Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Nominee #11 - Pitch Black (2000)
A ship and its crew are stranded on a planet infested by creatures who thrive and survive on darkness. They then learn that a month long eclipse is approaching.Director: David TwohyWriters: Jim Wheat (story), Ken Wheat (story)
Pitch Black (2000) gave us Riddick - unconventional, menacing, edgy, cool. It was the start of a series that gave us some sci fi action in space.
Pitch Black begins with the space transport vessel Hunter -Gratzner crash landing on a desert planet. The survivors are a microcosm for humanity - Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Fry, the pilot now forced into a leadership role with the vessel’s captain dead, bounty hunter William J .Johns - a nice turn by Cole Hauser, religious man, antiques dealer, a runaway teenager with a secret…...you’ve got them all. But it’s the man in chains - Riddick played like he was made for the character- by Vin Diesel who dominates the movie. In fact Fry as leader is caught between the two power characters - Johns and Riddick - she can’t make up her mind whether they’re black or white or grey and neither can we.
The marooned survivors face an overdose of light with three suns shining bright on the planet. But soon the crew discovers that there’s the light, there’s the shadows and then there’s pitch black. A complete eclipse unleashes the horrors of the planet’s creatures and they discover that it’s not Riddick they must fear. In fact it is Riddick with his strange surgically enhanced shine-job eyes that can see in the dark who must lead them to safety. As he puts it: “All you people are so scared of me. Most days I’d take that as a compliment. But it ain’t me you gotta worry about now.”
“All you people are so scared of me. Most days I’d take that as a compliment. But it ain’t me you gotta worry about now.”
The movie flips from the light to pitch black exactly 59 minutes into its running time. The movie has some outstanding action sequences - the crash sequence, Riddick’s sleight of shoulder, Riddick ploughing his way with the remainder of the crew, through the dunes batteries in tow, his one on one with the alien creature, well developed tensions between the characters, some snappy dialogue and other-world menacing feel to it. The alien creatures are actually terrifying, their ability to see when we can’t, adding to the lopsided battle with Riddick the only one who can tilt the scales back. The use of colour and its gradual descent into the terror of black is expertly done.
Director David Twohy takes a not too original plot but gives it teeth and eyes - that can see in the dark. One of our all time alien movie favourites.