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An Excellent use of Sci-Fi as a story telling medium
ParanoidAndroidMarvin8 April 2002
While most movies that pit humans against horrendous extra terrestrials end up being cheap imitations of the 'Aliens' series, Pitch Black stands as a fine piece of Sci-Fi, and an excellent movie all around. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the film is the lighting. This movie beautifully employs many different colors, shades and intensities of light which set the mood and lend a unique feeling to the film itself, something different than the 'normal' movie lighting we are generally subjected to. Vin Diesel brings his character to life in an excellent manner, skillfully avoiding the routine portrayal of the hardened criminal. After all, the film is about Riddick's (Diesel's character) personal journey, so thankfully Vin doesn't drop the ball. The remainder of the cast (with the exception of the talented and gorgeous Claudia Black) were unknown to me but all turned in marvelous performances, animating the diverse characters with unique quirks and mannerisms. Pitch Black is a perfect example of making a great film with out the resources of an excessive budget. The special effects are more than adequate, but at the same time they are by no means the sole focus, as in many high budget 'blockbusters'. It's a great movie because it uses Science Fiction as a medium to tell an engaging, provoking story, rather then telling a mediocre story to use the flash of Science Fiction.
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How to survive in pitch black?
NightfallRaven10 May 2005
Pitch Black is a survival story. It's about how to survive in an hostile, alien world against even more hostile enemies. The task gets even more difficult when the nearest enemies can be found within your own surviving group.

The plot of Pitch Black is quite usual and has been seen several times before in different variations. But what makes this movie shine above others, is it's well-written characters.

The group consists of very different people with few more interesting than the others: Jack, a boy with a secret; Fry, a pilot having hard time with her own conscience; Johns, a bounty- hunter with a drug-habit; Imam, a holy man facing the fact that God is sometimes cruel and Riddick, a convict and a murderer learning to value others, not only himself. Characters start to live in the movie. They aren't only paper like in many other movies of this genre. You start to care for the characters, especially for Riddick though that feels quite odd. He is supposed to be the bad guy. In this movie, the line between light and pitch black is very thin. All characters are familiar with both.

Other thing that works in this movie is the casting. Rarely do actors fit to their roles this well. Radha Mitchell is suitable for Fry. Cole Hauser brings the right amount of cruelness and sense of responsibility for Johns. But the most impressive work is done by Vin Diesel. He does great job as Riddick. In his hands Riddick is quite creepy, definitely very dangerous and also deep character, just as he is supposed to be.

So, how do you survive in Pitch Black? Keep your friends close and enemies even closer.
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This is a great film! If this is your genre', you won't be disappointed . . .
charles00028 September 2011
I will admit, I was already a fan of Serenity, Riddick Chronicles and all that, so I did go into this film with a bit of predetermined anticipation. On the flip side, I'm not always that much of a Vin Deisel fan, in that he is somewhat mono-dimensional in his range of characters, but for the embodiment of Riddick, he does fit perfectly. As for the story and how it plays out, the pace is good, not too encumbered with gratuitous special effects and all that, but where it does fit, the CGI is well done and appropriate.

The one really glaring technical defect in this story is how everyone just gets out and starts walking around, breathing in the air without the slightest concern for differences in the atmosphere, microbes and so on, but this is a common flaw that is often somehow glossed over in many such stories, so I can't harp on that detail too much.

As for Radha Mitchell, she is smokin' hot here, not in a ridiculous or frivolous way, but as her tough, seasoned interplanetary merchant marine ship's captain character "Fry", she nails it perfectly. If anything, she very much reminds me of Andrea Osvart (see her as the Hungarian assassin "Gilda" in the film "Two Tigers").

Now, if these two ladies ever appeared together in a film, I would drop everything and go check that out in a heartbeat . . . but I digress.

In any case, I have no trouble with granting 8 stars to "Pitch Black".
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Complex, detailed and immensely satisfying film
atalanta-36 June 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This is without doubt the most exciting and satisfying film I've seen in years! The plot seen in print is almost banal- a ship crashes on a desert planet with three suns, the survivors have to adjust to the landscape and each other, then darkness falls and the monsters appear. Pilot Fry, after a moment of cowardice during the descent through the atmosphere when she almost jettisoned the passengers, takes charge of the group and enlists the help of convicted murderer Riddick to lead them through the darkness to the escape ship - he's the one with surgically enhanced eyes that can see in the dark. But it's really not that simple - every character is complex, three-dimensional, with conflicting traits so you never quite know who's good and who's bad.

