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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Bad Is Really, Really Good
My mind hasn't been boggled in a while -> The very first StarWars did me in, and then various parts of The Lord of the Ring years later. Other than that I'm not one who stares at the screen in awe of special effects. In fact, the bore me very quickly. What I likes about the original Riddick film, Pitch Black, was that, outside of the Alien knockoff monsters, there was...
Published on June 7, 2005 by Marc Ruby™

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Film That Lacks Some Important Information
Able to leap thirty feet into the air in a single bound! Faster than The Matrix! Stronger than the California Governor! Look, it's a rocket! It's a super-fast computer program! No, it's Riddick!
Science Fiction afficionados will undoubtedly have fun examining THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK for its hidden layers and (hopefully) for what the next installment in the...
Published on July 8, 2004 by B. Merritt


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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Bad Is Really, Really Good, June 7, 2005
My mind hasn't been boggled in a while -> The very first StarWars did me in, and then various parts of The Lord of the Ring years later. Other than that I'm not one who stares at the screen in awe of special effects. In fact, the bore me very quickly. What I likes about the original Riddick film, Pitch Black, was that, outside of the Alien knockoff monsters, there was very little in the way of large scale special effects. In many ways, it was an intimate thriller rather than a vast drama.

So I really wasn't prepared for what appeared on this screen as the film unrolled. It sneaks up on you as it opens with Riddick's attempted capture by Toombs, a bounty hunter. The irritated (and very hairy) Riddick sets out to find out who put the bounty on his head and discovers that he is being recruited to stop the conquest of space by the Necromongers. These latter are truly the knights of total badness. Their goal is entropy - the total destruction of life and rebirth onto another plane, the Underverse. The Necromongers, despite a truly heroic culture, are so bad that Vin Diesel comes up smelling like a rose.

Why hire Riddick? The theory is that sometimes you need to fight evil with a different evil. Riddick is one of the last Furyans, a people who met the Necromongers and lost. An entire male generation was destroyed right down to infants strangled with their birth cords. If anyone would want to destroy the Necromongers Riddick should. Or he would if he cared, and starting out, he doesn't. But as he walks out the Necromongers arrive. Diesel gets caught in the combat, captured by Toombs and dumped on a prison planet where he finds Kyra (who was Jack in the first film).

When the Necromongers show up again hunting for Riddick, the whole thing falls apart. Riddick, who has been pretty even tempered for a stone killer, gets really, really mad. Now it is the hunters who are hunted in a spectacular display of violence, betrayal, and architecture. Yes, I said architecture.

Whoever did the set design and effects for this film (hats off to director David Twohy) simply went insane. The planetary and prison settings were delightful on their own (imagine being chased across a planet by a sunrise that will burn you to a crisp), but the work on the Necromongers is simply amazing. They have been designed from the ground up. Clothes, armor, spaceships, interiors, culture, etc., etc., etc.

Between the effects and the settings I had to watch the film twice to notice that there really was a plot, albeit a skeletal one. And half the actors to reasonable jobs with a script of a maximum of 2,000 words. Purists who demand great art and drama may be dismayed, but this film was downright fun to watch. A sci-fi barnburner with all the stops pulled out. If you like fast, furious, and dirty, Riddick is the hero for you.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Sci Fi!, June 8, 2005
I had no idea what to expect before I actually saw this movie. I had already seen Pitch Black and I still watch it. This is the continuation of the story of Riddick. He was found in a dumpster, as an infant, with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The question of why, is answered in this film if you watch carefully. Riddick is a Furyan, a different breed of human, born and bred for war and killing. He has been in and out of prisons almost his entire life. He has been hiding for the last five years on an uninhabited ice planet in order to protect two of the people he helped save when the Hunter Grazna crashed on a planet, and the ensuing nightmare of darkness and slaughter by the denizens of said planet.

Riddick treated like an animal in a cage for so much of his life and hardly knowing how to relate to the human race anymore, starts a slow painful journey to regain his humanity in Pitch Black and you can see his incremental steps forward with a few slips back, in this film.

