Film Review – Pitch Black (2000)

3 09 2008

A space shuttle crashes on a deserted planet, with only a handful of survivors, including Richard B. Riddick, an escaped convict who was being transfered back to prison. The planet is constantly lit by three suns and seems to be entirely deserted, until the survivors start to look underground.

Here is a trailer:

I saw this film many years ago, possibly near the time of its original release, and eight years after its appearance at the cinema I thought I’d re-watch it to see if my feelings towards it had changed. Now, I am not a fan of Vin Diesel, I think he is pretty poor to be honest. He always seems to deliver his lines with an exaggerated mumble at best, along with always playing a similar role in most of his films, it is hard to find aspects to like. Yet if you look back at his filmography, ‘Pitch Black’ is the first of his roles where he plays this type of character, and I wonder whether he is capable of more but has been typecast by Hollywood and himself resulting in his similar parts.

I haven’t seen too many of Diesel’s films, but of those I have seen, he never does better than he performs in this film. I was able to sit back and forget how dull Diesel usually is, and enjoy the film because of him rather than despite him. In fact, I think he is one of the better characters in the film giving one of the better performances. Granted there is only a cast of 10 or so, and no-one gives a particularly terrible performance, but Diesel did well and you could actually understand what he was saying most of the time.

The story-line is an interesting one with quite a cool concept for a suspenseful action film, even if the major plot point of the film is one hell of a coincidence that they should be there at that specific moment in time. But the story wouldn’t really work without it so I guess I’ll cut the writers some slack.

The advancement of CGI becomes clear and apparent whenever you watch a film from years ago that required its use, and it is a shame that Pitch Black falls victim of poor CGI by modern standards. I’m sure that at the time of release this might have been accepted, but it does not hold up today. The creatures aren’t matched to the scene in a way that makes them believable, it is overly apparent that the actors are swiping in the air against nothing. Where as today a creature placed in the scene can seem as real as any actor or object. It seems as though bad CGI won’t harm a good film, but good CGI can make a bad film seem good, which seems unfair somewhat.

As you have probably guessed, I enjoyed Pitch Black, I enjoyed it the first time I watched it, I still enjoy it now, and I’ll probably watch it in a few years time and enjoy it then. It isn’t perfect, but then again, I can’t think of many films that are perfect. If you are looking for a low budget (since 23 million dollars is pretty low in the mad world of film finance), simple Sci-Fi thriller, you could do worse than give Pitch Black a watch.





One response

10 09 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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