The performances are uniformly superb - Radha Mitchell shows Fry steeling herself for leadership, overcoming her own fears, and trying to prevent further bloodshed, while Cole Hauser, as the man taking Riddick back to custody, shows he has his own agenda and his own idiosyncratic standards. But the film belongs to Vin Diesel as Riddick - he has the most magnetic screen presence I've seen in years. For much of the film his face is in shadow, and he doesn't actually say a great deal, but he draws your attention all the same. Sometimes he draws your attention by not speaking - or by not moving. And Diesel doesn't trivialise the character, as could so easily be done, by giving him a "heart of gold" - Riddick is still one mean and vicious man as they approach the ship - he just lets us glimpse those first tentative steps from caring only for the self to caring for others.

Technically the film is very good. The lighting effects are excellent at both ends of the spectrum - the overbright triple sunlight and the pitch darkness. Special effects showing both Riddick's and the monsters' points of view add to the suspense, as do sound effects of the monsters flying and using ultrasound to "see" (the monsters themselves are anatomically plausible and suitably frightening). Editing is so tight it's almost jarring at times - there is literally no padding in this film, no fades, no time to re-orient yourself.

From the opening shot to the end of the credits you have to keep your wits about you. Every scene, every line of dialogue, every single camera shot is important. See it three times to understand it all.

My only caveat is about the science - the solar system as shown in the model is impossible (planets revolve around suns, not vice versa). However, that doesn't affect the human story, so I haven't taken points off for it.
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Interesting and entertaining with a good cast of mostly unknowns and great special effects.
trehling18 February 2000
The opening scene of this movie is pretty incredible. I've seen a number of sci-fi movies with great special effects but my roommate and I looked at each other after the opening sequence and he said plainly, "sensory overload." The plot of the movie is pretty simple but the nice thing about this sci-fi movie is that it lets the audience figure out most of the technology for themselves instead of wasting time to "subtly" explain it. The creatures in this movie are also very interesting. You don't get a really good look at them until about two thirds of the way through. Overall, a very entertaining movie.
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Surprisingly fun!
MovieAddict201627 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I must say that I didn't expect much sitting down to watch "Pitch Black," but I got a lot back, in terms of excitement and pure fun. It's the type of flick where you can just lean back, relax, and have a great time just being entertained. This isn't a deep film by any means. Everything that it offers is either recycled or ripped off of other movies such as "Alien," "Predator" or such. But when I watch a rip-off, I want it to be good, and this rip-off is great.

It opens with a galaxy of stars. Some of the greatest films of all time open with this type of scene - "2001," "Star Wars," "Alien," "Predator." A ship is cruising through space when inside the entire cryogenically frozen crew is awoken. The ship has been hit by something. They crash land on a nasty little planet with three suns. Everyone flocks out of the ship when they find that their prisoner transport, Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel), has escaped confinement. They scan the desert planet in search of him and eventually find him, but they have no way of getting their ship to fly again. They search the planet for water and civilization but it seems that everyone suddenly disappeared from the planet not too long ago.

Then they find out that every 22 years the planets line up in a solar eclipse and the entire planet turns pitch black. There also happen to be hoards of aliens that thrive in darkness living on the planet - what are the chances? They happen to be on the planet right as the eclipse happens - what are the chances? And Riddick has a rare talent - he can see in the dark - again, what are the chances?

There seems to be a lot of coincedence in this movie, but a film like this isn't out to get Oscars for originality or believability. It's there to entertain the audience - it does so with ease. Vin Diesel is a big gorilla of a man with no acting talent whatsoever. But I've got to say if there's anyone who can fit the part of a trashy, homicidal felon it is Diesel. Listen to him mutter, "He did not know who he was fu**ing with." Great stuff.

The aliens in this movie are a mix between hammerhead sharks, those from "Alien" and Predators. They've got long, horizontal heads like a hammerhead, the quick-moving agility of the aliens, and the stealth of a Predator. I assume David Twohy (director and writer of the movie) didn't expect audiences to believe his creatures were truly something never seen before. At least I hope not.

"Aliens Redux" might be a better name for this movie, but then again, it is better than both the second and third "Alien" films put together. In a time when apparently ended series are getting revived - "Terminator 3," "Alien 5," "Predator 3," "Alien vs. Predator" - "Pitch Black" stands out as a new series altogether. Two more sequels are planned. Let's just hope they don't get carried away. I can just picture it twenty-five years from now: "Aliens vs. Predator vs. Pitch Black Aliens: *The Fight of the Year."

*Fight of the Year title may be shared with the upcoming film "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael vs. Leatherface vs. Norman Bates vs. Alien vs. Predator vs. Terminator vs. James Cameron vs. Barny the Dinosaur."

