Pitch Black (2000) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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Pitch Black (2000)

Directed by David Twohy

Starring:
Vin Diesel
Radha Mitchell
Cole Hauser
Keith David

Running time: 110 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
A bunch of hateful people crash land their spaceship on a planet filled with aliens who, luckily, attack them thanks to the fact that they’ve landed on this planet at the worst possible time.

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Halloween Horror Fest:

I’ve watched most of the films now for my Halloween Horror Fest and just have to finish writing up the rest of the reviews. I’ve loved a couple and hated a couple. I didn’t love Pitch Black… Here’s the list of films I’ve watched so far:

From Beyond (6/10)

The Descent (8/10)

ParaNorman (7.5/10)

Pitch Black

Insidious

Dog Soldiers

Grabbers

The Innkeepers

Nosferatu (1922)

Sisters (aka Blood Sisters)

Still to watch:

Berberian Sound Studio

High Tension (maybe…)

There was a lot of talk about Pitch Black as whatever number Riddick sequel thingy was out recently so I decided to finally check out Pitch Black after reading the following reviews for both of them: Pitch Black reviewed by MovieRob HERE and by Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews HERE plus a Riddick review from Gregory Moss at Mossfilm HERE.

I hold none of these people responsible for making me watch Pitch Black. It was entirely my decision to watch a Vin Diesel movie! 😉

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My Opinion on Pitch Black:

The most positive thing I can say about it is that it definitely had potential. It COULD have been a pretty good film. And some of it LOOKED pretty cool, at least. One of my all-time favorite movies is Aliens (and Alien). I’m not going to be able to help but compare Pitch Black to Aliens throughout this review as it’s basically Aliens but shit. Take out all the things about Aliens that make it such an awesome film and you get Pitch Black.

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Characters:

The characters in Pitch Black were, for me, the film’s biggest weakness. I didn’t care about them at ALL. I don’t know who the hell they even were or why they were on this ship. But I’ll come back to all that later…

Okay, the characters of Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) & Jack (Rhiana Griffith) weren’t TOO bad – they were the only ones I maybe (kind of sort of) wanted to survive. Jack is the only somewhat likeable character and Fry would be if it wasn’t for something that happens at the beginning of the film (But it’s pretty important when it comes to what happens at the end of the film so I didn’t have a problem with that. In fact, this little bit of story was the only thing that gave one of the characters a bit of depth whereas none of the others had any at all).

And RIDDICK? What a horrible movie character. And the sequels are all about him? Um, no thanks – I’ll be skipping those. You see, he’s a “prisoner”. I have no idea what the hell he did or why the hell he’s on this spaceship. I don’t know if he’s a bad guy who’s actually kind of a good guy. I don’t know what he says half the time because I can’t understand him. I don’t know anything about him at the start of the film and still don’t know anything at the end of the film. What’s the point? Are we meant to like him? Are we meant to hate him? Are we meant to identify with him in any sort of way? Are we meant to think he’s cool because he has muscles and mumbles a lot and has freaky eyes because he paid someone to give him eyes that could see in the dark since he was going to spend his life in a dark prison? (Did I get that right?). Oh how convenient that he was on this spaceship with those eyes! But I’ll come back to that later too…

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So here comes my main comparison to Aliens: You can argue that Aliens also has some pretty one-dimensional & cliché characters as well. A lot of sci-fi does, which is unfortunate as I’d have to say sci-fi is probably my favorite genre when it comes to movies if I was forced to choose just one. But Ripley is pretty complex and has a backstory and KICKS ASS so Radha Mitchell’s Fry has nothing on her. Say what you want about Newt but I loved the Ripley/Newt relationship. Pitch Black makes a small, pathetic attempt to give us a similar sort of relationship between Radha & Jack. Meh. Who Cares.

Riddick is a combination of several characters from Aliens, I suppose, but Hudson is the first one to come to mind. The prick. Hudson is SO cliché but, honestly, who doesn’t actually love that character?! I actually know more about all the lesser characters in Aliens who you KNOW from the start have been put into the film just to die than I do about Riddick or anyone else in Pitch Black. I can even name all the characters who are “just there to die” in Aliens but I had to look up everyone’s name in Pitch Black immediately after seeing it (other than Riddick’s and I mainly knew that thanks to the sequels being named after him)! My long winded point is this: The characters in Aliens, although pretty cliché, just WORK. They don’t in Pitch Black. Is it REALLY that hard to give a movie some decent characters?? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

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The Story (SPOILERS!!!):

I know Hollywood scripts are full of things that are WAY too convenient sometimes but, holy hell, Pitch Black really takes the cake! I admit that I was confused throughout this movie (probably because I didn’t care). I’ve even read the whole plot online now, though, and nothing is explained so maybe it wasn’t just a case of me not paying attention. Here’s what I don’t get:

– Who the hell are these people and why are they on this spaceship and where the hell are they going? It’s such an odd assortment of people! And why oh why is a prisoner also onboard and all chained up? And why is there a young kid also there with no apparent family?

– So while on autopilot, the debris from a comet damages the ship and (um, luckily?) the second-in-command, Fry, is awakened (from, um, hypersleep?) after debris kills the sleeping captain (convenient). Okay. I can buy the comet causing the ship to crash. Shit happens. This is necessary for the movie.

