Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Riddick (Blu-ray) - Scorpion Monsters May Seem Strangely Sexy

Let me be plainly honest here. I’m not a huge fan of newer Science Fiction related action films. I appreciate them for the legacy they are trying to continue, but I typically get bogged down in mires of computer generated graphical atrocities that cannot be unseen. I can watch them, yes. I will even allow myself to be entertained by these movies. It is not my preference to watch them or follow their sagas. That brings us to Riddick. The sequel to Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black. Both of the previous movies in this series are watchable especially if you’re looking for one liner driven, testosterone pumps with injected CG and Vin Diesel leading the onslaught against whatever foe gets in his way. Perhaps it is solely that I followed from a distance the other two films in the series that I enjoyed Riddick. Or maybe it was that it was the first minor-epic films I’ve had the enjoyment to watch on my new 60” LED TV.  Either way I tolerated it and found certain aspects of this feature quite enjoyable.

Synopsis from Universal:

Global action-superstar Vin Diesel reprises his breakthrough role in Riddick, the much-anticipated new chapter in the epic adventures of the most wanted man in the universe. The all-new thriller finds the title character trapped on a sun-scorched planet and pursued by ruthless bounty hunters eager to collect the reward for Riddick’s capture—dead or alive.


Let’s start off with the dirty laundry. What doesn’t work? The computerized, video game esque graphics continue to piss me off. There’s no other way around it. I’m looking for more practical effects, and I want them in a feature just like this. That being said, for those of you who do not mind this style of effect well… you’re in for a treat because the animators have created some rather interesting monstrosities. Hybrids of Hyenas and strange water dwelling, double headed scorpion-like thrashers. Pretty cool stuff. It was actually these scorpion creatures that allowed me to put down my computer graphic protest sign and enjoy the picture. Well done though still obviously computerized and very video game.

The acting… it is what it is what it is. You know Vin Diesel. You know what he does. You know who they cast around him in these movies, and it is appropriate for the genre and narrative. There are more than a couple side characters with strange, alien head structures that show off some fine attributes that endeared me to at least one scene in the film. The narrative is… well… it’s an action story. A battle and struggle for power as well as deception and mutiny. Yes, that all works out nicely. It’s exactly what you’ve come to expect from the Riddick series and moves the series forward nicely.

The Blu-ray disc that I reviewed looked crystal perfect clear. Almost too clear. Still, a fine looking movie that played with the computerized back drops nicely and gave rich depth to some of the more violent scenes in the picture. Extras include The World of Riddick, Riddickin Tech (for you weapon/tech folks), the Twohy Touch (this isn’t a queue for your Divinyls records to abandon their attic hiding spot) as well as Vin’s Riddick, Meet the Mercs and Riddick Blindsided. The disc includes an unrated version, the version I enjoyed.  The disc comes with a Blu-ray/DVD and ultraviolet copy.

Bonus Features Exclusively on Blu-ray
  • The Twohy Touch—In this short film, writer and director David Twohy explains the development of Riddick, the third feature film in his high-concept sci-fi series. Interviews and on-set footage detail Twohy’s vision and inspiration, as well as the creative collaboration between the filmmaker and star Vin Diesel that takes the cult franchise to a new level. 
  • Riddickian Tech—The filmmakers, including Riddick’s amazing effects team, talk about the extraordinary technologies used to create Riddick’s eye-popping sci-fi elements, from the practical effects to the green screen wonders that made it possible to bring this high-intensity, futuristic thriller to the big screen.
  • The World Of Riddick—Key members of the filmmaking team, including director David Twohy, production designer Joseph C. Nemec III and director of photography David Eggby talk about the inspiration and influences behind the film’s vivid and unique visuals and savage predators.
Bonus Features on Blu-ray and DVD 
  • Vin’s Riddick—Vin Diesel, his co-stars and the entire filmmaking team provide an inside look at the superstar’s passion for everything from the film’s production and development to his intensive physical training, as well as just what makes Diesel ideal for the role of the indestructible Richard B. Riddick.
  • Meet The Mercs—From Karl Urban and Katee Sackhoff to Jordi MollĂ , Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, and Nolan Gerard Funk, this featurette spotlights the dynamic supporting cast of Riddick and the characters they portray, exploring what the actors bring to their roles, as well as the weapons and clothing styles that define them to enhance this heart-stopping thriller.
  • Riddick: Blindsided—A motion comic prequel to Riddick that fills in the gap since 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick.
So this guy right here would recommend this to neo-gamers, fans of the Riddick series and fans of general Science Fiction action films. It certainly won’t bore you and has some bits of true ingenuity though remember, this is still a Riddick film.

You can order Riddick NOW! Available January 14th.

-Doc Terror

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