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The next Alien...
HAZEL-520 February 2000
From the first 10 seconds of Pitch Black I was hooked. I had walked into this movie thinking that it would be just another cheesy sci-fi movie. Instead I found a highly entertaining, on the edge of your seat, thought provoking action film. The movie goes beyond your basic special effects flick. The actors are amazing, Radah Mitchell (High Art, Love and other..) as Fry is truly a joy to watch on screen, while Vin Diesel as Riddeck is so captivating that you are dying just to hear him speak again.

The look of the movie is breath taking, the contrast of blues, yellows and oranges due to the three different suns is amazing. Followed by the complete darkness of nightfall. I would truly recommend any lover of the ALIEN movies or Radha Mitchell (which is why I went to see it) to check out this film. I'm sure by the end you'll look at the dark in a whole new way.
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Relentless and gorgeous sci-fi action film
mstomaso10 September 2006
Let me waste a moment of your time to explain how I approached this film. 1st I dismissed the trailers out of hand because the film appeared to be an uncredited remake of Aliens, which I consider to be one of the weakest films in the Alien series. Stupidly continuing to dismiss the film after I heard positive things about it from people whose opinions I trust, I missed the theatrical run completely. I then became hooked on Farscape, in its 3rd or 4th season at the time, and found Pitch Black on cable one night around bed time - so I said "oh why not, at least it has Claudia Black in it." Soon, I recognized Keith David, and began to realize that Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell and Cole Hauser could all act (why this should surprise me, I do not know). I was captivated. I have now remained captivated for four years. I just watched the film for the 3rd or 4th time, and I still love it.

This is not an art film, not an independent, and its not entirely original, but where it fails to break a lot of new ground, it utterly succeeds in providing interesting, realistic characters, hard-driving action in the medium of a compelling but simple plot, and non-stop entertainment; an absolutely beautiful environment with tastefully rendered special effects. Sound to good to be true? Don't take my word for it... see it for yourself.

The film also highlighted the charisma of the now somewhat iconoclastic Vin Diesel, introducing the character of Richard Riddick. Diesel would go on to star in the somewhat Riddick-ulous Chronicles thereof (which I also enjoyed, though recognizing its rather huge flaws) and is now something of a legend. Diesel is so charismatic, so big, and so interesting to watch that it is easy to ignore the fact that he is not only a talented actor, but a smart one too. Checking out the DVD version of Pitch Black, with the audio comments on might just blow you away.

The film is about the crew of an inter-system transport ship stranded on an unknown planet after a crash-landing in which their captain was killed. The new commander is inexperienced but bright and heroic (Mitchell), but she is caught between two dominant and dangerous personalities - a bounty hunter with secrets (Hauser) and a dangerous criminal who has been surgically altered to see in the dark (Diesel). Is that all? Of course not - the planet is inhabited, and the inhabitants are hungry.

As unoriginal and improbable as some of this may be, Pitch Black is beautifully filmed, well told, and very nicely performed. Don't expect to learn anything, and don't expect to have to think a whole lot, but do expect to have fun with this modern sci-fi action classic.
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A great character-driven, action packed Sci-Fi movie
KristinaElora28 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Pitch Black" was a complete shock to me when I first saw it back in 2000. In the previous years, I was repeatedly disappointed by all the lame sci-fi movies (Ex: STARSHIP TROOPERS) and thought that this movie wouldn't be any different. But to plainly put it: This movie freaked me out... in a good way. I wasn't aware that I was still afraid of the dark till I watched this movie; I must have buried my fear in the back of my subconscious when I was a kid and it rightfully deserves to stay there.

The alien creatures sent shivers up my spine; the individual(s) who designed them have a twisted but brilliant and creative imagination to come up with something so impressive and grotesque.

I loved how the writers gave each main character a history and showed their flaws and strengths without much confusion.

Riddick's (Vin Diesel) gift for escaping out of any impossible situation and putting up a hell of a fight was jaw dropping. At first, you figure him out to be a coldly intelligent villain but in some brief moments, you can see something humane behind his animal side. But as soon you discover it, he does something maliciously devious. He certainly keeps you guessing right up to the very end. I didn't know whether to despise or admire him... he's definitely a love/hate type of character.

Johns (Cole Hauser) was a perfect example of a character that puts up a good front but through a need for greed, shows his real intentions and what he's willing to do to survive. John's knack for knowing what buttons to push and the right words to say makes him as devious as Riddick.

Fry (Radha Mitchell) is a character who, as Johns so nicely expressed, looked to her thine own ass first before considering the consequences. But what's endearing about her is that she quickly realizes the errors of her ways and tries desperately to pay penance, even while endangering her life when others discarded all human values and went for the dark hills running.

