THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
For about thirty minutes, “The Chronicles of Riddick” is edge-of-your-seat entertaining. The rest of the two-hour run-time is an overproduced and underwhelming jaunt into dense science fiction. What was first a minimalist, survival thriller in “Pitch Black,” became an adventure in an overproduced and underwhelming science fiction world with too many story-lines and much too dense material. “Pitch Black” was one planet, one group of people surviving in an unknown environment against unknown creatures. Riddick was the anti-hero, a convict in transit, let loose but eventually the savior. In “Chronicles of Riddick,” he’s on the run and suddenly involved with some substantial back story about a race of Necromongers causing genocide.
Vin Diesel is back as Riddick and still embodies the role with effectiveness all his own. But apart from his gruff charm and quick tongue, no one else can quite hold their own. The thirty or so minutes entertaining revamp the structure of the original story from “Pitch Black,” placing Riddick in prison where he and several other convicts must escape. Descending the pit where convicts are thrown and escaping the planet called Crematoria, named for its obliterating sunlight, causing most of the excitement and suspense of the film. With some strange performances from Karl Urban, Thandie Newton, and Judi Dench, most of the film is just another launching point for Diesel to show off his action movie skills and set up for yet another sequel. The lesson we learn from “Chronicles of Riddick” is to get rid of the unnecessary and overly flashy CGI and the dense plot and stick to the basics.
June 11, 2004
(for sci-fi action and terror, and brief strong language)
Yorick van Wageningen