That's what most reviewers forget. The entire thing is about Riddick. Everything else is icing. There are fewer words in the script, but if you recall, Riddick didn't speak for almost the first half of Pitch Black. Riddick is a thinker and a doer, not much of a talker, which is what I would expect if he had been tied up with a horse bit in his mouth for quite a long time. You have to figure out what's going on inside him. Riddick takes on the Necros because Kyra gets captured, not out the goodness of his heart. He fights the Lord Marshal to regain Kyra and to survive, not because the universe is in trouble.

He gave up his freedom voluntarily and lived like a hermit on one of the most inhospitable worlds in the known planets to protect Jack/Kyra and Imam from Mercs. The only thing that brought him out was percieved betrayal by Imam.

If you can look under the seemingly superficialness of the movie you will find quite a bit of the good stuff. The special effects are so big in the movie that you can become lost in them if you don't pay attention to the details. The special effects are great! But what I really enjoyed was watching Riddick actually continue to grow through this movie.

In previous prison escapes Riddick always escaped alone, on Crematoria he actually tried to help some of the others. He made a sacrifice of himself to go there and rescue Jack/Kyra. He had never willingly gone into a prison before, he was always escaping them.

I saw quite a bit in this film, and I haven't seen anyone else mention any of this. You can overlook a lot if you just look at the muscles and the action. I highly enjoyed this flick, it's one of the better films to come out of that year. Riddick is real, whatever else he may be, and he isn't so sweet a hero/antihero that he gves you tooth decay.

I liked everything about the film, the bad guys were original and not cookie cutter copies. The character was familiar and the story logically progressed from the last film. If Pitch Black had the kind of money in it's budget that this film had, I'll bet it would have been mind boggling.

The other thing reviewers tend to forget is that this is fiction. It's pure imagination and fantasy, just what great escapist entertainment is all about.

I want to see impossible feats, bigger than life action and all the frills that go with it. If I wanted real life, I'd stay outside the theater. I want to see the grand large sets and the great special effects, but at the same time I want good acting also. I believe everyone in this film did a credible potrayal of the characters they were playing.

After saying all that, I'll end with this.

I love this movie. I own it and Pitch Black and I watch both of them. I guess I must have watched the both of them more than twenty times already, and I'm still not tired of them yet!

I'll give this movie an excellent rating.
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90 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You keep what you kill, December 27, 2004
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Even if I have to apologize to my Friends and Favorites, and my family, I have to admit that I really liked this movie. It's a Sci-Fi movie with a "Mad Maxx" appeal that, while changing many things, left Riddick from `Pitch Black' to be just Riddick. They did not change his attitude or soften him up or bring him out of his original character, which was very pleasing to `Pitch Black' fans like myself.

First off, let me say that when playing the DVD, the first selection to come up is Convert or Fight, and no explanation of the choices. This confused me at first, so I will mention off the bat that they are simply different menu formats, that each menu has the very same options, simply different background visuals. Select either one and continue with the movie.

Chronicles Of Riddick takes place after Riddick's escape from the planet of monsters on Pitch Black, starting out with his recapture after being in hiding for many years. Now we are going to get a glimpse of just what is going on in the universe during the futuristic time frame of `Pitch Black'.

A large sect of religious fanatics called Necromongers are moving from planet to planet, converting others to their faith and killing those who will not convert. Necromongers are half-dead beings from many different original planets, kind of like Star Trek's Borgs except they do not loose their individuality when they are converted. Some are made into "Lensors", very cool effect of once-humans with these round blue shields over their faces, under which their faces look a little skeletal and decomposed.

Riddick gets caught up with the Necromongers after he is taken to the prison planet of Crematoria, where daylight, rather than nightfall, is the killer. Here he finds a grown up Jack (the girl from Pitch Black), now using her real name of Kyra. The girl Jack was a strong addition to Pitch Black, the adult Kyra is rather whiney and annoying, and my one complaint would be that they should have done better with Jack's development. He has to escape Crematoria and help Jack off the planet also.

Truthfully, the entire plot is Riddick running from people who want to capture him, but it's still a good movie made interesting with the addition of the half-dead race. The Lady Vaako of the Necromongers is a very `Cleopatra' type of character, with her own Marc Anthony in the form of Vaako, one of the Lord Marshal's fiercest warriors.

In some of the scenes the Necromongers almost come across like Televangelists, wanting converts so badly, and desiring entire populations to kneel before them. Just a funny comparison to mull over while you watch. There is also an Elemental in the movie, a race of beings who can phase in and out of dimensions, whose job it seems to be not to inform the Necromongers but to distract them from Riddick, at least that is the feeling that I got.