Jack (Rhiana Griffith) simply wanted to have a hero and was the first one out of the whole group to look for that hero in Riddick; through a child's eye, good can be seen through the thick clouds of evil. I thought it was absolutely priceless when Jack shaves his head in ode to Riddick; you know what they say: Imitation is the best form of flattery.

Imam (Keith David), like Jack, has the ability to see good in any evil. He uses philosophy to carry him through the hardships that he meets and when time permits, he rationally grieves his losses and then soldiers on. In a way, he served as a morale booster for the survivors even though most of the characters acted as though they weren't listening.

The casting for this movie was positively perfect. Each actor shined brightly in their role and their talents blended wonderfully on-screen.

This movie may have had a small budget but the director's leadership and the actor's performances made the movie work and allowed the audience to use their imagination instead of letting some outrageously expensive Special Effects do all the work for them. This movie is a definite Sci-Fi classic. Watch it and judge (with an open mind) for yourself. It will be well worth it.
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A great ride!
allegra-sloman29 July 2009
From the opening crash scene - a classic, even if it does mess around with the laws of inertia - to the closing scene, this is pulse pounding sci-fi horror with a bravura performance from Vin Diesel. The CGI and effects serve the plot, and not the other way around.

The critters are fantastic (although I have to wonder what they eat when there are no hoomins around).

As with all films like this, there are a couple of troubling plot holes, but far fewer per running foot of celluloid than the average George Lucas movie, and far, far fewer than average. The direction is taut.

Quibbles. Soundtrack is very derivative in spots. To keep the George Lucas comparison going, it's partly dumbed down John Williams. That said, the score has some great creepy parts too. Science quibble.. Low oxygen results in non existent flames and complete inability to run. Character quibble... Vin Diesel's character Riddick's unusual skillset is not explained enough for my satisfaction.

But heck, none of this was enough for my willing suspension of disbelief to get more than a few spare cables cut. If you don't normally watch SF movies this is definitely one to consider, and if you like SF horror this is a must see - in fact true horror buffs might find it tame.

I am variable in how squeamish I am. Some days I can handle pretty disgusting stuff and other days I can't. This movie has a couple of pretty scary scenes, but I didn't find any of it particularly disturbing, and Vin Diesel made the whole trip worthwhile, in this, his breakout role.
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Amazing, one of the best sci-fi films ever.
RaziaK17 November 2004
As a zombie fan, I really love these types of plots where people end up in strange places surrounded by wicked monsters! PB is also an excellent tie-in to Chronicles of Riddick (COR). The gang has to run as fast as they can away from darkness. There are so many metaphors in the story! Riddick is this bad guy, but he's also the hero who tries to save the slow-paced folks. The Muslim guy, Imam, relies on the sun's positions for the five times a day prayers, but he is stuck in a land where darkness will rule. Overall, I recommend this film to any sci-fi fans. You won't be disappointed.
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Best sci-fi movie ever!
stephie-1222 February 2004
This movie is about the crew of a spaceship who crash land onto a strange bright planet with three suns. Among the passengers is convicted serial killer, Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel), and his nemesis, Johns (Cole Hauser). While the survivors of the wreck are getting their bearings, an eclipse of all three suns happens. Shortly afterwards, scary creatures begin to appear and start to pick off the crew members one by one. During the eclipse, Riddick comes into his own, as his eyeballs have been surgically shined, giving him night vision. The crew have to rely on him to try to get them to safety.

This is a very stylish film, with the colour of the sky changing scene by scene, giving it a very strange look. Vin Diesel is brilliant as Riddick, truly menacing but forced to help people who otherwise would only see him as a threat. There is also an underlying humour in his performance as well, which adds another dimension to the character. This is the sort of role that Vin excels in, the anti-hero, whos character is not as one-dimensional as first appears. I can imagine no-one else in this role, it could have been written specifically for him.

Roll on Chronicles of Riddick!
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It Is not With Riddick that They Have to Be Worried about
claudio_carvalho6 November 2016
When the transport ship "Hunter-Gratzner" is hit by a meteor shower, the pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) is awaken from the cryogenic sleep and tries to control the vessel with forty passengers. She is forced to release a module and only Carolyn; the bounty hunter William J. Johns (Cole Hauser); the religious Abu "Imam" al-Walid Lewis (Keith David); the dealer Paris P. Ogilvie (Lewis Fitz- Gerald); Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery (Claudia Black); the runaway teenager Jack (Rhiana Griffith); John 'Zeke' Ezekiel (John Moore); Suleiman (Les Chantery); Hassan (Sam Sari); Ali (Firass Dirani); and the dangerous criminal Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) survive. Riddick escapes and Johns scares the survivors telling how dangerous he is. The group is stranded in the desert and find that place is heated by three suns and they team-up to seek for water and supplies. Soon they discover that there are under siege of flesh eating aliens that attack in the darkness; further, the planet will be pitch black with a total eclipse. They conclude that it is not with Riddick that they have to be worried about.

