Pitch Black

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 253

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User Reviews

  1. Aug 31, 2015
    2
    Bottom line: I don’t understand how this awful, painful movie started a franchise.

    The movie opens with a tour of a transport spaceship. Almost all of the passengers are in cryogenic-like sleep pods. Yadda yadda yadda the ship crashes on some desert planet. When the however-many-suns-this-planet-has set, swarms of vicious, flying, aliens come out from the subterranean depths to hunt in
    Bottom line: I don’t understand how this awful, painful movie started a franchise.

    The movie opens with a tour of a transport spaceship. Almost all of the passengers are in cryogenic-like sleep pods. Yadda yadda yadda the ship crashes on some desert planet. When the however-many-suns-this-planet-has set, swarms of vicious, flying, aliens come out from the subterranean depths to hunt in the...pitch-black night. One of the [many] things that disappointed me about Pitch Black was the design of the alien. Initially, I was excited. I thought we weren’t actually going to get to see the aliens; it is called “pitch black” after all. Unfortunately, we see the little hammerhead things early and often. It’s too bad we see them too because, even though this movie is from 2000, the CGI has not aged well.

    I’m used to seeing “criminal” protagonists who turn out to be misunderstood or noble rebels especially when the protagonist is Vin Diesel. Has he ever been a bad guy? Well, in Pitch Black, he is a super criminal/murderer who is being transported to some prison colony-planet. Over time, as these protagonists do, they bond with their fellow travelers. Diesel has a tendency to do this in his other roles, namely, The Fast and The Furious, where he is the kindhearted hijacker, Dom. In Pitch Black, it seems like he is going to be that type of character; he saves this character who does something stupid and that character who puts himself in danger. At almost the end of the movie, all of a sudden, he drops the act to become a villain...only to turn around to do the right thing. If they were trying to make him an antihero, they weren’t successful nor were they successful at making him the anything more than a generic action figure.

    Vin Diesel makes me laugh because he is so serious about his roles. I’ve mentioned that about Tom Cruise in my previous reviews. I appreciate it when an actor is determined to do a ludicrous scene with the utmost dedication. In Pitch Black, for example, Riddick’s hands are handcuffed behind his back around a steel beam. He looks up to see a break in the beam. I can imagine his thought process: “if only I could flip up somehow and slip the cuffs thr- oh, better idea, I’ll just dislocate my shoulders and slip them through the space.”

    Overall, I really disliked almost everything about this movie. I already talked about Riddick but I wasn’t any fan of any of the other cookie cutter characters. There’s the token love interest, the punk kid (who I’ll discuss in a bit), Riddick’s white male rival, weasel-like male character (who looks oddly like Quentin Tarantino), the expendable (less attractive) female character, and the token minority character and his two kids. I did have some fun picking out which characters would die (and in what order). I’d recommend you try it if you find yourself strapped to a chair and forced to watch this movie.

    Other than the poor graphics, the film tried (and failed) to experiment with colors and camera work. One of the suns is blue so everything is, you know, blue and there are a number of spinning shots at odd angles. None of this carried any sort of emotion. If anything, I was a little bored of seeing a group of blue people walk through a blue desert. If a movie is going to have a strange shot, give me a reason why. Is it supposed to represent someone’s state of mind? When I think about Pitch Black, it’s like it was actually two short movies directed by two different people, but they ran out of budget so they glued them together.

    Mind yourself for spoilers at this next bit. The shaved-head punk kid is named Jack. At one point, as the tired crew is making their way through the dark desert, Riddick says, “[we can’t make it now] especially with the girl bleeding.” But the love interest isn’t shot- Oh snap, Jack is a girl! From this point on, whimpering replaces any rebellious response from Jack. The big gender plot twist (if I can call it that) also has one of the most bizarre references to menstruation I’ve ever heard. The group is arguing about whether or not to continue or go back to a safe location. Riddick’s male rival says, “I say we mush on. Why don’t you butch up,” (talking to the love interest), “stick a cork in this kid and let’s go.” On that note...

