More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.56

Awesome: 19.89%
Worth A Look35.8%
Average: 28.98%
Pretty Bad: 10.8%
Total Crap: 4.55%

12 reviews, 104 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Shape of Water, The by Jay Seaver

I, Tonya by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

Lucky (2017) by Rob Gonsalves

Breadwinner, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Pitch Black
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Vin Diesel becomes Vin Diesel."
4 stars

At first glance, "Pitch Black" appears to be derivative of every single sci-fi film ever made. At second glance, this is still true, but you notice something else: Despite its rip-offs (mostly of "Alien"), "Pitch Black" delivers not only on thrills and suspense, but on artistic direction and clever plotting.

A spaceship carrying 40 commercial passengers crash-lands on a desert planet on which there is conveniently plenty of oxygen, but no darkness, thanks to the planet's three suns.

Most of the passengers (as well as the pilot) are killed in the crash; among the survivors are the new captain-in-command Fry (Radha Mitchell), several Muslims, a British antiques dealer (Sting look-alike Lewis Fitz-Gerald), a police officer named Johns (Cole Hauser), and the dangerously murderous, Hannibel Lector-ish convict Riddick (Vin Diesel).

Riddick, a buffed-out, glassy-eyed, deep-voiced menace, escapes in the crash, leaving the survivors with two problems: One, there's no water and no apparent means of escaping the planet; two, Riddick could come out of hiding at any moment and start killing them.

Soon, though, a more important problem comes to light (so to speak). Hidden within caves, darkened buildings and anyplace else the sun doesn't shine are thousands of ferocious reptilian beasts. The light kills them, which means they shouldn't be a problem, since it never gets dark on this planet. Ah, but our heroes soon learn that every 22 years, there's a total solar eclipse, leaving the entire planet in utter darkness -- and it's been just about 22 years since the last one.

The idea of man-killing creatures that can only survive in darkness is a scary one, but kudos to this film for not making this into just another "aliens hunt down all the humans one-by-one" movie. Several characters do get killed off, but we are never made to think that these beasts are evil, or that they want to murder all humans. They're just hungry, untamed animals with no particular vendetta against anyone.

From the genuinely exciting crash-landing, through the crew's reluctant acceptance that Riddick may be their only hope of survival, up to the finale, "Pitch Black" shows more intelligence and heart than most films in its genre. Riddick is compared many times to the animals (both kill seemingly without remorse or reason, both fear the light), and there are several instances in which Riddick is assumed to be the cause of some noise or calamity, only to find it was the aliens instead (and vice versa). The animals even fight and kill each other -- something else the humans do.

Even among the humans, the question has to be answered: Who are the real killers? Who are the real monsters?

Attempts at character arcs among the leads, most of whom try, unconvincingly, to cover up their Australian accents, are, admittedly, half-hearted. Fry's seeming cowardice in the beginning of the film comes back in the end, but not in any eye-opening way, and the faint glimmer of humanity left in Riddick goes mostly unexplored, unfortunately. (Does a self-confident, evil-acting serial killer secretly have some desire to rejoin civilization? That would be a fascinating question to answer.)

But where the film fails in characterization (and again, even there, it's better than most), it succeeds gloriously in visuals. The film had no huge budget to make things explode all the time; instead, we're treated to some images that are truly arresting. There's the sun-bleached, almost black-and-white scenes when the survivors wander the desert terrain; the many point-of-view shots of how the aliens see the world; and many other terrific elements that suggest high artistic merit, if not a $100 million budget. You can't take your eyes of this movie, so engaging is the manner in which it is shot.