After sixteen years, "Pitch Black" is still a great B-movie that may be considered a new-classic in the present days. The story is engaging with good special effects. But the most amazing is the direction and the perfect casting of unknown actors and actresses. "Pitch Black" brought the attention of the audiences to Vin Diesel in his first success; Radha Mitchell, from "Everything Put Together" of the same year, is perfect in the role of Carolyn Fry; and the always efficient Cole Hauser and Keith David have also great performances. The noncommercial conclusion is also a plus of "Pitch Black". My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil) "Eclipse Mortal" ("Mortal Eclipse")
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delicious thriller
fractalmama30 June 2004
As a dyed in the wool sci fi fan it has been years since I've seen anything come out of the Hollywood machine that was so smart and spine tingly at the same time (Carpenter's The Thing comes to mind). The CGI is great - mostly seamless, Diesel is a real sexy anti-hero and the dialogue really keeps things moving. Vin Diesel is a rare one that can pull off the stunts of an action sci fi thriller and not come across as a large block of wood with a toothy smile. I went after this movie when it came out following the career of Claudia Black from Farscape and found a new favorite in Diesel - but still waiting to see Black in a more substantial role. Now all that being said no film is without flaws and if you have watched enough sci fi or horror then the 'plot twist' at the end was lined up for us from the beginning but I for one didn't care in that I fell hook line and sinker for Riddick and wanted to find out what he would and wouldn't do and it was such a delicious way to get there. I'm greatly looking forward to Chronicles of Riddick and if you have the where with all to follow a character and not just a blockbuster then go check out Dark Fury too. It is a great segway and though brief is a good character study.
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Forget the first half hour, then it's great!
PlanecrazyIkarus27 February 2002
This film gets off to a bad start. An incredibly corny monologue is followed immediately by a brilliantly-done, truly amazing spaceship crash. Then things go downhill again, as you realize that the survivors are all a) bad actors (apart from the docking pilot and the psychopath) and b) almost all of them fit too nicely into the role of monster-fodder. Hell, half of them don't even speak English, preventing the audience from getting to know the characters at all. You feel as if you were watching "Deep Blue Sea" meets "Silence of the Lambs", minus the good bits. And unfortunately, the entire thing tries to hard to be "Crashed on a desert planet with Hannibal Lecter" during the daylight scenes. Vin Diesel is a great actor - but he is no Anthony Hopkins, and he frankly annoys as the smart hyper-cool psycho. There is at least one very good scene involving an unexpected survivor - but apart from that you could just as well have cut out the first thirty minutes or so...

But then things take a turn. I can't exactly pinpoint the moment, but soon the movie gets a lot better. It also feels less chopped - the scenes actually begin to follow each other with a consistent narrative, and Vin Diesel becomes much less annoying and soon he is a show-stealer. By the time the first monsters appear, the film is actually quite enjoyable. By the time night falls, it is great. Thrilling, horrifying and exciting. And even the character development of most main characters is well-done. If you can just sit through the poor bits at the start you're in for some GREAT entertainment.

Besides, the visuals are eye-candy, and I honestly admit: I love the colour and the tone of this movie.

7/10 (could have been 9/10, if only....)
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Intriguing as well as intelligent Sci-fi movie , being compellingly directed by a good filmmaker , David Twohy
ma-cortes15 July 2015
This is a science fiction thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat . Exciting film packs intrigue , intense scenes , noisy action and astonishing suspense . Freak meteor storm cause a a commercial transport airship to make landing on an unknown planet . Then the spaceship and its survivors are marooned on a planet with three suns and apparently no life and where mysterious events spread across the land . The greatest danger facing our crew has been the planet's best kept secret...until now . Later on , the crew to be aware the planet is full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night . But then , they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur .

