Pitch Black (2000) Blu Ray Apr 4, 2010 20:09:35 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Apr 4, 2010 20:09:35 GMT -5
The legacy of James Cameron's Aliens lives on.
While Pitch Black may not be up to the level of Cameron's classic Alien sequel, it isn't all that far off. Clearly, writer/director David Twohy was following the template that Cameron created with his groundbreaking 1986 Science Fiction/Action/Horror movie when he co-wrote and then directed Pitch Black.
Twohy, previously best known for his screenplay for the Harrison Ford thriller, The Fugitive, and his Charlie Sheen Science Fiction thriller, The Arrival, (and maybe, just maybe, his contributions to the script for Kevin Costner's Waterworld), Twohy helped develop Pitch Black into something of a cult classic. There isn't a whole lot new here, with the exception of the basic premise of the movie (the threat only comes at night - on a planet with three suns and no night... for 22 years anyway), but despite it's familiar dilemma Pitch Black is well executed and makes for great Friday or Saturday night viewing.
A group of people in cryo-sleep is being transported across the galaxy when a meteorite shower damages the ship. Forced to crash land on a largely unexplored planet they find themselves stranded on a world that seemingly has no night (thanks to the aforementioned three suns). Hiding below them in the shadows are a group of creatures that are ravenously hungry and extremely dangerous. And they must stay in the dark as light burns them. Slowly, the survivors realize that they are now in an extremely bad situation as the find a mining camp that is seemingly deserted. Before long they realize what happened to the geologists and miners and escaping from the planet takes on a new urgency when they discover that the planet is about to go into a period of eclipse that will render the entire planet pitch black, giving the creatures free rein to search for prey.
The movie is well cast with Farscape (and future Stargate SG1) cast member Claudia Black, Keith David, and a relative newcomer named Vin Diesel as the convicted murderer (and escaped convict), Richard B. Riddick. Say what you will about Diesel's limited acting range, his performance here works. Keith David gives his usual, professional performance, and Claudia Black is quite good in her scenes. The rest of the cast, largely unknown, gives more than adequate performances, elevating Pitch Black above it's B Movie status that it had at the time of it's February, 2000 release (February being the dumping ground for movies that are not expected to be hits, or are not considered to be very good by the studios releasing them).
Sure, this isn't brain surgery - an intellecutal excercise this isn't, but it is entertaining and a fun ride. And, sure, some of the characters do stupid things that hasten their demise (one in particular does something very stupid - so stupid as to briefly put the movie's credibility in question), but none of that really hurts the film too much. For what it is, Pitch Black is very good.
As for the special effects they are very well done and very effective. The creatures are frightening and the eclipse scene is breathtaking. The look of the movie is first rate.
The Blu Ray release of Pitch Black features both the theatrical version and the unrated director's cut (which features a whopping 3 minutes of new footage), and the picture and sound quality is outstanding. This is a good example of a Blu Ray release that clearly outshines its DVD counterpart in both the audio and video departments. If you have any questions as to whether or not this movie is worth upgrading from DVD to Blu Ray, you can put them to rest. At the right price this is a no-brainer to upgrade to Blu Ray. Universal did a very nice job with this release.
Fans of Aliens, Predator, and the like will generally enjoy Pitch Black a lot. It was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2000, and the Blu Ray release does not disappoint.