The special effects of this movie make up for the slower parts about three quarters of the way through the movie, stunning visuals of cities that are half gothic and half futuristic, great flight scenes (including a cool shot of the underbelly of one of the ships), the sunrise over the planet Crematoria is spectacular (but not quite as good as the nightfall effect in Pitch Black), the power going out all over the city, the half metal-half squishy mind readers, and that is barely skimming the effects.

The costume and set designs are visually stunning, well made without going too far over the top, and the editing is not as choppy as David Twohy warns us about at the beginning of the Director's Cut.

My one other problem is that with a loss of midrange hearing, I had to use the English Subtitles to hear some of the conversations, so if you are slightly hard of hearing you will want to use that feature. The battles are rapid and a bit confusing during the use of strobe lighting, but that is what the slow-mo button is for. ;-)

All in all, this is a pleasing sci-fi adventure movie, not to be confused with a work of art or a lesson in any socially redeeming values. It is good old-fashioned fun and a relief to us sci-fi fans who tire of critics blathering on about how sci-fi and fantasy are not worthy forms of entertainment. These are the same critics who thought The English Patient was a good movie. (gag)

As the Necromongers say, "Humans are an unguided mistake."

Enjoy the movie!
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137 of 169 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critics and boring people SHOULD NOT SEE IT, June 16, 2004
The Chronicles of Riddick is the continuing story of Riddick (Vin Diesel), the bald-headed, night seeing convict who escaped from prison and was ultimately so tough that he could beat up aliens with just a knife. Given that the first movie was called Pitch Black, Riddick's peculiar eyes lent him a particular advantage - both against his captors and the aliens that inhabited the planet.
On the surface, one could summarize Pitch Black as an Aliens knockoff. But it was so much more than that. Just as Aliens was more than about soldiers blowing up aliens, Pitch Black was about how people hide behind who they really are and that people don't change - they just reveal their true natures. The movie was also noteworthy for being a science fiction film that portrayed Muslim beliefs in a positive light and as the dominant religion.
Keeping those elements in mind, the Chronicles of Riddick (TCOR) is the logical extension of the first movie, even though it doesn't involve many aliens or all that much darkness. No, TCOR stays true to its characters and appeals to what made the first movie so much fun - Riddick's bad, sure...but the bad guys are even WORSE.
Those bad guys are the Necromongers, a race bent on the total conversion of the universe to the "Underverse" - sort of an anti-Mecca. The Necromongers aren't just bad guys; they're an entire style. Statues abound of torture and self-mutilation. The Necromonger ships have faces built into their hulls of the uncaring tyrant known only as Lord Marshal. Everything, from the staves the captains wield to the weapons of mass destruction the Necromongers use to obliterate planets - it all fits. The Necromonger ships even hum along on roiling clouds of black energy.
The troops match the architecture. Their helmets model the pain and suffering they believe in. Undead watchdogs, their faces encased in strange helmets, "lens" out the living, seeing through darkness and right through walls. Those who are caught are converted to "half-dead," uncaring soldiers in service to Lord Marshal. The most powerful Necromongers can steal a person's soul right out of their bodies.
In short, the Necromongers are really cool bad guys.
If the Necromongers seem familiar to some, it's because they're modeled after the concept of a negative energy universe that so many Dungeons & Dragons players are familiar with. Vin Diesel is a self-professed gamer and his roots show - heck, Judi Dench plays an "air elemental." Nobody uses an air elemental in a sci-fi context these days unless they're a gamer.
Unfortunately, this assumption may lose those who aren't sci-fi fans, gamers, or fantasy fans. Indeed, many of the criticisms of the movie is that it's too confusing. My parents (who admittedly, raised me to be the gaming freak that I am) understood the plot just fine, and they are not gamers.
If the plot were merely about the Necromonger's quest to take over the universe, it would make for a rather feeble rip off of the Borg from Star Trek. Instead, Riddick is prophesized to kill the Lord Marshal, and as a result his second in command (played by Karl Urban, of Eomer fame from Lord of the Rings) along with his scheming wife plot to bring about the conflict.
Why? Because the Necromonger way of life (er, death?) is "You Keep What You Kill." In other words, whoever kills the Lord Marshal gets to take over the entire legion of Necromongers.
Of course, Riddick wants nothing to do with his fate as one of the last members of a race known as the "Furions." The Furions have been all but wiped out by the Necromongers. But Lord Marshal is to be killed by his own knife by Riddick...so bounty hunters are once again on his trail.
Being on the lam is not a good way to raise a kid. Riddick has long since left the Imam on New Mecca and Jack (the kid from Pitch Black) to her own devices. When the Necromongers finally back Riddick into a corner, he discovers there's no escaping the bad guys...or his past.
TCOR is filled with a lot of important relationships, commentary about the nature of evil, snide swipes at religious institutions, free thought, and morality. It also has plenty of action. Instead of running across a pitch-black planet, Riddick must traverse a burning planet aptly named Crematoria.
With the majesty of the Necromongers and the amount of planet hopping that takes place, digital effects are rife throughout the movie. These are expected - indeed, the movie would be unwatchable without the effects, some of which are integral to the plot. The most subtle effect is Riddick's eyes, that shine like silver plates in the darkness.
Critics of the film have pointed out that Lord Marshal does not appear to be a physical match for Riddick. That's kind of like saying "The Emperor doesn't seem like he can take Luke Skywalker in a duel." The physical presence of Lord Marshal is not the point. He is the only one to have touched the Underverse and upon doing so acquired incredible power. He SHOULD look like a "normal guy."
The Chronicles of Riddick is a good old-fashioned science fiction ride across the universe in the tradition of Conan (especially the ending). The movie will only seem confusing to people who are not familiar with gaming and fantasy tropes...and thus critics and boring people SHOULD NOT SEE IT.
But for the rest of us...watch it, then watch Pitch Black again. They make an excellent pair.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riddick: More than the Sum, October 31, 2004
I know what some of you might be thinking: "Four Stars? Is he crazy? The movie was horrible/good/o.k., not worth Four Stars!"

