Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #96: "Pitch Black" (2000)

Movie Stats:
Released 2000 (USA)
American, in English (tiny amount of non-translated Arabic)
Director - David Twohy
Stars - Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser

Plot Summary:
When a transport ship crashes on a desert planet, the survivors face a deadly enemy and are forced to rely on the skills of a dangerous criminal to save them. Diesel stars as the criminal, Richard B. Riddick; Hauser as the man trying to bring him back to prison, William J. Johns; and Mitchell as one of the transport’s pilots, Carolyn Fry.

Graphic violence; gore; blue language.

Bad Stuff:
The special effects haven’t aged well at all.

Good Stuff:
I was going to complain about Riddick as a character because he’s supposed to be this hardcore bad-ass (which he is) but he’s also an annoying shit (never answers a question straight) and a total creeper. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that it was really excellent, complex character development, and that’s a good thing.

Unlike a lot of horror/sci fi, it did a good job of answering questions I had. For example, [SPOILER] “Since they’ve already eaten everything on the planet, what do the aliens eat if they come out and there’s nothing there?” I asked out loud. Twenty minutes later, cue a scene of them eating each other. [SPOILER] The only thing it didn’t answer was why the transport crashed to begin with, but I suppose that’s not terribly relevant to the story.

Sure, a lot of it is a pretty standard monster movie, but most of the tension comes from the survivors interacting with each other. It’s an interesting character study.

The Verdict:
The first time I saw this movie, it wasn’t very long after 9/11/01, and I remember being terribly upset by it (especially by a particular thing that happens toward the end). It’s funny to me to think of now. The movie has nothing to do with 9/11, but the violence of it simply wasn’t what I needed so soon after the violence of 9/11. Even so, I recalled liking it. I was happy to discover, upon a second viewing, that it’s even better than I remembered, a great deal more complex and layered. It’s not about the monsters. It’s about the people and how they find redemption (or don’t). It falls a little more toward horror than sci fi for me, but I still think it’s an excellent choice for this list.

I give it 4.25 stars.


Patricia said...

I was also pleasantly surprised by this movie, which I watched as a part of a Vin Diesel marathon.

I'm glad story points were adequately explained. :-)

balyien said...

I'm a little surprised you saw this! I know you're not big on violent movies.