Creepy and gory Sci-Fi with thrills , chills , suspense and some familiar elements . This is a pretty good as well as scary movie with violent events , intriguing incidents , starked outdoors , and chilling scenes . This is a peculiar rendition of ¨The only come out at night¨ in which some passengers , pilots , bounty hunters and prisoner discover that very nasty hunting creatures attack after dark and the planet is in for a total eclipse . Interesting screenplay from Jim Wheat , Ken Wheat and David Twohy . The film developed from David Twohy's unused idea for Alien³ (1992) , involving a space prison . The fantastic alien creatures are perfectly designed by Patrick Tatopoulos, they have three phases of evolution: 1) embryonic - little harmless Bioluminescent beings 2) youngish - which fly in flock to hunt and finally 3) adult - big gray creatures who are able to kill other members of the species to eat . Vin Diesel gives a hard-ass acting , as usual , as a convicted killer who has nothing to lose . Nice support cast such as Radha Mitchell , Cole Hauser , Claudia Black , Lewis Fitzgerald , Simon Burke , John Moore and Keith David . Thrilling and stirring musical score by Graeme Revell . Colorful cinematography by David Eggby who shows splendidly the desert landscapes from Queensland , Australia . In fact , the hot desert where they filmed was actually about 50F, they were misting water on the actors to make it appear as if they were sweating . As desert scenes filmed in the same location used for Mad Max , beyond Thunderdome (1985) .

The motion picture was well written and directed by David Twohy , it had a 60 days shooting schedule. David is an expert writer and director of splendid Sci-Fi movies . As his first picture was the acceptable ¨Timescape¨ . He also wrote ¨Warlock¨, ¨Waterworld ¨, a script for ¨Alien 3¨ in 1988, but it was rejected . Back in May of 2000 , Fox Studios once inquired for his availability to write and direct "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" , but turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts . David subsequently directed ¨Below¨, the successful ¨Pich Black¨ and its sequel ¨ The chronicles of Riddick¨ (2004) in which the wanted criminal Riddick arrives on a planet called Helion Prime, and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans, to convert or kill all humans in the universe , it stars : Colm Feore , Thandie Newton , Judi Dench , Alexa Davalos , Karl Urban , Linus Roache and again Keith David . Furthermore , a third installment : ¨Riddick¨ (2013) in which left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators , it stars : Jordi Mollà , Katee Sackhoff , Dave Bautista , Matt Nable , Bokeem Woodbine , Raoul Trujillo , Conrad Pla , and , of course , Vin Diesel .
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I Was Surprised
Elswet21 March 2007
Let's face it. David Twohy has written some good screen plays, and he has also put out some real stinkers. I didn't know quite what to expect with this work, but what I didn't expect was this gritty, fresh science fiction work. I don't know that this will make "cult classic" status, but in my opinion, it should.

The characters, while vile-mouthed, are enigmatic; the story, which has been classified by some as a rip off to "Alien," has been done before, and done well, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this work. The aliens themselves more closely resembled those of Starship Troopers than Alien, but I believe those other critics were indicating the plot, rather than the creature effects themselves.

All in all? It delivers. I found it highly enjoyable, and quite frankly, it caught me by surprise.

It rates a 7.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Nice Shine Job
tom-darwin11 April 2006
There were outer-space ghoul stories before "Alien" ("Space: 1999" had a few) and since ("Event Horizon"). Most of them are pretty bad and "Pitch Black," which is utterly unoriginal, could easily have been, too. Instead it's a cool, character-driven yet action-packed, dark thriller. An interplanetary space transport crashes on a desert planet with 3 suns and apparently perpetual daylight. Like "Alien," the film begins by exploring the handful of survivors. Like "Lifeboat," it gradually divulges that some of them have things to hide. Not Riddick (Diesel), an escaped murderer being returned to prison by bounty hunter Johns (Hauser, effectively icy & sleazy). When perpetual day suddenly turns to perpetual night, the creepy-crawlies come out to kill, rend & chow down on Fresh Human. To survive, the others must accept Riddick, who is tougher than all of them and has had a prison "shine job" on his eyes that lets him see in the dark. But Riddick must also overcome the hatred he has for all of his own kind, a rage that he covers under a cool, wry facade of independence. Will Riddick eventually sacrifice the others to ensure his own survival, or maybe even just for one universal up-yours to the human race? Diesel has a star-making role, making a repugnant character sympathetic, giving us fleeting glimpses of Riddick's sadness & loneliness while never, ever detracting from his granite-souled strength. Several other actors have more work to do in this film than most action flicks, but they are all up to the task. The guilt-ridden pilot Fry (Mitchell), a dark, refreshing break from the butt-kicking babe stereotype begun with "Charlie's Angels," holds the others together while Riddick comes & goes. Mitchell has a steeliness & style that belies her blonde cuteness and holds up well opposite both the brawny, in-your-face Diesel & the taut, cool Hauser. David, as a Muslim space pilgrim, brings religious faith ("Because you do not believe in God, does not mean God does not believe in you") to counter the others' anger, despair or wry selfishness ("Look to thine own ass first"). The dark, percussion-heavy score is perfect for "Pitch Black's" visual effects, which are somewhat less spectacular than recent "Star Wars" but more effective, a background rather than a replacement for the action. "Pitch Black" is as entertaining as any old Saturday matinée, much better suited to our know-it-all times, without the condescension & stereotyping to which Hollywood is usually so devoted.
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More than meets the eye
lord_nightrose17 November 2002
At first glance, Pitch Black seems to be just another sci-fi horror flick. However, when you dig a little deeper, you can see that there's a lot more to this film than appears at first glance. Pitch Black is a story about humanity itself. It shows us one of the truest glances into the depths of human nature we've ever been given in popular culture: when people are pushed to their limits, there's nothing that won't do to survive, but they will *only* survive if they work together. Though the plot is a little lacking (and a bit cheesy at times), the filmography is wonderful. The cameras are used in much the same way as a master artist uses their brush - as a means to make the viewer see what was going on in their head. Pitch Black's camera styles range from jerky, blurred action shots - often shooting back and forth between the eyes of two people - to sharply-contrasted color-toned shots of the harsh desert climate. The movie is, quite simply put, beautiful. I give Pitch Black a solid ten out of ten. Not only is it one of my personal favorites, but it's an excellent film as well.
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Believe it or not, this is a good movie
michaeljharvey1 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, this is a B-movie, but that doesn't mean it can't be good. The plot is nothing remarkable, but still works. A spaceship carrying a mixed bag of characters crash lands on a desert planet. Of course, the survivors are not alone and are soon in a battle for their lives against strange bat-like aliens.