To you I say: "You are entitled to your opinion."

This is a fun movie for anyone who's ever wanted a modern space opera, even if certain parts of the film certainly do not stand on their own very well. A scene here, a scene there... they seem strange, isolated, or out of place in the large context of the movie at times. I promise, though, that this film really is more than the sum of it's parts.

I understand the uneasy feeling the slightly disjointed nature of the movie's beginning can cause, and I can see why it might turn some people away, but for me the movie really began to come together after the first 45 minutes. I really, at that point, began to feel the level that the director was attempting to work on: this is a universe of adventure, where confidence and strength can give you power, where fear and uncertainty make you weak, and where the laws of physics take second rank behind the laws of dramatic movement.

Make no mistake, it's not Shakespeare and some people just can't get into the right frame of mind to enjoy this film... but if you do get there, you certainly will not be dissapointed.

The characters here fight on frigid planets, hunt soldiers in a bombed-out desert civilization's capital, do battle in draconian prisons, and defy empires... all with style and raw power, depending on what the situation demands.

An entire universe, opened like the doorway into a too-bright afternoon, is revealed and hinted at in the movie... this movie is NOT Pitch Black, but if you look at it from the right angle you can see Pitch Black's setting as the agrophobic cousin of this universe.

Conan in a space opera (paying homage in a way that The Scorpion King didn't quite manage, but with many of the same shared elements; born of a savage people, deadly in battle, one man in a huge world, destined for greatness...) is as good a way as any to describe it, whether you mean the old Conan movie or the original tales.

I give it Four Stars, and I know I'll be buying it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray shines as best offering yet., April 1, 2009
By 
SRFireside "ZOOM!" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I think this movie has gotten a bad rap by most reviewers. Maybe they are expecting too much or maybe they just don't understand what's being done here. Chronicles of Riddick (CoR) is an entertaining movie with just little bit of subtle sophistication and even a misunderstood pedigree. It's essentially an action/adventure kind of science fiction that doesn't go too terribly deep, but deep enough to get the story across and end up being an enjoyable experience.

I don't know if this was where the director was going, but I saw a lot of elements you would see in one of those classic 50's space operas. If you have seen any of the classic Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon serials you might get what I'm saying. The movie gives you the impression of being on a grand scale without actually being on that level. The plot itself is rather simplistic and that's why it works. The beauty is in the subtle complexities most probably won't even notice. The side plots in this movie don't seem to fit right, but by the end they show as being essential.

