Pitch Black

For everyone who desperately wanted more of Supernova, Pitch Black barrels into theaters just as the former leaves. Compared to other films in its genre, Pitch Black is actually pretty good, which does not say much when compared to other movies. The premise, again, is simple. Bunch of people. Monsters. People die. Moreover, there are actually some decent actors here, Rahda Mitchell and Vin Diesel, just putting in the prerequisite movie notches that they can later be ashamed of.

A ship transporting passengers crashes on a desolate planet. All but a handful remain, including Fry (Mitchell, High Art), the only surviving crewmember, and Riddick (Diesel, Iron Giant, Boiler Room), an escaped murderer. Other survivors include a Muslim and his children, a young boy, a cop watching Riddick, a woman, and an archeologist. Their first act it to try to find water. The planet has three suns, providing a never-ending desert-like atmosphere. There is almost no color in these scenes, everything is white or orange; showing the intense heat. Everyone is suspicious of Riddick, who promptly escapes. The motley crew discovers an abandoned outpost with a ship they can salvage with parts from their own crash. Then, the fun begins. An eclipse occurs, causing total darkness. Now, the native inhabitants of the planets come out to play (play meaning killing off extraneous characters). The crew must rely on Riddick, who has surgically enhanced eyes that allow him to see in the dark.

The rest of the movie is a desperate race in the dark to escape the aliens, which look like a cross between hammerhead sharks and something from the mind of HR Giger. This portion of the movie is almost completely dark, except for small flashes of light surrounding the main players. They discover that the creatures are vulnerable to light, so they try to envelop themselves with flashlights and such. As predictable as Pitch Black is, writer/director David Twohy (The Arrival) and screenwriters Jim and Ken Wheat (The Fly II, A Nightmare on Elm Street IV) actually manage to inject some suspense into the story, along with the typical crumbling group dynamic. Diesel also serves as the driving force behind the movie, with his granite sculpted physique and gravel-voiced one liners (a la Rambo). The movie falters by trying to take itself seriously, but otherwise can be enjoyed for what it is.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 47 minutes, Rated R for sci-fi violence, gore, and language.

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