What works here is the writing and character development. Vin Diesel is surprisingly good as the clever and philosophical Riddick. He's a dangerous convict turned reluctant savior. The supporting cast does a great job of bringing dimension to characters that could easily have been overly simplistic. What drives the movie is the constant uncertainty about the main characters' true motivations. Riddick is particularly hard to figure out and in the end it's hard to say he's really a "good" guy. His character is far more complex than that.

The special effects are strictly mediocre, but the director seemed to understand this. So the creatures are mostly kept in shadows, helping to avoid those, "That looks so fake!" moments. The actual design of the bat-like creatures is clearly "inspired" by Giger's design for the movie Alien. They certainly could have been more original, but they get the job done. At least the special effects people decided to rip-off an all-time classic movie monster design.

The story moves along at a good pace, never feeling too rushed or too slow and keeps the viewer on edge. It's usually pretty obvious who the survivors will be in this type of movie (where characters are being picked off one by one), but this one surprised me a little at the end. Overall, this is a good effort and far better than a lot of big budget sci-fi action movies.
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Impressive creature feature
charchuk14 March 2007
A nice twist on the Alien formula, with a surprisingly good script and a great performance by Vin Diesel. Riddick is one of the most likable anti-heroes in recent memory, and in this film he's given equal doses of hero and villain. The exposition is nearly perfect, introducing all the characters very well and setting up the story adequately. It moves a little too fast after that, though, bypassing a lot of the story in favour of quick kills. Still, the visuals are solid and the direction is quite innovative - I liked the high contrast showing how bright it was on the planet. Diesel carries the movie, but Radha Mitchell is pretty solid opposite him. Some pretty nice gore scenes too. Just a pretty good creature feature.
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Best Film Noir SciFi Ever!
LivingDog31 October 2004
I really enjoyed this movie. It was edgy without being sociopath. Vin Diesel brought the Riddick character to life and made you feel good and bad about him on different levels.

I also saw Iron Giant and Vin is perfect. (The snowmobile movie - oh yeah, it's called "Triple-X," or "xXx" - was a weak example of his work.) In Pitch Black he plays an anti-hero to the max. I don't think you can go wrong when Vin stars in a movie. Unfortunately, Hollowood might type cast him as an adventure action movie star - wrong! I think the script for "XXX" was weak for which Vin couldn't act down to it.

Anyway, Pitch Black is a great scifi - see it!

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All you people are so scared of me. Most days I'd take that as a compliment. But it ain't me you gotta worry about now.
Spikeopath4 June 2015
Pitch Black is directed by David Twohy and collectively written by Twohy and Ken and Jim Wheat. It stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Claudia Black and Rhiana Griffith. Music is by Graeme Revell and cinematography is by David Eggby.

The year 2000 was awash with sci-fi movies, not all were stellar of course, but siting at the top end of the scale was this, Twohy's super slice of action/horror/sci-fi cake.

