Before death and rebirth, Riddick was just a man — while centerstage for Act I, is soon usurped from the throne of attention by blind lizard aliens. In this creature feature, ‘well at least it’s not raining’ might as well be said every ten minutes, until it does start raining, because this stranded crew of a commercial space vessel has the worst luck in the galaxy.
It’s a movie about overcoming great adversity without losing sight of what’s really important — and the morality tale is best embodied in a hardcore space killer, who learns compassion. People are not who they might seem: a policeman turns out to be a mercenary, and a serial killer becomes a savior. Keeping our minds closed to the possibilities of human individuals makes us as blind as these aliens.
It’s up to a guy who can see in the dark to pierce through our illusory selves, but who watches the watchmen? In this survival scenario, the masks we construct are stripped away by necessity, and it’s either keep pretending or die a terrible death. Everybody’s at each other’s throats anyway, and the light is fading, so true colors shine in the dark regardless.
Running the razor’s edge of histrionic, corny, and distracting cinematography, somehow this movie keeps it all together to play out a high-concept premise with not unsubstantial thematic byproduct. It is in concept, a perfect formula for how science-fiction action should work, a tightly constructed movie with the right dashes of character and drama.
For more on Pitch Black and the Riddick series, check out Ep. 23 – Tortured Masterworks III: Riddick.