Click here to visit Triviana 4 stars







Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla

(Click on the images to see larger version and credits.)

Most of us are scared of the dark in one way or another. We are scared by what we can't see. We are scared by what we don't know. We are frightened by the things that lurk just beyond the shadowline.

Click on meWith good reason, it turns out. Especially on this planet. A transport carrying Muslim settlers bound for New Mecca and Riddick (Vin Diesel of "Saving Private Ryan"), a prisoner with surgically enhanced eyesight bound, is holed by space debris, killing the captain and sending the ship crashing to the surface of a barren world with three suns.

The situation seems pretty bleak; the surviving senior officer is Fry, the docking pilot (Radha Mitchell) and she's a bit shall-we-say prone to panic. What's worse is that there is no water to be found, and Riddick has managed to escape.

It looks like they may have lucked out in finding an abandoned mining operation with a working well and what seems to be a servicable transport vehicle that only needs power cells in order to get off the ground.

That's when they find out that they aren't alone on the planet.

Click on meThere are things lurking in the darkness, things with teeth and insatiable hunger. And those miners didn't just leave. At least, not in one piece.

But the crash survivors be OK as long as they stay in the light. Light hurts these creatures, after all. But don't you just hate it when you land on a planet with nocturnal carnivores just before a total eclipse? So do these guys.

There is a great deal of suspense of the gut-wrenching variety. There is also more than a little gore, so the squeamish need not view this one. Still, this movie is less about viscera than it is about keeping you on the edge of your seat, and sending some genuine shivers up and down your spine.

The various creatures, which are rarely seen well due to the darkness, are really amazing CGI creations. Not only do they LOOK lethal, they look plausible as well.

Diesel is excellent in this movie. As the amoral Riddick, he can be intimidating, creepy even - but he retains a rather dry sense of humor. He is a mess of contradictions, with the devils of his worse nature winning out over the angels of his better nature, but he is not entirely unredeemably evil. He is a man of shades of gray; mainly dark gray, I grant you, but not entirely without light.

Diesel turns Riddick into a human being instead of a cartoon, which movies of this nature tend to do.

Fans who liked "Aliens" will probably revel in this one. Fear and redemption are the underlying themes here, and horror is the vehicle for facing those themes. Shakespeare it isn't, but "Pitch Black" manages to look at human nature at the same time as giving us a hell of a ride. Check it out - but be warned, it IS nightmare-inducing.

Theater or Video?
While some of the space shots are impressive, this one is remarkably small-screen-friendly.
DVD at Amazon.com.
VHS at Amazon.com.

See cast, credit and other details about "Pitch Black" at Internet Movie Data Base.