More importantly than director David Twohy's style and vision, though, is the simple fact that the movie entertains. It delivers action, suspense and thrills, all while being at least slightly ahead of the class when it comes to alien/sci-fi movies.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1801&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 17:28:42
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2016 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2016 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell i dont hate u scott ur right its derivative cool but derivative 4 stars
10/13/13 David H. didn't make sense to me 2 stars
2/01/13 jcar a very good scfi flick with good effects, acting, action, and diesdel kicking butt! 4 stars
1/29/12 hurdygurdy man Plot on thin ice, c'mon frosbitten and didn't cover gloveless hand?? Left me cold. 2 stars
7/24/10 bagwell5 A rip off of Alien, but still well done. Cole Hauser gives a great performance, 5 stars
6/09/10 Harvey Scott Great introduction to the Riddick character. LIked it! 4 stars
8/30/09 CTT Nicely realized sci-fi 4 stars
2/17/09 Samuel NIce aliens(called biorapters) awesome movie 5 stars
1/11/09 PAUL SHORTT NEITHER SCARY NOR EXCITING 1 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 2 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White Diesel's best movie so far 5 stars
10/13/07 Carlos Vin Diesals best movie hands down... 5 stars
8/11/07 TheRealNapster I loved this Film. It made it into my collection 5 stars
8/08/07 TigerSlap Erik Childress is so full of shit! This movie is great entertainment! 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Fun action thriller, but they could do a bit better than expected. 3 stars
1/18/07 David Pollastrini great action, great gore 5 stars
6/08/06 William Goss Shameless sci-fi rehash that is loads more fun than it has any right to be. 4 stars
3/10/06 Dk A poor mans Alien it never really gets going 2 stars
3/05/06 chris f brilliant film way better that the trashy sequel 5 stars
1/02/06 cody a alien ripoff but a cool scfi action flick with cool characters, but ending stunk 3 stars
12/08/05 JM Synth Mr Diesel's only genuinely good film 4 stars
8/12/05 ES Better than its piece of garbage sequel 4 stars
5/27/05 Jake Great, sci-fi fun 5 stars
12/31/04 Max Without Vin this movie would of bombed! 5 stars
11/14/04 Rachel I love this movie. Great script (for the most part) intensely funny moments, good acting 5 stars
9/04/04 alisha vanmaanen wierd but i was still held captive to the end 3 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Yeah, it's an Alien rip-off, but a good one 5 stars
7/26/04 Vince Totally agree wth Star-Crosser : great cinematography + Vin Diesel. Excellent. 5 stars
6/10/04 Ali Hbous A fine piece of Sci-Fi 4 stars
3/01/04 Star-Crosser The cinematography and Deisel's suprising charisma make it worthwhile. 5 stars
12/09/03 John Bale Like an old Saturday Arvo Serial but the imaginative photography makes it watchable. 3 stars
11/12/03 Twenty-Two YUMMMmmmmmm........ Vin Diesel! 5 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Extremely dull clone of Aliens. 1 stars
10/03/03 Timmy Best movie since "Aliens" 5 stars
7/08/03 Shawn Great Movie! Watch it a couple of times and it gets even better. 4 stars
5/28/03 Alana This film is awesome - Vin Diesel's best performance to date& excellent cinematography. 5 stars
5/27/03 mr. Pink An Alien rip-off, which isn't even a good one at that. Really dull! 1 stars
3/24/03 Sugarfoot I need no more proof, when I say that Scott Weinberg is a dumbass. 4 stars
12/31/02 Bob Hardcore Boring commercial crap. 1 stars
11/24/02 Sweetgrrl1972 It's super fun fantastic! Who goes to a movie like this to think anyway? 5 stars
9/23/02 Eloise i enjoyed the blood'n guts, the birdy monsters and Vin, yummeee 5 stars
7/05/02 KMG The little girl looked like Leaf Phoenix when he was in "Space Camp" 3 stars
6/11/02 Zefram Mann What would have been a throwaway flick is made great by the dynamic Diesel's character adds 5 stars
3/03/02 Butterbean Great Movie!!! I'm looking forward to the sequel! 5 stars
2/19/02 Katie Sheppard I loved it!!!! Vin Diesel is sooooooooooo sexy and he plays and awesome killer!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/14/02 Chris Bradford Im a big fan of Vin Diesel 5 stars
1/29/02 Gracy Lionheart Predictable, but fun to watch if you're in the right mood. Better than The Patriot any day. 4 stars
1/27/02 Andrew Carden Pretty Good For A Movie That Was In Theaters For Only 1 Month. 4 stars
12/11/01 Jim Reasonably suspenseful, cool cinematography, nasty aliens, and Radha Mitchell in a tank top 4 stars
