2013-09-04

Riddick – A Chronicles of Riddick Recap Review

by Yo Snyder

One of my favorite all time sci-fi/horror
flicks is Pitch Black.  It ranks
up there with Sunshine and Aliens, Sunshine being much more sci-fi story development and Aliens being much more action shot oriented. 
For me, Pitch Black does a great job
of balancing the sci-fi story with the action moments.  The best part, is
it keeps to a tight simple story and does not try to take you down endless
questions of how hyper drive was developed, or how planets are colonized. 
Instead, we have a story of a transport ship which is downed on a strange and
unknown planet. Surviving crew members include: a female co-captain, a young
kid, a collector of artifacts, a black Muslim and his three followers (kids), a
bounty hunter, his prisoner, and a couple other supporting cast members without
specifics.  When the crew crash lands, Riddick the prisoner escapes and we
are led by the bounty hunter to believe this is the most genius killer and back
stabber around.  So now we have the crew exploring an unknown planet while
fearing for their lives.  Soon we get the first alien attack and of course
Riddick is blamed.  Soon after, Riddick is captured and confesses there is
something on this planet to fear more than him.  The crew explores and
confirms sub terrain alien predators are afoot.

This movie has it all, great script
with memorable one liners, great cinematography contrasting the light effects
of three different suns, great story line which knows where it is going and how
to take us to a logical conclusion.    One of my
favorite scenes is near the end where Riddick has broken off  from the
crew and is about to flee the planet and leave the others behind when the
co-captain appears last minute and asks for Riddick to help save the
others.  After Riddick tries to convince her to just leave the others and
come with him, she breaks down and says she can’t to which Riddick responds,
“Would you die for them”?  “Yes, I would die for them” she responds. 
Riddick, sensing his first bit of humanity, leaves with her to save
the others and in the process is saved by the co-captain and as a result she is
killed.  Riddick responds, “I never asked you to die for me”.  While
the obvious biblical ties are obvious, this selfless act  changes
Riddick’s trajectory although it takes a few more movies to discover how. 
For now, we see Riddick fleeing the planet with the kid and the Muslim leader.

The next movie in the release
timeline is Chronicles of Riddick
which finds Riddick battling a race of beings (the Necromongers) who conquer
planets and believe in life after death based on their leaders journey to the
gates of hell and back.  This movie brings a much higher production value
to the Riddick franchise and perhaps sacrifices some of the originals plot and
character strengths on the altar of block buster appeal.  The movie still
delivers a very entertaining story that tells some of Riddick’s back story
where we discover he is a Furyan, a race of beings thought extinct at the hands
of the Necromongers.  Learning of his past and the death of his friend the
Muslim leader seems to put Riddick in revenge mode and he is enlisted to fight
the Necromongers.  During the course of the film he is reunited with the
kid from the first movie who apparently is trying to follow in his footsteps to
get special eyes that can see in the dark.  However the kid discovers
Riddick’s explanation for where he got his special eyes was a lie and is bitter
about it.  Ok, fast forward and Riddick defeats the head of the
Necromongers seeing both the Muslim leader and boy killed during the course of
the movie.  The movie ends with Riddick being given lordship over the
necromongers for what you kill you own.

David Twohy is behind the Riddick
franchise as both writer and director and has given us a special treat in the
form of a 30 minute animated DVD to tell the story between the 1st
and 2nd movies where Riddick encounters a bounty hunter ship and
displays some of his amazing knife skills to battle the bounty hunters and
escape.  The animation ends showing where each of the characters is
heading and sets up the start of Chronicles
of Riddick
.

Following in this tradition, Twohy
directed and wrote a second animated movie 6 minutes in length and released it late
last month telling the story between Chronicles
of Riddick
and Riddick.  In
this brief animation we see Riddick as the subject of an assassination attempt
and questioning his position as the head of the Necromongers.  In the
final scene Riddick comments he has been too influenced by humanity which
resulted in almost being defeated and needs to rectify the situation. 
Apparently setting the stage for the third movie where we should expect to see
a more stone cold Riddick.

Before I
see the third movie, let me capture a couple of thoughts for this review.  First, I never expected a third movie as the second was a block buster flop;
huge budget, poor returns.  This usually spells disaster for any
sequels.  But apparently Vin Diesel is the king of revival movies (see
Fast and Furious franchise for reference).  David Twohy also did not
expect the revival so I am skeptical he has as well thought out a script as I
would prefer, something more akin to Pitch
Black
then Chronicles of Riddick
So it is with reluctant high hopes that I am rooting for this movie to make
money and reboot one of my favorite characters and hopefully spin off a few
more animated flicks and perhaps a final chapter in the Riddick story line.