On a less glamorous note certain things that lend themselves to that 50's matinee style of Sci-Fi do seem cheesy like how stuff is named. You have villains called Necromongers. You have planets with names like Crematoria and races with names like Furyans. Names like that kinda kill the whole Riddick coolness. Riddick himself, on the other hand, is still the ultimate coolness he was in Pitch Black. I have to hand it Vin Diesel. He definitely has this character down. While Pitch Black did a decent job giving this anti-hero some development this movie further expands on it. You get a little more into his motivations and drives in this movie, which are mostly personal. I do believe this is the best anti-hero character I have seen in science fiction.

The action on this movie is sweet, but in the first few scenes it does go by VERY fast. After a while the action settles to a better pace, which will delight the bruisers in the crowd. The imagery is definitely worth watching and the set design is awesome. There is this medieval style to the Necromongers that give it both a familiar and unfamiliar vibe to them. Locations like Crematoria (I hate that name) are both fascinating concepts and nice looking design-wise. You get to see a lot of different types of special effects here and generally they look very solid. The computer-generated effects aren't in any way top notch, though they are several degrees better than movies like Van Helsing.

They have released a theatrical cut and an "unrated" director's cut. Supposedly some of the content that would have given the movie an R rating was put in the director's cut, but to be honest I didn't see anything that would have changed the rating in my eyes. I guess the MPAA are very picky about some things. What are the differences? Well for one there are about 14 more minutes added to the movie. Some of it just little details. Some of it totally new content that changes some scenes (and the storyline) completely. Some of it useless. The biggest and best change is the addition of a sort of Furyan destiny laid out in front of Riddick. Not awesome, but it is interesting.

The sad thing is some good stuff that was in the theatrical version is lost. One in particular is the big Necromonger (sigh...) fight scene in Crematoria (ugh...). The theatrical version was a shorter and apparently the sound editing would have been horrible if cut with the same audio. The result was a music only scene that I call the "ballet of death" that to me carried a higher sensory impact that the uncut, full audio, fight. I suppose less is more for me. Another cut I would have liked to see stay was Riddick's "back of the bus" monologue, which was replaced by a completely useless (although sexually suggestive) scene with one of the mercs.

Previous releases of this movie only gave you one option in regards to which version of the movie you wanted to see, including the HD-DVD release. This Blu-Ray release gives you both versions of the movie. That in of itself is a big bonus for a guy like me who sees good stuff from both versions. The good times don't stop there. The video is a VC-1 codec taken directly from the digital master (same as the HD-DVD release). I'm not going to say it's the absolute best transfer out there, but it is really nice and definitely is head and tails above any Riddick DVD release. The audio, on the other hand, gets the full praise with DTS-HD 5.1 lossless surround sound. Not even the HD-DVD had that. You also get DTS 5.1 surround in French and Spanish (subtitles in all three languages).

The extras are a mix of content that was available in the DVDs and HD-DVD along with a little more (I did say this was the best release to date, didn't I?). Here's the breakdown (all in 480p standard definition):

Intro by David Twohy - Just an explanation of the transfer of the Director's cut. It almost sounds like an apology to those who may notice the cuts in editing. Same intro as in the Extended Cut DVD and HD-DVD.

Director's Commentary - Actually pretty informative as David doesn't seem to shy away from share all the details in making the film. Same commentary from DVD and HD-DVD (essentially the previous releases).

Virtual Guide to Chronicles of Riddick - A few entries on the Riddick universe as told by the characters in the movie. Same feature from previous releases.

Toombs Chase Log - A personal log chronicling Toombs' hunting of Riddick up until the start of the movie as told by Tombs himself. Same featurette from the previous releases.

Visual Effects Revealed - A short featurette on the special effects of the movie. I believe this is brand new, but it's pretty brief (about six minutes) so not much of a new bonus.

Creation of New Mecca - A look at the various set pieces from the movie. Same as the HD-DVD and it seems this featurette replaces Riddick's Worlds from the DVD. Alas... no more 360 degree views of the more impressive sets.

Vin Diesel's Guided Tour - Vin walks you around the sets showing you behind the scenes work on the movie. Same as in the previous releases.