10/31/01 Sumixam Not too bad, the creatures aren't overly exciting but a promising flick nevertheless 4 stars
10/04/01 Mark Conway Can i just say this is one of the crapest movies i have ever seen in my life. 1 stars
10/01/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good! but the ending was unexpected?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
8/14/01 Kitty It's an original movie plus Vin Diesel is in it! 4 stars
8/03/01 KC Au Pretty forgettable flick. Not scary. 3 stars
7/31/01 Robert best sci fi movie ever 5 stars
7/08/01 officer 412/l nice looking sci-fi on a low budget 3 stars
6/21/01 Beth The movie kicks ass Vin Deisel is a major hottie in it 5 stars
6/19/01 jessica ohh Vin, baby 4 stars
6/15/01 M Hatfield Wow! Wot a bod! 5 stars
6/14/01 Elaine Lewis Fucking Awesome 5 stars
6/11/01 ReeRee757 Mmmm...... Vin Diesel. Ay papi. Oh yeah, loved the movie too. 5 stars
5/29/01 Desire' Vin , baby you are sooooo fine!!! 4 stars
4/23/01 TigerDream Cool effects and all but still a crappy story to go with it and very dull 2 stars
2/06/01 Trashstar I liked the colour scheme of the movie, liked the charecters, almost awesome,bad ending. 4 stars
1/07/01 Toni That movie kicked so much ass I loved it! Vin ,baby you are hott! 5 stars
12/08/00 jetcat punchy, tidy script with cool filming style 4 stars
11/20/00 Matthew Bartley Thoroughly enjoyable 4 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin Made Deisel a rising star. 4 stars
11/14/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Pointless, derivative, and DULL!! I can't believe people actually dug this. 1 stars
11/13/00 Neil Not a bad movie with good effects and very origional 4 stars
10/18/00 terry c compared to anaconda this one shines 4 stars
6/08/00 Jaime N. Christley Underrated sci-fi actioner; fast, well-made, and SHORT 4 stars
6/01/00 Keiros Shoulda spent an extra coulple of million to make Alien5 2 stars
5/21/00 mellemel BORING! Why did I waste my money! 1 stars
5/19/00 MR joel harwood VERY DRY 4 stars
5/10/00 The worst killer alien movie I think I have ever seen. 1 stars
4/18/00 Brien kidna sucked 3 stars
4/12/00 Dr. Rev. Krule, MD Decent movie, well worth seeing Diesel, good special effects 4 stars
3/24/00 malcolm had some nice shots. too coincidental. Diesel eats up the screen. 3 stars
3/22/00 Adam Fun, that's it. 4 stars
3/21/00 bonedaddy what was with the glow worms 4 stars
3/21/00 El Tigre Turn off you brain and enjoy the ride. Vin is awesome. 4 stars
3/11/00 brentley Very entertaining, but script & FX could have been better. 4 stars
3/10/00 Kyle Broflovski I liked this movie better than it liked me. 4 stars
3/07/00 yankee this movie was tiring. Special effects was all there was. No plot what so ever 2 stars
3/03/00 Michael Thompson Decent fun Sci-Fi Fare 4 stars
3/01/00 PhilmPhreak Any sci fi is better than no sci fi 3 stars
3/01/00 DarkNyt Not as good as I expected, but much better than what it could have been. 4 stars
2/29/00 Captain Highcrime I've seen better; but on the up side, it could have been ALOT worse (Supernova, anyone?) 3 stars
2/26/00 Alyssa What Alien 3 SHOULD have been. Vin Diesel is incredible. 5 stars
2/26/00 Drano Cool as Fuck!! Vin Diesel kicks ass! 4 stars
2/25/00 Crispin Fully disagree with illiterate Erik. This is a well made and paced movie. 5 stars
2/25/00 Cheaps Never, ever complain about Star Wars again ! 3 stars
2/24/00 notspork are you crazy??? vin diesel is a fucking SUPERHUMAN. every female should see this movie. 5 stars
2/24/00 Wyatt Earp Way better than I expected 4 stars
2/23/00 Overflow Bitch Not bad. Expected more. 3 stars
2/23/00 Zensmile A pretty good movie. I thought the creatures were a bit hokey...but great scifi graphics. 4 stars
2/23/00 Kman Either an underfunded A film, or a well done B movie. Well worth seeing if you liked Aliens 4 stars
2/22/00 Louis Pretty good if you're bored on a saturday afternoon. 4 stars
2/22/00 Obi Wan Fucking Phat!!! Vin Diesel ROCKED in this flick. Loved it . ..expected nothing got plenty 5 stars
2/21/00 Judy Alan KICK ASS ACTION AND PRETTY DAMN SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/21/00 majawat could have been much worse 4 stars
2/21/00 Jerck Mehoff awsome 5 stars
2/21/00 Jason Kallelis Nothing special. Aliens with a few new twists. See it matinee if you want a cheap thrill 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  18-Feb-2000 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  18-May-2000


Directed by
  David N. Twohy

Written by
  David N. Twohy
  Jim Wheat
  Ken Wheat

Cast
  Vin Diesel
  Cole Hauser
  Radha Mitchell
  Ric Anderson
  David Keith



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast