Riddick Trilogy (Pitch Black / The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury / The Chronicles of Riddick)
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Journey to a remote, hostile planet with a group of marooned passengers who learn that escaped convict Riddick isn't the only thing they have to fear in Pitch Black. Then, see him battle ruthless soldiers of fortune and vicious creatures in renowned animator Peter Chung's The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury. And finally, Riddick finds himself humanity's unlikely champion in the special effects-fueled The Chronicles of Riddick. Join Riddick in three times the action, three times the adrenaline and three times the adventure as the Riddick Trilogy makes complete one of the greatest sci-fi epics of all time!
Owing a major debt to Alien and its cinematic spawn, Pitch Black is a guilty pleasure that surpasses expectations. As he did with The Arrival, director David Twohy revitalizes a derivative story, allowing you to forgive its flaws and submit to its visceral thrills. Under casual scrutiny, the plot's logic crumbles like a stale cookie, but it's definitely fun while it lasts.
A spaceship crashes on a desert planet scorched under three suns. The mostly doomed survivors include a resourceful captain (Radha Mitchell), a drug-addled cop (Cole Hauser), and a deadly prisoner (Vin Diesel) who quickly escapes. These clashing personalities discover that the planet is plunging into the darkness of an extended eclipse, and it's populated by hordes of ravenous, razor-fanged beasties that only come out at night. The body count rises, and Pitch Black settles into familiar sci-fi territory.
What sets the movie apart is Twohy's developing visual style, suggesting that this veteran of B-movie schlock may advance to the big leagues. Like the makers of The Blair Witch Project, Twohy understands the frightening power of suggestion; his hungry monsters are better heard than seen (although once seen, they're chillingly effective), and Pitch Black gets full value from moments of genuine panic. Best of all, Twohy's got a well-matched cast, with Mitchell (so memorable with Ally Sheedy in High Art) and Diesel (Pvt. Caparzo from Saving Private Ryan) being the standouts. The latter makes the most of his muscle-man role, and his character's development is one more reason this movie works better than it should. --Jeff Shannon
Dark Fury - The Chronicles of Riddick (Animated)
Taking a page from The Animatrix, Dark Fury is part of a new trend of bridging theatrical sequels. As an official product of a franchise, the 35-minute anime benefits from having the original actors voice the characters, including Vin Diesel as Riddick. This story opens with the new action hero and the two other survivors of Pitch Black already caught by a giant spaceship filled with dread. The sinewy leader has a unique--and creepy--jail for master villains and she has her sights set on Riddick. The film--indeed the series--is indebted to animator Peter Chung, who brings his techno style from his Aeon Flux series. His smooth animation for Riddick doesn't reinvent the character as much as give him a new, appealing fluidity. As anime goes, there's nothing really new here--plenty of action, cool killers, and dramatic spurts of blood--but it's a building block for how this genre might enliven movie series and sequels in the future. --Doug Thomas
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I was a big fan of Pitch Black when I first saw it so I was thrilled when I heard they were making a second one. That thrill turned into a bit of an emotional roller coaster however once I finally saw the second film as it was a good film in it's own right but nothing like the first and not at all what I was expecting.
So, to review this set, you really have to review each film individually.
Limited spoilers ahead (I am reviewing three installments of a trilogy here)
A space ship filled with pilgrims, colonists, a bounty hunter and his bounty, crash land on a strange planet. The survivors of the crash quickly find out that this planet is inhabited by strange and dangerous creatures that only come out at night which doesn't seem like much of an issue on a planet with two suns until they realize that both of those suns are about to "set" (an eclipse if I'm not mistaken) for a very long time. Now it's a race against time to find a way off the planet.
Chronicles of Riddick:
Riddick (the main character from the first film) is tracked down by bounty hunters on the ice planet where has taken refuge. He proceeds to fight off the bounty hunters, steal their ship and hunt down the man who sold him out as well as the girl that man was charged with protecting. Somewhere along the line Riddick gets caught up in the middle of a galactic war, in comes Karl Urban cue the "we need you" "It's not my fight" mantra and you basically have your classic sci-fi action flick.
This is an animated film that was released last and attempts to fill in the gaps between the first and second films. In this installment, the survivors from Pitch Black are picked up by a Bounty Hunter ship and basically have to fight their way off.
Pitch Black = Survival Horror
Chronicles = Sci-fi action thriller
Dark Fury = Animated Sci-fi action thriller short film
Now, as I've said, all three are good films in their own right, but you really need to know, going in, what each is about and understand beforehand that they're not all the same.
As far as I'm concerned, the animated film is a separate piece and more like a short so all I'm really comparing here is the first and second movie. And if I'm doing that, taking into account their differences, I would have to say that I prefer Pitch Black. But again, all three are pretty good and the collection itself is well worth it.
The package I received contained two disks.
DISK 1: Pitch Black & Dark Fury.
This disk contains the movie Pitch Black and the short Anime, Dark Fury which acts as a bridge between Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick. Both movies are unrated and contain additional footage compared to the rated release. A variety of bonus features are present on the disk including The Making of Pitch Black, how Dark Fury bridges the gap between the movies, Commentary with a variety of the cast and crew.
DISK 2: The Chronicles of Riddick
This disk contains the unrated version of Chronicles of Riddick. This movie gives more back story into Riddick as well as provide some form of closure for the character. Included on the disk are bonus features; Deleted scenes, How they did the Visual Effects, Audio commentary and a few other small featurettes.
OVERALL this is a nice pack that brings both movies and the bridging anime episode together into one set. The movies are both presented Anamorphic Widescreen while Dark Fury is Standard Widescreen. All three are in Dobly 5.1 and visually look great. A perfect set to add to a collection.
The animated film in between I would have to say is not really worth it. First of all, it's short. The term "Trilogy" is kind of misleading because you think this is another feature film, but it's more like a short film than an actual feature film. It's only about half an hour long and features just one isolated incident that doesn't really tie itself or affect the main plots of either full-length feature films. More like a side story. I thought that it would talk about how they got separated and how the ending of Pitch Black where they leave together turned out to them scattered throughout the galaxy and how the grudge between some of them ignited, but it turns out this short animated film shows none of that. And to be honest, the animation style itself is not that great. It is like the kind of animation from the old MTV Aeon Flux cartoon, which I never liked anyhow.
Overall, the set is a pretty good value as buying the two Special Edition Director's Cut feature films separately would probably cost more and would take up more room in your collection, but don't have too high of expectations to see something new in the Dark Fury animated short. Personally, I would have paid a little more if this included the game Escape from Butcher Bay because that was a much better addition to the series than Dark Fury. But I know packaging DVD's with games is not typically what happens, haha, too bad.
Now we need a new set with RIDDICK.
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