Thursday, 13 February 2014

Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

I saw this film back when it hit the cinemas. At the time I thought it pretty ordinary. Ten years later, watching it again, I realised I was wrong. This film is not pretty ordinary.

It's dreadful.

There are many reasons I say this, from the fact that the film is 20 minutes too long to the fact that all of those twenty minutes (and many of the others, for that matter) are completely pointless within the context of the story, and generally just exist to 'be cool'.

But let us just focus on two of the problems: first, the lack of any kind of compelling antagonist. The 'big bads' are the Necromongers, who are basically Space Necromancers. Pretty much everything in the movie is a Space version of some Fantasy Trope. Alas, they're boring and bland and largely faceless. Only Karl Urban and his wife get much actual screen time, and since Urban's character is not the actual leader of the Necromongers, he's clearly not actually going to be a real threat. The leader is given very little actual screen time, and while we're supposed to be impressed by his semi-magical powers in the climactic battle with Riddick, I'm mainly impressed by his inability to actually kill his enemy when he has all the tactical advantage. The secondary villain is a complete chump, who exists only be totally be punked at every turn. Not exactly compelling on either front.

The second problem? Jack-who-is-now-named-Kira-for-no-good-reason. Man, screw this film and everything it does with that character after the first two minutes she's on the screen. Just awful awful awful all the time, with a topping of utter terribleness. Even if the remainder of the film was good, I'd hate it just for this.

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