and proof positive if anyone needed it that David Twohy needs to direct a good many more low budget films before he gets to waste this much money again.

              There are a number of extra features on this disc, the usual commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes but again, I did'nt bother watching them.

              You could pick this film up for £7 from Play.com, but why on earth would you want to?


              Summary
              ------------

              As you can tell, this story was written by someone doing an excellent imitation of a 12 year old fanboy who has just discovered how to have one off the wrist. He also seems to have been responsible for the costume design and the most unworkably unusable hand to hand weapons ever seen outside of the final fantasy series.

              The other members of the cast must have thought that the film would look very good after the post-production editing was done in the same way the designers of the Titanic thought that the ship would look better with fewer lifeboats.

              Avoid.

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            • Product Details

              Bigger isn't always better, but for anyone who enjoyed Pitch Black, a nominal sequel like The Chronicles of Riddick should prove adequately entertaining. Writer-director David Twohy returns with expansive sets, detailed costumes, an army of CGI effects artists, and the star he helped launch--Vin Diesel--bearing his franchise burden quite nicely as he reprises his title role. The Furian renegade Riddick has another bounty on his head, but when he escapes from his mercenary captors, he's plunged into an epic-scale war waged by the Necromongers. A fascist master race led by Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), they're determined to conquer all enemies in their quest for the Underverse, the appeal of which is largely unexplained (since Twohy is presumably reserving details for subsequent "chronicles"). With tissue-thin plotting, scant character development, and skimpy roles that waste the talents of Thandie Newton (as a Necromonger conspirator) and Judi Dench (as a wispy "Elemental" priestess), Twohy's back in the B-movie territory he started in (with The Arrival), brought to vivid life on a vast digital landscape with the conceptual allure of a lavish graphic novel. But does Riddick have leadership skills on his resumé? To get an answer to that question, sci-fi fans will welcome another sequel. --Jeff Shannon