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Pitch Black (Blu-ray)

Pitch Black on Blu-rayReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Vin Diesel, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald

Directed by David Twohy

Distributed by Universal Home Video


Before Vin Diesel starred in video games or pacified babies in family comedies, he played one of the most badass monster fighting, criminal anti-heroes our genre has ever seen. Even ten years later Pitch Black remains an amazing little movie, and now that the Blu-ray is here, it’s time to figure out whether or not it’s worth a double-dip.

For the uninitiated, Diesel plays Riddick, a futuristic outlaw who is captured by a bounty hunter and headed to prison for multiple charges of manslaughter. Along the way things go very wrong for our prison transport, and now all parties concerned are forced to fight for their lives against darkness-dwelling monsters with a hunger for human flesh. Really that’s all you need to know. The movie speaks volumes for itself.

Now then, you’re sitting there with your DVD in your hand wondering if you should buy the Blu-ray. Let’s address the basics first — picture and sound. The quality, as you may expect, far surpasses its DVD cousin. The picture is crisp, but I have to mention that given the extra clarity, some of the CGI monsters look a bit too CG. Still, the movie has never looked better. The new Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround track is a huge step up from the DVD release and a tiny leg up from the ill-fated HD-DVD release from a couple of years ago. Nothing spectacular, but still good stuff.

Pitch Black on Blu-rayThe sucky thing? Most of the special features have been ripped directly from the DVD and the HD-DVD with little deviation. From the DVD you get the two commentaries and the featurettes, and from the HD-DVD you get all of the exclusive content that it had (i.e., John Chases Log in which actor Cole Hauser narrates text screens that explain the state of mind his character is in throughout the film).

Exclusive to Blu-ray are the U-Control options, which offer two different picture-in-picture making-of tracks; one is called Pitch Black Raw and gives us raw footage of the actors acting in front of a blue screen sporadically throughout the movie, and the other is a more traditional visual EPK filled with interviews and various behind-the-scenes stuff. Finally the disc is BD-Live enabled, but as of press time I didn’t see any special features available for access. In a nutshell that’s it.

So really, the double-dip this time is up to you. If the 1080p video boost and new audio track aren’t important enough to warrant an extra purchase in your opinion, then you are fine with your DVD. The U-Control stuff is cool, but honestly? Pretty extraneous. However, if you don’t already own the movie and you’ve got the tech, this is a can’t miss package. Click the links below and order away!

Special Features:

  • BD-Live enabled
  • Exclusive Blu-ray U-Control viewing options
  • Unrated director’s cut of the film
  • Feature commentary with Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, and director David Twohy
  • Feature commentary with director David Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiag
  • An Introduction by David Twohy
  • The Game Is On featurette
  • The Johns Chase Log featurette
  • The Making-of Pitch Black featurette
  • Dark Fury: Advancing the Arc featurette
  • The Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia
  • A View into the Dark featurette

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.