Right from the off we are thrust on board the cargo ship Hunter- Gratzner, which as it happens is plummeting through space. The ship has been hit by meteorite debris and junior officer Caroline Fly (Mitchell), after coming out of hyper sleep, manages to crash land on a nearby planet. Only a handful of passengers survive the crash, including infamous convict Richard B. Riddick (Diesel), but as the survivors struggle to cope with the threat from within the group, it becomes apparent that there's a bigger threat soon to join the party, a deadly alien species, a species that can only operate in the dark. Pity, then, that an eclipse is due...

Okies, so lets get the obvious out in the open right away, Pitch Black is a variant of Alien, one of a ream of films that grabbed the coat tails of Ridley Scott's game changer. Yet this is still a fresh movie, a lesson in low budget film making with grace, style, blood, brains and balls - the execution grade "A" from those involved.

It's maybe surprising given the synopsis, to find that it's a very character driven piece, with Twohy continually building his characters even as the carnage and terror is unleashed - and these are a very diverse bunch of characters. One of the universe's baddest criminals, a spunky lady officer having to take command, a morphine addicted bounty hunter, an Islamic priest and his young companions, a camp alcoholic and a couple of strays. It's the not so wild bunch, but everyone of them are afforded chance to impact on the story before and during the inevitable picking off one by one at the claws of the beasts.

The narrative strength comes via Diesel's hulking convict, he's double jointed and has had optical surgery so he can see his enemies in the dark! The group must come to rely on him for he is clearly their best hope of survival, but can he be trusted? What is his ultimate ulterior motive? Riddick is the épée to Fry's foil, it's at times like a devil and angel trying to become one in the simple name of survival. These crux characters lift the simple premise to greater heights, that Mitchell (sexy/vulnerable/hard/smart) and Diesel (moody/beefy/gravelly/menacing) are bang on form helps no end. As does the work of the tech department.

The setting created here is a splendid veer from one of the curses of sci-fi films, that of an unbelievable world. Twohy, Eggby and the art department achieve a world of 3 suns, of a scorched barren landscape, with the photography switching between bleached and metallic filters for maximum sci-fi impact. While the effects work belies the budget, check out the pre-eclipse sequence. What of the creatures themselves? They are legion, a sort of pterodactyl nightmare who let out high pitched bleats, they smell blood and move at high speeds, and like Riddick they have special vision in the dark, it's the light that they are afraid of, thus this gives our survivors a glimmer (ahem) of hope in how to stave them off...

The science and logic is hokey, but so what? This is a classy and taut sci-fi film brought about by a very under valued director, one that puts many a bigger budgeted Hollywood production to shame. Come the finale, where there's still time to have your draw dropped, you may be minus nails and on the edge of your seat. 9/10
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Interesting idea, poor execution
bridgesofsighs2 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of this movie had a lot of potential, but it didn't meet my expectations.

The characters were either completely forgettable or annoying. Some of them died because of their stupid decisions as if the characters only existed to embody negative character traits. For example, two characters started fighting each other while being surrounded by aliens. Another character went crazy from fear and messed up the lights that were keeping the characters safe. I didn't feel scared at all, because I didn't care about what happened to the characters.

In fact, I kept hoping someone would kill Riddick, because he was so unlikable. I feel like I'm missing an inside joke, because there are so many reviews praising him. He crashed the ship, killing most of the people on board. His lines were cheesy and edgy, his glasses looked silly, and his night-vision made him an obvious plot device. Even at the end he was still playing mind games with the female lead (whose name I forgot) and wanted to abandon the other survivors, showing that he hadn't got redeemed at all. The worst part is that his casual attitude made me feel like he was never in any danger. He was a male Mary Sue who had the plot revolving around him. Characters in horror movies shouldn't seem invulnerable.

Also the planet didn't make any sense. Why would the dominant species on a planet that experiences constant day be scared of daylight? The planet didn't get enough eclipses to let the aliens come to the surface to hunt regularly. If they hunted all other species to extinction, what were they eating between the crash-landings? Each other? Then their population should be shrinking and not be so massive. The problem could have been fixed by giving the planet extremely long days followed by extremely long nights, like some real planets have.
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A ripping ride
matjpi28 February 2012
The bleached cinematography nicely conveys the shimmering heat of the desert. Some great shots and quality action sequences with a solid plot. Diesel's not-unpleasing voice delivers some of his best lines as the anti-anti-hero. The accents of the various players added a lot to this for me. Claudia Black's northern-suburbs-Sydney was particularly lyrical. Solid turns by Cole Hauser, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith and others. Radha Mitchell could have kept her accent too but it seems that films contractually require American accents from "lead" characters so much these days that it's become a real pain in the ear.

This is Diesel's best film in my opinion and an entertaining ride.
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