Thursday, November 18, 2004

Movie Commentary Review -- Chronicles of Riddick

This review features the voices of David Twohy, director, Karl Urban, Vaako, and Alexa Davalos, Jack-Kyra.

So I remember seeing Pitch Black in the theatre -- oh what a fine day -- I was asked to leave after hurling impreciations at the screen. I mean seriously, let's talk about Pitch Black. The planet Riddick's ship lands on has a species that emerges once every few decades to eat everything in its path when all three suns set. Apart from the really unlucky settlers, and the passengers of the ship, what else was there to eat? Nothing. The planet was a baren, rock-strewn desert. Nothing lived on it, except this one species. There wasn't anything to eat, this massive race of meat-devouring monsters would have died of starvation eons ago. And don't even get me started on the fact that nobody brought flashlights, or that you would ever risk traveling in the depths of space without fully charged batteries, or that the suns (all three of them) can set in like 3.6 seconds.

Given all that was Pitch Black, it was with a still willing heart that I went to see Chronicles.

God, did that film ever suck. Seriously, it sucked. It sucked so badly that the audience couldn't help laughing as Linus Roach, the Purifier, dies by emoliation. And this wasn't supposed to be one of those comedy emoliations like you see on the news either.

Clearly, Chronicles wasn't meant to suck, the film had aspirations. The set design was brilliant, maybe a little over the top, maybe a little "We're just as good as LOTR", but brilliant. The acting fitted the story. So what was missing? Oh, I know, the plot! Where was the plot?

I will unabashadly state, that the director's cut of this film is far superior to the theatrical release. In fact, the theatrical release was like a music video, but with long sections without music. The director's cut is an actual film.

Do you remember that moment when you saw the foreign cut of Highlander, and you first realized why Conner's secretary was so protective and loving towards him if they weren't infact in a romantic relationship. That blissful moment of, "NOW I GET IT!!!! IT ALL MAKES SENSE!!!", followed by a somewhat longer moment of, "Why in the hell couldn't they leave that 45 seconds in the damn film?"

There are about 12 of those blissful moments in Chronicles, followed by at least 24 of those somewhat longer moments. At least if you listen to the commentary you find out why Twohy did such a slash and burn job on his work in between the mutual ego masturbation sessions with his actors.

Twohy evicerated this film to obtain a PG rating. Yes, I'm pissed about it. I know the movie game is a money game, and I know that you have to be practical about artistic visions so that the most people possible have access to your vision. But, screw that, I, the selfish viewer, don't care. I DON'T CARE.

I laid down seven-fifty to see that film, and an additional eighteen fifteen for some popcorn and a coke. I was cheated. I feel cheated. Frankly, it hurts even more to know that a good cut of the film actually existed, one where the characters had motivations and the plot had some, you know, plot.

So screw you Twohy, and your stupid film. Oh, and by the way, I really enjoyed the commentary.

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