The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) Review

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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. 

Okay, Iman.. Check… Space Ghost Judi Dench Check… Weird chubby purple guy? Um Check.

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). 

Okay, try not to laugh when the big bad is talking… No snickering you.

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.) 

Honestly, one of the better scenes in the movie. That is how you move a dangerous criminal.

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. 

Just an ordinary prisoner, nothing to see here

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.

Thandie Newton clearly thought this was a magazine cover shoot. Also, is it me or do all the people on the right look like they were photoshopped in from a different movie?

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. 

It is a cute Hellhound. I like the touch of the ear tag. S for Satan, perhaps?

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? 

I’m sorry you dropped this?

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.

No movie with this opening is going to make any sense.
Guy on the right is getting all judgemental on guy on the lefts armor.
Riddick… in… Space.
Seriously, half these shots could be from Dune.
Or maybe Lucas went and messed with Tatooine again?
Vin Diesel preparing for a nice romantic dinner with Thandie Newton… or maybe Judi Dench.. or maybe the Iman. I am not judging.
I can’t tell for sure, but I think Judi Dench is aging herself up for this role the way Maggie Smith and Angela Lansbury used to do all the time.
She is a ghost. Who am I gonna call?
I do not understand what is happening, but I have found my new screensaver.
You know Troy had the same problem. Just because CGI allows giant crowds doesn’t mean your movie actually needs them.
A lot of people claimed Colm Feore, as the big bad, was as threatening as a kitten. Well, you try to be taken seriously with that hat. He looks like a dyslexic facehugger attacked him.
I like the sets and special effects in this movie, but the costume designer has some things to answer for.
How can I take this many screenshots and not have one of my boy Karl Urban? I hang my head in shame.
Thandie checks out Vin’s candyass.
Thandie is actually younger than Vin by about five years. Maybe it is her hairstyle, but she looks like his mother in some scenes.
Remember that hilarious photo of Palmer Luckey on the cover of Time magazine. The guy on the right remembers.
Hi remember me. I am 12 years old.
Vin trying so hard to be mean to the kitten.
If I told you this was a scene from Alien 3 would you believe me?
If I told you this was a scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country would you believe me?
Thandie does a good job as one of the bad guys here.
I tried to whittle down my Alexa Davalos screenshots.
I was not successful.
I just love what is going on in the background here.
That is not an Adobe Photoshop effect on the right. That is the screenshot as saved.
The move takes forever to get Vin Deisel to start looking properly like Riddick. Dirty and mean.
So I have a question for the makers of Mass Effect 2
When you made your sexy female prisoner in all male prison.
Did you also name her Jack as a pure coincidence or did you steal it wholesale from this movie?
All Right Riddick and friends are ready to fight mooks in very silly outfits.
Thandie Newton’s cleavage requires a Dutch angle. That is not the only thing in this movie that gives off Battlefield Earth vibes.
Uh Oh, Alexa Davalos has seen the final cut of the film.
Uh Oh, Thandie Newton has seen the final cut of the film.
Judi Dench says screw it. I am going for sexy ghost grandma. I like the Final Cut.
That new Janus Films opening really rocks.
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[…] David Twohy isn’t back in Pitch Black form but he shows a surer directing hand than he did in The Chronicles of Riddick and he gets better performances out of his actors than he did in Below. In fact, for a movie with […]