Worth A Look: 35.8%
Pretty Bad: 10.8%
Total Crap: 4.55%
12 reviews, 104 user ratings
by the Grinch
Much like Roger Corman, David Twohy knows how to make an entertaining movie on a budget that's skimpier than Jennifer Lopez's summer wardrobe...and Pitch Black's immersive style, back-to-basics script, and surround-sound tomfoolery were far from disappointing...Ok, so Twohy's Arrival wasn't the most original or flawless thriller released in the past few years...but I liked it, dammit. A fairly intelligent movie that held my attention with very little razzle-dazzle...heck, it even had Charlie Sheen in it...when's the last time he's been in a decent movie?
"Hooray! Welding goggles are back in this year!"
If you say Men at Work, you're gonna get punched in the face!
Now Twohy brings us Pitch Black, a film that for all accounts could've easily become a glorified USA-Network movie starring Shadow Stevens, but rather becomes a slick and enjoyable horror movie under his direction.
Is this the most original flick to come out in years? No.
But what IS truly original? All the Alien comparisons being made makes me want to point out that Alien itself was "inspired" by earlier films like It: The Terror From Beyond Space and Joseph W. Campbell's The Thing From Another World. While the script may just be a bit too coincidental and ridiculous, I think if you analyzed those untouchable sci-fi and horror classics from way back, you'll find that many of them exercise your "suspension of disbelief" more than Fabio before a photo shoot. While the script may not be the life-affirming, slice-of-reality opus that many would've wished for, there's no point in the movie where I believed the writers didn't realize this. This story isn't going to win any Hugo awards, but noone ever intended
for it to...so loosen up, have some fun! This movie was made to entertain, and it succeeds!
Are the effects a pinnacle in computer generated imaging? Far from it. It's apparent that these guys were working on a strict budget, but at least the effects are used appropriately unlike some other films with exponentially higher budgets (I'm not naming any names here, but I'm in no way referring to
the Mummy, or Lost in Space). For the most part, the special effects in Pitch Black are adequate, and the skilled direction and editing give some credit to the viewer's imagination by not showing everything...what isn't seen is often more terrifying than what is seen, and this is more than suitable for PB's premise. Hey all you modern filmmakers, it's called Hitchcock, CHECK INTO IT!
The quality of direction, soundtracking, and visuals are the 3 biggest reasons to check this out. Well, 5 if you count Radha Mitchell's globulicious breasts or Vin Diesel's pects, depending on your point of view. The soundtrack is appropriately primal and pounding at all the right moments, the planet scenes are augmented by intense camera tricks and creative use of filters, and Twohy immerses the viewer in scene after scene. The film plays out very much like a comic book, a trend that I can't get enough of...the kinetic, panel-style sequences have much in common with recent films like The Matrix and Blade. For DVD owners, I would highly suggest picking this up for its rumbling 5.1 surround sound. And if you didn't see this in a THX or sufficiently equipped theatre, get some Preparation H for those anal fissures, 'cause you seriously got screwed.
The acting isn't phenomenal, but there's a colorful (albeit stereotypical) cast of characters. There's no big name actors here, which is preferrable to me because I know I'm going to see a MOVIE and not a Julia Roberts or Bruce Willis vehicle. There is a bevy of talented actors, such as Claudia "Farscape" Black, Vin "I've got a much cooler name than Van Damme" Diesel, Keith "I never age" David, and Cole Hauser (son of B-movie
veteran Wings Hauser). It's obvious from the start who's going to die horribly...and if you haven't figured out by now that anyone with a turban and shakey knees is inevitably going to get it, I suggest you watch Raiders of the Lost Ark again, or if that's rented out, get Jake Speed or Alan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold...those
are ALWAYS in.Even if you hate the film, there's previews for The X-Men and Ridley Scott's Gladiator beforehand - that's GOTTA be worth SOMETHING, right?
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1801&reviewer=156
originally posted: 04/09/00 07:21:56
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