Riddick Rises - A discussion of the Riddick character by Director David Twohy and Vin Diesel. The two people who effectively created the character give more background info on our favorite anti-hero.

Keep What You Kill - Very cool analysis of the Necromongers and their culture as well as film details like costumes and props and such. Same featurette as in the HD-DVD.

Complete Chronicles - A U-Control feature with picture in picture narrative of Riddick. Includes both video footage and text trivia. This is aBlu-Ray exclusive.

Chronicles Compendium - Another Blu-Ray exclusive that is also a U-Control picture in picture feature that delves into pretty much all the other things in the Riddick universe that Complete Chronicles doesn't cover. In the same format as Complete Chronicles as well.

Anatomy of a Fight - Yet another U-Control feature exclusive to Blu-Ray. This one focuses on Riddick's combat strategies and methods.

Deleted Scenes - Same as all previous releases. Some are alternate scenes. Some would have been nice to have added to the Director's Cut. Some definitely best left off the movie. Commentary by Twohy also available.

BDLive enabled - Of course this is a Blu-Ray exclusive. If you want to share Riddick comments and stuff that's what BDLive is all about.

Chronicles of Riddick is a good solid story with the look of an epic film but with the sensibilities of a good old 50's Sci-Fi adventure. If you are into action then you should be happy with this movie. This current release by far offers the most from any previous release with both versions of the movie, lossless audio, and a few extra features not previously available. If you have a Blu-Ray player this is the version to get.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little different from the Theatrical release, May 4, 2005
By 
SRFireside "ZOOM!" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE UNRATED WIDESCREEN EDITION

I won't spend much time on reviewing the movie itself as there are plenty here for you check out. I will do a review on the "director's cut" version and the DVD itself. In a nutshell COR is a combination of action sci-fi and classic serial science fiction (or "Comic Book" sci-fi if you prefer). In other words lots of cool action, fantastic sets, nice special effects, and decent plot development is on one side. On the other side you get cheesy names for locales and peoples (Crematoria, Hellion, The Elementals, The Necromongers), a few 2-dimensional characters, and a somewhat condensed story. This kind of content would do well in a longer run time (in spite of that being taboo in Hollywood). While it is a completely different kind of movie than the previous one, for those who loved Riddick in Pitch Black you will love him here too.

Now for the special edition. To those of you who watched the theatrical version and complained about holes in the story a lot of them get filled in this edition. With 15 minutes of new footage lots of little loose ends get tied up and a new character is introduced. The new slant might seem a bit on the mystical side for some tastes, but I felt it appropriate. There are more than a few little things added to scenes to help flesh out development and I'm glad they did that.

Probably the biggest change was the big fight scene at Crematoria. It now has more of it and the scene now has full audio sounds of guns blazing and bodies busted instead of just music like on the theatrical release. As much as I enjoy the additional footage I kinda liked the silence of the theatrical release better. What with just music playing and seeing all that mayhem it felt more dramatic and even artsy (in a "Ballet of Death" sort of way).

They took out the "Back of the Bus" dialog in one scene, which i miss. Seems like they replaced it with a "sexy" scene that to me is a total waste of film. Don't ask me why they decided to put such a useless scene in (if you watch you'll know what I'm talking about). At least this is the only added footage that I recall that would have been better off in the deleted scenes section.

While I won't say they fixed everything and now COR is the movie it should have been I do have to admit it felt much better watching the Unrated Edition as opposed to the Theatrical one. That might just be that I picked up more the third time around (yes I saw it twice in the theater), but then again maybe the new cut is just plain better. As for the "unrated" rating it's no big deal. More violence but still little to no blood and gore. Maybe a little more bad language, but it didn't seem like it. I guess it could be an R movie now, but it's a light R. If I was the one running the MPAA I would still call this a PG-13 movie.

Quality-wise Twohy makes a comment on the introduction about how you might see noticeable fluctuations where they made the cuts for the new footage, but I didn't notice any. However I didn't see it on HDTV so maybe as you get to better quality TV's and bigger screen tv's you might notice it. DVD looks great and visually crisp with the audio being just as clear.

