6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
(BLU RAY REVIEW) Derivitave but well-executed sci-fi horror
, September 7, 2013
This review is from: Pitch Black (Steelbook) (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
I remember seeing this film for the first time in theaters, not expecting much and boy was I surprised. I liked it then and I like it now, especially on this nice cleaned up Blu ray version. The derivative story features a transport ship on its way to New Mecca, some sort of outpost in outer space. The crew and passengers are all in a condition of induced stasis. When their ship is penetrated by fragments of a comet or meteor, the crew is awakened as the ship plummets to a nearby planet. With the captain killed before he could awake, the ship is now the responsibility of the pilot, Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell). She manages to crash land the craft but not before having to eject most of the passengers in the aft sections of the ship.
A handful of survivors includes a group of young Muslims under the guidance of Imam Abu (Keith David), a cop/mercenary known as Johns (Cole Hauser) and his prisoner Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel). The planet has 3 suns and is constantly in daylight. It is barren but for the remnants of a mining camp except no humans are there. Evidence suggest that the camp was wiped out 22 years earlier during a complete solar eclipse. And guess what it's that time again. So why is that a problem? Evidently the only other creatures on the planet only come out when its dark...and they are hungry.
Riddick is not a good guy, but there is some sympathy for his character, but I can't put my finger on why. Diesel does a good job, keeping the guy mean and angry, yet with a small streak of humanity. Riddick has an unusual physical component to his character. He has some sort of artificial eyes that allows him to see in pitch black but require strong sunglass-goggles during daylight. Certainly the film borrows heavily from "Alien" and other creature features and once on the planet, it is more horror than thriller or science fiction. In fact some of the science is ludicrous, but who cares. I've always liked this movie and still do. It wears its "R" rating with pride.
If some of you like me were contemplating whether to upgrade to Blu ray, make the jump. This 1080p transfer retains the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the film and it looks great. The first half of the film includes some excellent color rendition, even after the ship crash lands. Certainly the barren planet has plenty of browns in the mix but overall it looks great. The biggest difference however is with the excellent detail in the imagery, especially close-ups of the actors. The skin shows the blemishes, cuts, bruises down to the finest hair follicle. The second half of the film is mostly in the dark with ambient lighting the characters come up with. That is fluorescents, torches, flashlights and such. The blacks are deep and the variations are solid.
The audio comes in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with subtitles in French, Spanish and English SDH. It is spectacular. The film has plenty of opportunity to flesh out the audio, beginning with the rollicking space ship going down from the space debris. The creatures of the night will have you ducking as they come from everywhere and perhaps most impressive is the sound mix during the heavy rainstorm in the final chapter. Extras include both the theatrical cut and an unrated cut which adds 4 whole minutes to the running time. There are 3 commentary tracks, a "making of" documentary, deleted scenes, a visual effects featurette and more.
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