Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban
Directed by David Twohy
Distributed by Universal Home Video
When word broke that there was going to be a sequel to Pitch Black, I was elated. Even better, both Diesel and director David Twohy were back in the saddle, so how could we possibly go wrong? Then it came out, and the first thing that troubled me was that the sequel to the R-rated horror film I loved so much was now PG-13. Um … Okay. To make matters worse, there were no more monsters. Instead we got Necromongers. That sounded cool, but still … no beasties?
The Chronicles of Riddick takes place five years after the events of Pitch Black. Riddick arrives on a planet called Helion Prime and finds himself taking on an invading empire (See: Necromongers) with plans to convert or kill all of the humans in the universe.
Not to beat a dead horse, but where the hell are the creatures? I’ll take toothy monsters over an invading army any day. While still good in its own right, this sequel abandons the formula that made the first film work so well, and in its place we get above average action set pieces. At least there’s an unrated director’s cu, which basically means we get more exposition and Riddick can say “fuck” a few more times. Yay.
As with the simultaneously released Pitch Black Blu-ray, all of the special features from the DVD and HD-DVD are present and accounted for with little to no new stuff for us to fiddle with. See below for exactly what they are.
Instead, let’s talk about the stars of this Blu-ray package — the U-Control viewing options. There are several different ways to watch The Chronicles of Riddick via U-Control. First up is a picture-in-picture viewing track that will play behind-the-scenes footage sporadically throughout the film as it’s running. The Complete Chronicles option will give you pop-up text based goodies that expand upon the mythology of the film and its characters. Anatomy of a Fight offers choreography information during the flick’s fight scenes, and finally The Chronicles Compendium viewing option offers yet more background information on various bits of the movie’s production. Phew, that’s a lot of ways to watch! It should also be noted that the disc is BD-Live enabled, but yet again no unique downloadable features were available at press time.
The Chronicles of Riddick may not have achieved the same level of cool and badassery of Pitch Black, but it still packs a hefty amount of punch. The movie no doubt looks and sounds a hell of a lot better on Blu-ray than it did on DVD, and it is completely on par with the HD-DVD release. If you’re a big fan and the plentiful U-Control viewing options get your goat, then hell yes, buy this flick immediately. If not — your DVD should suit you just fine.
3 1/2 out of 5
4 out of 5
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