More on Riddick

My Riddick post of earlier this week led to a flurry of comments, all of them weighing in about how much they loved the movie and how sad it is that we’re unlikely to see any more of them since Chronicles tanked at the box office. Strangely enough, not one person went on about how much they thought the movie sucked, and that’s a shame, because I was really hoping for some hate mail.

But I can’t stop thinking about Riddick and the vital question of Where It All Went Wrong. One commenter shared my unease with the whole Furyan legend, and I have to think this is getting to the root of the problem. There was (and correct me if I’m wrong) not even a hint of this whole mythos in Pitch Black, and one wonders how sequels would have fared had they just stuck to the Riddick-as-bad-ass without invoking the supernatural, the Underverse, and all that other potentially way-too-heavy baggage.

That said, I still think one of the biggest strengths of Chronicles is that it didn’t try to just do a Pitch Black 2. And now that I’ve done some more digging, I can’t say that I’m surprised to find out that Pitch Black 2 is precisely the direction that Hollywood was originally looking to take the movie.  Apparently Twohy initially handed the writing job to David Hayter, who proceeded to produce yet another Riddick vs. the Monsters flick.  Maybe it was great, maybe it was lame:  the only guy who’s read it and shared his thoughts online thought it was pretty much an Aliens 2 ripoff, and there’s no question that there would have been a high bar to clear to avoid that resemblance.  There’s also mention of another Riddick/Monsters script that may or may not have been a rewrite; it’s tough to judge a movie based on one lame excerpt, but the excerpt cited in this article certainly sounds it was part of a really awful script.

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10 Responses to “More on Riddick”

  1. paulB Says:

    he isnt playing Riddick but the new Vin Diesel film looks great

  2. Joni Says:

    Yes, well Riddick vs. another monster would have been too much the same thing, probably. Obviously it would have depended on how it had been done (like in Alien series) but Pitch Black was enough Alien rip-off for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked PB but similarities to Alien were pretty obvious but with enough spice of it’s own that it made it good.

    Now, what I would have liked would have been something along the lines of the Riddick animation. Heck, I would not minded some telepaths etc. supernatural as Riddick’s opponent but the Furian thing was probably too much.

    Anyway, I’m glad that Vin Diesel is making a new movie even if it’s not Riddick. Man Apart was one of the best action flick I have seen in long time.

  3. narciso Says:

    One interesting point that was in the novelization of “Pitch Black” but didn’t make it into the film, was that Riddick, was if not a good guy; a tortured anti-hero, betrayed
    and framed by the likes of the Marshal (Cole Hauser’s character). I agree that the
    Underverse and the all but explicitly inferred “Crusaders” ultimately went astray even though it looked good. He was really less than Zander Cage, but more likely the vengeful narcotics detective. It’s left unclear, why would Riddick be on a commercial transport at all. Things are not as they seem in the 26th Century, as they are in the 22nd.

  4. Phil Osborn Says:

    In spite of the fact that you didn’t mention your appearance at the OCSFC, I will mention a couple of books that you might want to look at, as they have significant similarities to “Mirrored Heavens,” which I’m going to buy now, for sure.

    I mentioned Varley’s “Steel Beach” at the meeting. It is truly a fun read and explores the theme of implanted or altered memories from the perspective of a computer that is trying to prevent an effective social meltdown, now that it has realized that it can pervert the internal reality of the people it is designed to protect – and that they may try to demand that it do so…

    The other one that comes to mind is Charles Stross’s “Glass House.” You’ve no doubt read or at least are familiar with his “Accelerando,” which was all the buzz at World Con ’06. I didn’t care for “Accelerando” that much. Too cold and cute. “Glass House” is a lot better read, and it revolves around a couple of characters – lovers who not only have their pasts erased and recreated, but who have apparently each changed sex as well. In the backstory the underlying theme is the transitory nature of identity, especially in a techno culture that can hack into transporters to replace people’s personal historys en masse.

    And then, of course, there’s Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” which is, allegedly a true story about a guy who had a complete psychotic break and then had his life’s memories erased with drug and electroshock, to emerge on the other side with a new, created identity, which seems perfectly normal and secure until he stumbles accross his old correspondence…

    Enjoy… I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  5. jW Says:

    Loved Riddick, but remember Pitch Black was really a low-budget overachiever in a niche market. I’ll bet over 75% of the people who saw Vin in “xXx” have never heard of “Pitch Black”.

    So they banked on Vin being a big enough draw, but the teenage tool who tattooed xXx on the back of his neck probably saw a necromonger and skateboarded for the exit. The cross-pollination of his fanbase might have worked if Riddick were a happier, safer, less awesome film.

  6. David J. Williams Says:

    @Phil–those sound like great recs, really appreciate it. Particularly the Varley one.

    @ JW: yeah, skateboarding for the exit is a good way to describe it. : )

  7. NewsCat Says:

    One of the appeals of Pitch Black is that the actors managed to convey a sense of a greater backstory that existed beyond the crappy script they were given. Characters seemed three dimensional (even if they weren’t) through mere suggestion. (Riddick being the most obviously interesting character and least explained in the original movie).

    Chronicles explains too much. It takes away from what you can imagine and turns out Twohy’s ideas were less than interesting. It’s a “Matrix Reloaded” problem. The artist’s imagination was limited. The first movie didn’t show you much, leaving you free to imagine a lot more. When they reveal a “show,” its often disappointing. (And some artists, be it J.K. Rowling or George Lucas can’t seem to leave ANYTHING up to the readers/viewers imaginations.)

    I remember reading a comic book that came out before Chronicles but after Pitch Black that had Riddick’s backstory. I don’t recall it following the movie but there is a scene in the comic where Riddick’s animal nature charms dogs. (In this case real dogs).

  8. David Williams Says:

    I think Matrix Reloaded didn’t show ENOUGH. They just ended up bogging us down in endless lame philosophy.

    And yeah, I’d heard about the comic book. There was also an animation short too, which I’m kind of afraid to order lest it be a travesty.

  9. Stepanie J. Says:

    After reading the script I would have to agree with everyone else that this is a bit too much like Alien 2. I really enjoyed Pitch Black (the movie as well as the book) and found Vin Diesel a really great addition to the story line which would be horrible if he didn’t return. I agree that the Chronicles of Riddick really did leave nothing to the audiences imagination which Pitch Black did so well. The budget costs would pobably split in half which is a big ordeal with Riddick lately. I would really like to see a new script created and actually end up making it finally!

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