The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) - Unrated Director's Cut [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Special Interest / Thriller
Universal || Unrated - 119 minutes - $29.98 || March 31, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-03-11


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: David Twohy
Writer(s): Jim Wheat & Ken Wheat (characters), David Twohy (written by)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban


Theatrical Release Date: June 11, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • U-Control
  • MyScenes
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I never did see Chronicles of Riddick in theaters, so I cannot tell you what's different, but suffice to say; I don't think the theatrical version would've been any better.

The first problem I had was the plot itself was confusing. Who are these people? Are the bad guys just bad and want to rule the universe? Is that all there is to it? What's the deal with Judi Dench? Why was she in here? The logical answers, though, I think have to with the thoughts from writer/director David Twohy and star/producer Vin Diesel that this was going to be a trilogy.

I have to assume that Universal and the rest were banking on this being a part-Terminator (a la Vin Diesel's anti-hero) and Star Wars (with a bunch of space-capades). The problem? The Chronicles of Riddick never had a viable or formable villain. Sure Lord Marshal can "warp" from place to place while fighting (he basically has eyes in the back of his head, he's all-seeing), but he's nowhere near being someone who I believe could beat Riddick. The reason Darth Vader was so cool (and a villain for whom I would join the dark side for), is he is so damn scary. He doesn't mince words and he knows what he's doing. He's got that "villain swagger"!

Some points, though, I did like was primarily all on the technical side of things. The special effects were very well done and some of the action sequences were great to look at. Although some of these scenes became illogical (it is a science fiction movie, so I guess it can be forgiven) with a planet that is ice cold on one side and beyond hot on the other. Yet, when our fearless heroes get the light on them, they don't boil in the least bit, instead they get an extra few seconds to hide behind a rock (oh yeah, shade will help). Maybe I misunderstood the laws of this planet. Maybe the scorching 700 degree heat doesn't affect you unless you're standing in it for five seconds or something. Be it as it may, the effects for the scenes were definately good.

Vin Diesel has been dubbed by some fanboys on the Net as the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though I do think he is a bonafide action star, he also has the ability to dabble in other genres. With Ahnold, he has one thing he could do well: blow s*** up! Diesel (what a name!) can take on a more dramatic role and make it work for his persona (watch Boiler Room someday).

Overall, this is one Chronicle I'll skip in the future (that is, if there IS any). Even though I like Vin Diesel, I cannot see this going anywhere...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in SD unless otherwise noted.

U-Control
- Anatomy of a Fight - Complete Chronicles (Unrated Version Only) - Chronicles Compendium (HD) - PiP (HD)

- - Now we get some really great stuff here. Not only is there some green screen effects showing off battles, but history of the various characters through both Theatrical films, Animated film and the Xbox game. Lots of early CGI work is shown. This is one if the slickest U-Controls I've seen yet.

As usual, the typical My Scenes and BD-Live Portal are available as well.

Other Features:
First, the Virtual Guide to The Chronicles of Riddick comes across more as a museum tour than one of the film. Some of the characters from Chronicles explain some of the plot or the climate of such and such a planet, but the problem is, some of these lines were from the movie itself rather than anything new and (more importantly) interesting. I mean, what's the point of this?

Toombs' Chase Log is another feature as useless as the Virtual Guide. I didn't find any kind of use for this but maybe if you're a fan of the character, you might enjoy it. This feature consists of Toombs counting out his days of his tracking down and capturing Riddick. 1 Day out. 56 days out. 76 days out. Blah blah annoying as hell. There's no images other than Toombs at the lower right hand of the screen and a map following his path. Nothing else. This stupid feature runs around 6 minutes.

In Visual Effects, the people behind the special effects take the viewer basically on a Cliff's Notes version of hwat it took to make the effects seen in Chronicles. Running at 6 minutes, the featurette focuses on a few scenes such as Judi Dench's transformation, the hounds, plus scenes involving our hero on enviromentally hostile planets. I guess it was nice to have anything at all.

Last is the Commentary Track from writer/director Twohy who is accompanied by actors Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos. The nice thing here is they are on the track together (versus being recorded separately and then spliced in later), though Urban did his in his native country of New Zealand. The commentary itself wasn't all that great but director Twohy does give some information about the actual filming process, how Diesel got Dame Judi Dench to sign on, but the rest of the way (including actors), it was more of a play by play track than anything else. Not a great commentary, though still decent enough and one of the better features on this disc (which is not saying much).

Other Special Features include several small featurettes like Riddick Rises, Creation of New Mecca, Keep What You Kill and a handful of Deleted Scenes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Chronicles of Riddick is presented in 2.40:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. This film holds up really well and looks to be one of the best looking catalog titles I have seen in a while. Blacks are nice and inky and the colors are incredibly vibrant. I did a comparison to the HD DVD and found both to look identical (both VC1). This was demo material back in the early HD DVD days and this Blu-ray disc would still qualify for as such.

Universal has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track (previously a DD5.1+ on HD DVD). Prepare to get blown away. In a direct comparison to the HD DVD I found the DTS MA to sound richer and pack a much nicer punch. Well worth the upgrade from HD DVD (or DVD). Subtitles included in English SDH, French and Spanish. Other Audio options include French and Spanish DD5.1.



.::OVERALL::.

The Chronicles of Riddick, financially, was a mistake on Universal's part. I think they were hoping for a sci-fi franchise along the lines of Star Wars or Terminator (including creator Twohy writing two more screenplays for use if this was successful). As for the movie, I wasn't all that impressed. I think Vin Diesel is a very good actor (as I mentioned before), but the other elements never meshed together.