The extras are pretty good, but I've seen better. Here's a breakdown:

Audio Commentary - It's informative but not nearly as much as I had hoped. There is a fair amount of the crew just shooting the breeze comparitively speaking. No Vin commentary, which I would have liked to have heard since he apparently put a LOT of creative effort into this movie.

Two menus - The exact same menu but with different art and stuff. An interesting diversion, but not a dealmaker.

Toombs Log - Interesting, but doesn't really give you that much insight. As a primer for the movie don't bother, but as a little character development on Toombs' side it works well enough.

Worlds or Riddick - The 360 degree view of some of the sets is not bad. The sets are pretty neat and it's nice to know they didn't go all CG like George Lucas and actually built some wonderful sets. Extra feature-wise? Again I say... I've seen better. The tiny featurette with Vin Diesel was the most informative and entertaining of this set. That little snippet should have been longer.

Documentary - A pretty good documentary for its size. Definitely the most worthwhile extra on here. Again it would be nice if they made it longer.

Deleted scenes - Some of these scenes are not only cool, but I feel would have really given more depth to the movie. Those few scenes I wish had stayed, but most are approprately taken out for whatever reason. Still as far as deleted scenes go most of them are pretty nice with only one lame duck scene that never should have gotten past the script that I recall.

Virtual Guide - Practically useless if you are looking get more insight into the Riddick universe. Doesn't really tell you anything more than what you would find out in the movie anyway.

Facts on Demand Viewing - Haven't tried it yet, but it sounds interesting. Will update when I learn more.

Riddick X-Box game - Useless if you don't have an X-Box. No trailers or other teasers for non-X'ers to see.

All in all if you liked Riddick in the theater you definitely should be getting this version. Forget the theatrical cut. There is more to love here. If you never seen Chronicles of Riddick and are a sci-fi fan of any kind I recommend renting this. If you like what you see you can always buy it later. Better yet go to one of those used DVD stores that apply credit from rental towards a purchase.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining & Action-Packed Dark Sci-Fi Adventure, May 26, 2005
In 2000, writer/director David Twohy introduced the world to his dark hero character named Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) in the sci-fi/film noir film entitled "Pitch Black". Four years later, he wrote/directed the sequel that was entitled "The Chronicles of Riddick". In this action-packed film noir sequel, Riddick, after having been on the run for five years, has been captured by a group of bounty hunters lead by a man named Toombs (Nick Chinlund). While en route to the planet Helion Prime (where the bounty on Riddick was initiated), Riddick escapes and takes over Toombs ship. He lands on Helion Prime and goes in search for Abu 'Imam' al-Walid (Keith David, a returning character/actor from "Pitch Black"). Unfortunately, Helion Prime has also become the latest target of conquest for a group called the Necromongers that are essentially the living-dead (not vampires though). The Necromonger attack fleet wreaks havoc upon the population of Helion Prime, whose survivors are then given the "opportunity" to become Necromongers themselves by their leader known only as Lord Marshal (Colm Feore). Many refuse this "offer", including Riddick who is also present. Riddick is taken by the Necromongers for further questioning at the request of a woman named Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton), who is the wife to a leading Necromonger general named Vaako (Karl Urban). Using Necromongers conditioned to be powerful mind-readers, the Necromongers quickly discover that Riddick is a Furian, which is a race that Lord Marshal fears most. Though Riddick is able to escape from the Necromongers, he is again captured by Toombs and his latest crew who decide to take him to an extremely inhospitable penal planet called Crematoria. It is there that Riddick comes across the prisoner Kyra (Alexa Davalos), but Lord Marshal is determined to recapture Riddick, so he sends Vaako and a group of Necromonger soldiers in pursuit from Helion Prime.

With a combination of elaborate sets, CGI special effects, dark cinematography and good costuming, "The Chronicles of Riddick" is visually very entertaining. The plot is interesting and the dialog is fair; but the editing was not as good as it could have been. Overall, though, it's an entertaining and interesting film that I rate with 4 out of 5 stars. Other notable characters include the elemental human Aereon (Judi Dench), the Necromonger Purifier (Linus Roache), The Guv of the Crematoria prison (Yorick van Wageningen), Lajjun (Kimberly Hawthorne), Ziza (Alexis Llewellyn) and Eve Logan (Christina Cox).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex & Quality Story - Don't Believe the Critics, May 31, 2005
I am a discriminating Sci-Fi fan, both literature and film, and I definitely do not agree with what professional critics had to say about this movie. I'm glad I didn't pay attention to the reviews and watched it for myself.