    I think that pretty much sums up my feelings about Pitch Black. I don’t recommend you ever see it this stupid, generic, disappointing, waste of time. Ever.
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  2. LeventeS
    Jun 29, 2009
    1
    A highly derivative action/horror/sci-fi film which completely fails to deliver on the action, the horror, or the science. Forgettable, interchangeable stock characters make up the bulk of the relatively small cast. The main characters are bland stereotypes, Riddick himself is only memorable because i've heard his name so many times before. None of the action is exciting, all the A highly derivative action/horror/sci-fi film which completely fails to deliver on the action, the horror, or the science. Forgettable, interchangeable stock characters make up the bulk of the relatively small cast. The main characters are bland stereotypes, Riddick himself is only memorable because i've heard his name so many times before. None of the action is exciting, all the horror amounts to the occasional startling due to loud noises (but only two or three times in all), and there is no science to speak of. Ten minutes in I found myself looking for excuses to stop watching, I went to the bathroom, I got a drink, I made some food. Boring, repetitive, extremely underburdened with plot and convincing dialogue, and repetitive. Do not watch this film even once, you'll have more doing exactly what you would do while watching the movie, only with all electronics off. The ambiguity of Diesel's character gets one point, but they could have made it a bigger part of the story. Expand
  3. AndyM.
    Aug 5, 2008
    1
    I'm watching this movie right now and I'm not sure I can take much more of it. There just aren't that many... redeeming qualities! The cinematography is unique and thought-out, but the amount of color filters, muddying up EVERY SINGLE FRAME with blue or brown, just pisses me off. Realism absolutely aside ('cause there is almost none), I feel no reason to care for any I'm watching this movie right now and I'm not sure I can take much more of it. There just aren't that many... redeeming qualities! The cinematography is unique and thought-out, but the amount of color filters, muddying up EVERY SINGLE FRAME with blue or brown, just pisses me off. Realism absolutely aside ('cause there is almost none), I feel no reason to care for any of the characters. Vin's character I do not pity nor root for, nor do I take any interest in the others. The sets are laughable, making visuals as annoying as the coloring. I like sci-fi, I really do, but this just feels like a bad episode of "Lost" mixed with "The Hills Have Eyes" without the grittiness or the intrigue. Oh, and produced with a budget of about 50 bucks. Really, don't waste as much time as I have on this thing. Expand
  4. OliverB.
    Dec 11, 2004
    1
    This film combines darkness, bad aliens and Vin Diesel, to become one of, if not the most boring tedious and generally terrible film in my lifetime. I can't understand how anybody can find this visually boring film entertaining.
  5. raVen
    Feb 6, 2004
    3
    So you say 'Yeah--well, it's dark, so I won't have to look at Vin Diesel.' Untrue. But then you think 'Okay--well, at least the special effects will distract me from the bad acting.' Also untrue. At last you conclude 'Well--surely they'll at least let that good-lookin' woman live all the way to the end of the movie.' ...Yeah, and I've So you say 'Yeah--well, it's dark, so I won't have to look at Vin Diesel.' Untrue. But then you think 'Okay--well, at least the special effects will distract me from the bad acting.' Also untrue. At last you conclude 'Well--surely they'll at least let that good-lookin' woman live all the way to the end of the movie.' ...Yeah, and I've got some oceanfront property in Oklahoma to sell you. So many good Sci-fi ideas, so many bad Sci-fi movies! Expand
  6. ZachP.
    Aug 28, 2002
    0
    Who in the world is Vin Diesel, and why, oh why, is this movie going to be worth more than thirty dollars when he becomes as unreasonably and undeservedly famous as he soon will be?
Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 29
  2. Negative: 6 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    50
    Mildly scary but not particularly engaging on any other level.
  2. 66
    Visually, Pitch Black is sleek and stylish in a post-apocalyptic way, and a scantily clad Radha Mitchell does a nice, more femme variation of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley.
  3. This half-baked sci-fi horror film, filled with jerky, washed-out, highlighted, blurred and toned imagery, is a tiresome experience.