Chronicles of Riddick

After the success of Pitch Black, director David Twohy was planning an epic Riddick trilogy, of which this movie would be the first. But when Chronicles tanked at the box office, the next two movies were scrapped, and Universal Studios contented itself with spinning off video games to recoup their losses: an effort that was assisted by the Chronicles DVD, which apparently sold pretty well. But the grander dreams were over. All that was left of a franchise that Twohy had hoped would dominate the SF landscape were fragments scattered here and there: two very different movies, those video games, and a couple of animated shorts.

And that’s a goddamn shame. Because I saw Chronicles again last night, and christ does it kick ass. The sweeping planetscapes (c’mon, any list of top ten SF planets would have to include Crematoria), the demented neo-gothic spaceships, the over-the-top costuming, and the nonstop action: Twohy and his team got a lot of stuff right. And Vin Diesel is a fucking star throughout:  he’s got undeniable charisma, and some really great lines too.  (“Shoulda taken the money, Toomes.”)

But I’m curious to hear what YOU guys think.  There are obviously a lot of folks out there who hated this movie, and this is your big opportunity to weigh in and tell me what you thought sucked.  Me, I think the movie’s central failing was the thing I like the most about it:  Twohy could have just made Pitch Black 2, but he elected to take things in a totally different direction, and take some chances while he was doing it.  Or maybe they should have stuck with the original Riddick origin legend—instead of him being a Furian, perhaps the original explanation of how he got his eyes fixed by a rogue surgeon on a prison planet was more in keeping with the gritty universe that Pitch Black was hinting at.  Or maybe 2004 just wasn’t ready for a big-budget, no-holds-barred, unapologetic space opera.

It’s too bad, though, because I for one would be up for a couple more.

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16 Responses to “Chronicles of Riddick”

  1. DVSman Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, Dave. Despite the movie having no major names (Dame whatsherface not withstanding), the production values were top notch and hinted at an “Epic-ness” that was to come.

    Given how many times I’ve seen the movie (and on DVD and most likely Blu Ray when it comes out), I had hoped the story line had the opportunity to continue. Not knowing the final fate of the characters – especially the “Keep What You Kill” business was and is disappointing to me as a sci-fi fan.

    While the movie industry does not seem to have a problem churning out rehash and remake, one after the next, the endless morass that actual good ideas seem to face only disappoints me even more.

    – Pak

  2. meesh Says:

    well i have to see both movies to really weigh in BUT i did do a righteous art collage a long time ago in philly with vin diesel. it was pretty awesome. but i gave it to my old roommate kelly. :-)

  3. Joni Says:

    I am a huge fan of Pitch Black and to a bit lesser extent of Chronicles of Riddick.

    My biggest grief was the whole furian thing. I would have wanted Riddick to be the badass ex-con that got his eyes at the prison. I am still divided on how I like the necro(something) but at least that was epic and upped the scale of the previous movie.

    I don’t know why people usually are dissing Vin Diesel. To me he is better action star than many other new ones (not to mention Steven Seagal or Van Damme). I think that he achieved what he went for, Conan in space.

    Although I am a tech freak and like ranged combat in movies and literature I have to admit that those knife fighting scenes in Riddick movies were mind blowing.

    I just hope that there will be a third Riddick movie that perhaps conveniently forgets all about this furian thing :)

  4. paulB Says:

    I thought the movie fcking rocked to be honest, shame it tanked because I had high hopes for the franchise. There was a lot of ideas that they could have worked with but such is life.

  5. Karen Says:

    I thought the Chronicles of Riddick rocked. When I first saw it I knew it was going to be an amazing epic. Too bad about the box office. Some people have too much vision for their own good. There just haven’t been any good SF epics at the movies lately. I’m dying for one!

  6. David Williams Says:

    the people have spoken! Riddick rules. And Joni’s comment about the Furians has got me wondering . . . . we’ve had reboots for Batman, Bond, the Hulk, and BG. . .why not a reboot for Riddick? I envision a crazy epic that starts right after Pitch Black and that takes the Chronicles in a totally different direction. Hell, stranger things have happened.

  7. Joni Says:

    Yes, something like that would be cool. Unfortunately I don’t see that one coming but I’m still hoping that I’m wrong :P

  8. David J. Williams » Blog Archive » More on Riddick Says:

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  10. Molly Says:

    I loved this movie all of it i like the fact he got his eyes due to his race or whatever this movie was amazing and im hoping there is more to come!

  11. orion Says:

    Both Movies where ahead of their time…..which is why they tanked..
    I was surprised that Vin actually was awesome in the movie and no one could have played the role better…Like TombRaider only one actor could ever play Lara Croft!

    I was so looking forward to another movie and I am disappoint that none will happen…hmmm wonder if Vin D would do a Fan Film?

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  13. Erik Says:

    I missed this post on the first and apparently second go-rounds. But I will go ahead and weigh in that I think both movies are great. Pitch Black is quite possibly a top 5 all time best in sci-fi cinema, right there with Alien. Pacing, mood and quality understated acting combined for a great experience.

    I think Chronicles stylistically was amazing. Epic in scope and also in execution. Some of the best sci-fi visuals I can recall. But I think where it falls a bit in my mind is the deviation from the character of Riddick as we learned of him in the original. I think the Furian thing would be a good thing to edit out of the series in a reboot.. There was something very satisfying with Riddick being this cut throat killer who is reviled and feared, yet in the end of Pitch Black is shown in a bit more of a redeeming light vs an alien with a mean streak.

    Anyway, I leave you with this.. yesterdays news about the upcoming 3rd installment that is already green-lit.

    I have high hopes when I read this quote from said article: “This is The Road Warrior to Pitch Black’s Mad Max.”

  14. David Williams Says:

    Well, I guess I know what tomorrow’s blog post is going to be about . : )

    Stay tuned.

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