Hey it’s a Space Opera, that’s the guy from Amadeus
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004): 6 out of 10: This movie reminded me very much of Dune. Not because of the opulent sets and costumes, but simply because for the first 30 minutes or so I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Now keep in mind I saw and loved Pitch Black (And if there was any justice in Hollywood Radha Mitchell would be getting 20 million dollar paychecks and Van Diesel would be doing walk on roles in Colin Farrell vehicles) and I saw that 30-minute anime that was supposed to fill in the plot (it doesn’t).
Dune was criticized for a ponderous 15 minute opening narration, and while I wouldn’t inflict that on any movie, some idea of what is going on was clearly in order for Chronicles of Riddick. The movie quickly hits a low point with seizure inducing battle flashes and a little girl melting Riddick’s heart in a scene right out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But as soon as I was reaching for the eject button the movie strangely morph’s into Alien 3 (or Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country take your pick.)
See, Riddick was going to save Jack. The twelve-year-old girl who pretended to be a boy and now looks and dresses like a supermodel because she is safely located in an otherwise all male prison. Yeah, that one kind of lost me too. However, the action scenes pick up again and enough back story drifts in so that the biblical/Shakespearian plot comes into focus.
You see, Riddick was born on a planet called Kryptonite, and then he was placed in the reeds to escape the pharaoh or was it King Herod. anyway the guy married to Lady Macbeth. No! Not he is not the one with the Billy Ray Cyrus mullet. He was Lady Macbeth’s lover, Lancelot. See clear as day.
Sure, the bad guy wears that mask from Amadeus and his troops look like Gwar started a dance troupe. But many of the sets and costumes carry the day. The special effects are very well done (except for the CGI Hellhounds) and the music could have been worse.
The basic problem is the three principal characters left over from Pitch Black have gotten the warm and fuzzies. I’ve explained supermodel Jack above and I understand why the Imam character had to be significantly toned down post 9/11 but why change Riddick?
He hugs puppies (okay Hellhounds) and children. All the appeal of the character from the first movie seems to be missing. He still talks the talk, but the walk is very different. Looks like someone lost a pair.