The story includes Dune-like intricacies (prophecy, conflicting character motives, foreshadow, plots within plots, human weaknesses, multiple heroes, patience, questionable morality, rituals, inner challenges, sacrifice, etc.) but without the extended, drawn-out politics to slow the story. It is fast paced and entertaining along with the important issues and messages. The art in this film is breathtaking including the rocky fins and caves of the ice planet, the Necromonger ship; the sparkling seas, sands, and architecture of Helion Prime; and the brutal beauty of the jagged, glassy, and blistering Crematoria. The DVD version really showcases the artistic elements of this movie.

The film has a Conan flavor with the non-traditional and non-innocent hero doing the right thing instead of the easy thing, and getting involved though he doesn't have to. The superhero (and regular hero) qualities of the Riddick character are also a nice addition to the story: speed, protection of the weak, strength, ease of killing, frequent flying through the air during attacks/escapes, quick thinking, sense of humor, resistance to Necromonger mental intrusion, enhanced eyes for night vision (Achilles heel being light sensitivity), precision, gracefulness despite bulk, piloting skills, use of varied weaponry, respect for life, risk taking, etc. The combination of weaponry is also interesting - unique craftsmanship blades mixed with Sci-Fi technology weapons. However, the violence in this film is very tasteful, similar to the Zatoichi movies, where our hero is able to kill without a lot of blood and gore. And he only deals out death when forced to, not at whim or randomly. There is also a similarity to Kurosawa stories as well, specifically Yojimbo and Sanjuro regarding the flawed hero and the motives of the characters, with some events and symbolism corresponding to Throne of Blood. The story of The Luck Child is also played out in this film, which is especially nice for those of us who love fairy tales.

The acting is first-rate. All of the actors did a fine job, but Vin Diesel's performance is truly exceptional. I had no idea he was so incredibly talented. (I always thought he was mainly an "eye candy" actor. Not so.) He is amazingly expressive throughout the movie without the use of his eyes at all. (They are surgically enhanced with no pupils and covered with goggles part of the time.) And his voice, diction, and inflection are obviously a product of natural talent, serious training, and careful attention to his craft. I now have a new appreciation for the quality of his work.

I would rank this film right up there with some of the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time including Metropolis, Blade Runner, and Forbidden Planet; and the story itself merits comparison to classic Sci-Fi books such as the Robot novels, Dune, The Chronicles of Amber, and the Foundation series. I recommend people watch this film and judge its merits for themselves. I don't think the critics of this movie watched it very carefully.

I have great difficulty choosing between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick as far as a favorite. The stories are both wonderful with important and profound messages, as well as unique and interesting elements; but they are so dissimilar that a side-by-side comparison is not really feasible. The fact that the two are so different from one another is a good part of what makes them both incredibly special and a significant contribution to the realm of Science Fiction entertainment. I truly hope that if more films are added to this saga, they are equally original and surprising in content and style, instead of relying on formula or cookie cutter repetition like many series seem to.

J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See this movie!!!!!, June 16, 2004
By 
John A. Foster "knightemerald" (Middletown, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Went and saw this one last night. Have to admit, I was expecting something decent and somewhat entertaining. It was alot better than I expected. Edge of your seat action throughout the entire movie. I know that the critics were not too kind to this movie, but don't listen to them (When was the last time that you have heard of a critic that was in tune with the movie going public?). I am a science fiction movie fan, and this one delivered. I remember being so excited for the new star wars movies, and besides special effects, they never really lived up to my expectations. THIS movie is what the new star wars should have been. It was epic in it's scope, the story was fantastic and original, the special effects were incredible, and the acting was well done. I am not the biggest Vin Diesel fan, but his portrayal of the Riddick character has me completely captivated. I liked him in the Pitch Black "prequal" to this, and frankly, he made that movie. Now, to have this completely delving in to his character, was a fun ride for two hours. Even if you are marginally interested in sci-fi and action flicks, you should go see this. My wife even liked it, and she hates "ultra male" movies and really doesn't like sci-fi. Well worth your money to see this one!
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The Chronicles of Riddick (Steelbook) (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
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