Pitch Black (2000)

It's hard to believe this movie was made in 2000. Admittedly, I've seen better CG, but this CG isn't that bad. They knew enough to keep the monsters mostly in the dark, and that makes the CG more convincing.

The idea is that a ship crashes on a planet, and the survivors need to figure out how to survive and get off. Unleashed with them is the criminal Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, who is distressingly dangerous. Cole Hauser, playing the custodian of our anti-hero, scares everyone in to believing that Riddick will kill randomly and is the most vile creature ever. Cole explains this to the docking pilot, religious dude and his two sons, a self-important ass, a boy who idolizes Riddick, and a few others who really aren't all that important to the story.

On this desert planet with three suns - yes, three - there is no night. The entire surface (which is, as far as we know, all desert) is bathed in light at all times except for once every 22 years when there is an eclipse. For some reason, all known celestial mechanics fail at that point, and the planet is bathed in darkness for an unspecified length of time. Based on the speed of the onset of the eclipse, it should only last about a half hour or so, but it will last the rest of the movie, everyone agrees inexplicably.

Now, I don't know why we're supposed to believe that this seemingly lifeless desert planet has only two native life forms - a worm the size of your palm that glows in the dark and a flying lizard creature that is injured by light. There is no indication what either species would eat, and just how improbable would it be for a creature that cannot come out during the day would evolve on a planet with 22 years of constant sunlight?

The movie is stylistically odd. The different suns have different color light, so the resulting color of everything changes based on lighting (and not always correctly). The frequent, odd shots where people at different distances are in focus are just disconcerting. Some of the weird things that are shot from odd angles just distract from the story.

Acting is generally good enough
Story is good (aside from plot holes)
Effects are pretty good
Cinematography is not great
Direction could have used a little work



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