– So Fry manages to land the ship on some strange planet. Okay. This planet has three suns or some such shit, meaning it’s ALWAYS daylight. Okay. Fine.

– This planet has creatures/aliens that can’t stand light and are actually hurt by any sort of light so they have to live underground in caves (how sucky for them to have to live on this three-sun planet, then). But… Wait!

– This planet has a year-long eclipse every 22 years, allowing the creatures to come out & play! And guess what? The ship just happened to crash land on this planet JUST as this eclipse is about to start! Convenient.

– Vin Diesel/Riddick/the mysterious prisoner reveals that he had some operation or whatever to give him eyes that can see in the dark. Oh! VERY convenient!

– These special eyes can not only see in the dark, they can also tell that the young boy who is so obviously being played by a girl is actually a girl AND she’s having her period, drawing the creatures to them all. Wow, those are some pretty amazing eyes! Convenient. And stupid!

– Blah blah. Most of them die. Except Riddick, obviously. And I had to Google his final line because I couldn’t even understand what he’d said.

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I’m sorry – this “review” is actually just me bitching. I was going to say a couple nice things but I’m sure everyone has stopped reading by now. 😉

I’ll just give you my rating, which isn’t as low as you’d think after all my bitching. Because the film DID have potential but that annoys me even more than when a movie is just 100% bad. I love sci-fi and the alien creatures in this aren’t too bad and the whole look of the film was interesting. Shame about the characters…

My Rating: 5.5/10

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29 thoughts on “Pitch Black (2000) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

  1. This movie is awful and really is the only movie I have ever walked out of. Granted, I’d had about six Manhattans and just wanted to leave and go home but this truly was terrible.

  2. I think this was one of the better sci-fi films since 2000. Of course, I am a monster movie fan and the creatures had a lot of weight in my liking this. I happen to think that things aren’t so stable out their in the wild Universe, so 3 suns, rouge meteors and a ragtag bunch of mismatched characters is exactly the way that would go down. 🙂

    • Hehe. Fair enough! 😉 To be honest, I CAN see why people like the film. Mainly, I’m just REALLY not a Vin Diesel fan… But I do love sci-fi and alien creatures, which is why my rating isn’t TOO low, I don’t think. 🙂

      • I just watched this last night on one of the cable channels. Not a big Diesel fan either (haven’t seen any of those Fast &Furious films and don’t care to) but I am a big sci-fi fan. I guess I like the way he acted in this one, sort of Clint Eastwood from the old spagetti westerns… only in space:)

      • Well, I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced to like Vin Diesel but I do have to admit that I was overly harsh on the movie due to having a massive migraine while trying to write the review. Lol! I have yet to watch a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western but plan to watch The Good, The Bad & The Ugly soon as I liked Once Upon A Time In The West so I guess I can compare him to Vin Diesel when I do. 😉

      • This was the first Vin Diesel film I saw and I have to say I really wanted to get hold of his boy bits. I tried one of the Fast and Furious films but didn’t like it.. I think with Riddick I like that he’s all mean and tough but has such a babyface.

      • Hehe. Okay, then – I can see how fancying Vin Diesel would help someone to like this movie. He’s not my style but, okay, if someone who looked like Chris Hemsworth had been in it then I’d probably like it. Not THOR Hemsworth so much – I think I have a thing against TOO much muscle. 😉

  3. It’s the type of B-movie that’s not nearly as dumb as it may appear to be, yet, it also isn’t that smart either. It’s just somewhere in the middle, but all of that aside, it’s still a fun watch regardless. Good review.

    • Thanks 🙂 I do agree that it was somewhat fun. I just really wanted characters that I cared about! I admit it got much better after the eclipse when all the creatures came out.

    • Lol! That’s okay. I admit that I CAN see why people like it. 😉 I just mainly don’t get the appeal of Vin Diesel! I honestly think that if that character had been played by someone else, I’d have been far more forgiving of some of the film’s faults. It gets a lot better after the eclipse, to be fair. 🙂

  4. This review totally made my lunch break. I now feel like I want to see this too so that I can enjoy sneering at it as much as you have 🙂 I know what you mean about looking good but failing to deliver because The Chronicles of Riddick does exactly the same thing… and is also a massively unoriginal since the bad guys are basically The Borg!

    • I have to admit that this review is due to raging PMS and a migraine I’ve had for days that won’t fully go away. It’s certainly not the WORST film I’ve ever seen but, man – what a bunch of annoying idiots! And someone needs to explain the Vin Diesel thing to me. I don’t get it! Maybe it’s because I’m not a boy. Oh – there’s no danger of me seeing the sequels… 😉 I love The Borg! How dare they rip that off!!

  5. I don’t think its as horrible as that! I personally think Vin Diesel is cool so I can get through this movie watching him. But this one is the better one in the series even though I did pass out in my first viewing of this one also. haha! Its something of a guilty pleasure creatures movie, I kinda like those 😉 But yes, I wanted to punch the characters in the face for most of the movie…

    • Lol! Okay – I admit I was very grumpy when I wrote this review so I was a little harsh. 😉 You definitely have to be a Diesel fan to like it, I think, and I’m not so that didn’t help. It’s definitely not the worst movie ever – I was just disappointed it wasn’t better.

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