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A docking pilot makes a forced crash-landing of her spacecraft on a distant planet. As the sun sets and the planet plunges into total darkness, the survivors must band together in preparation for the... View more >
Starring Vin Diesel, Keith David, Radha Mitchell... View more >
Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.
Feb 20, 2000
The otherly world feel at the first of "Pitch Black" (that many of today's sci-fi movies don't have) is the only thing that kept this from a "Stay Away".
A spaceship with crew and cargo crash on a barren and sun scorched planet. What follows is the point that the film takes on it's sci-fi feel to it. I think it was no more than a simple camera trick, but the screen appearance had a pleasant sci-fi element to it. It reminded me somewhat of the Mad Max films. Before long, however, you realize that the plot is thin as paper.
"Pitch Black" only gets worse as the movie plods along during the impending solar eclipse. The sci-fi part is over, and the movie becomes your typical B-grade horror, where the actors are simply there as alien fodder. The difference in "Pitch Black" and other horror films is at least in the other films you may be mildly suspended, hoping the "good guy" gets out alive.
In Pitch Black, I didn't really care, and I wasn't scared in the least. One of the worst parts of Pitch Black is the completely illogical manner in which the actors behave. It is apparent that the writer didn't put a lot of logical thought into it. (of course wer are talking about the writer who gave us "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master"). Also, there's a good reason why all the special effects occur in the dark.....it's to hide the bad computer animation.
Like I said, I would give this a "Stay Away", but the feel of the movie after the ship crashs on the planet is unique. However, this only good part of the movie can't overshadow the thin plot and completely illogical things that happen.
**1/2 out of *****
Feb 23, 2000
Pitch Black is a guys nite out, sci-fi thriller that has captivating cinematography albeit a less than stellar script. The special effects are what make this movie. I was intrigued by the uniqueness of the inhabitants of the planet, as they were not the typical "alien". You'll enjoy the a couple of nice twists that come at just the right time to keep your attention. Be warned - this movie is not for the faint of heart. Graphic gore should have parents pondering the fitness of this flick for their youngsters. On the other hand, some of the camera shots in this movie you just won't see elsewhere - even other special effect thrillers.
I'm sure you'll see a bit of negativity in other reviews in regards to the ending of this movie. However, I enjoyed it. Its definitely not the ending you expected, and that kept it fresh the whole way through. Unless you have a top-notch home theatre, you won't get the same feel for this movie unless you see it on the big screen. Its odd, but for that reason alone it gets a GOOD rating.
Mar 2, 2000
I recently had a conversation with a colleague regarding guilty pleasures. "Pitch Black," the latest crackerjack thriller from director David ("The Arrival") Twohy is one I can add to my list. After all, it offers nothing on the screenplay level, but it sure looks good and contains a couple decent central performances. It's constructed more like an amusement park ride than a film. Fortunately, there are just enough good visual effects occupying the screen to divert attention away from the absence of any originality.
In the distant future, a transport spaceship is forced to make an emergency crash landing on a desolate planet. All but one of the ship's crew is killed, the exception being the docking pilot, Fry (Radha Mitchell). A few passengers survive, including an Islamic drifter (Keith David), an antique dealer (Louis Fitz-Gerald), a bounty hunter (Cole Hauser), and his prisoner (Vin Diesel). The planet's surface is being burned to desolation by the heat of three suns, yet it is the terror lurking in the tunnels and caverns below ground that threatens the lives of those not taken by the crash. To the horror of the survivors, an eclipse is about to plunge the planet into total darkness, allowing the nocturnal creatures to roam free and feed on the living human flesh occupying the surface.
Unlike some other screenwriter-turned-directors, Twohy is a terrific visual artist. He shoots the daylight scenes through a grainy filter, giving the land a dry, lifeless quality. It is also a spectacular sight when the survivors look up into the sky and are direct witness to the planets as they conform to block all the suns' light. I'm a sucker for images like that, and the movie has several.
The cast is filled not with big-name stars, but actors good enough to achieve that status one day. The best performance comes from Vin ("Boiler Room","Saving Private Ryan") Diesel as Riddick, the vicious prisoner who, on his way to permanent incarceration, is now faced with a dilemma - he knows what the crew is up against and that they must stick together to have a chance at survival, yet he isn't sure if he can (or should) trust those who need his help. It is not in him to trust. Diesel does an excellent job creating a person who is clearly evil, yet is also quite cognizant of what is going on around him. Also good is Radha ("High Art","Love and Other Catastrophies") Mitchell as Fry, the docking pilot who contemplates some questionable decisions early in the film, then must deal with her guilt throughout the story.
I suppose it all depends on your expectations entering the theatre. The movie is a technical marvel (the sound effects editing is absolutely phenomenal), but one thin on originality. For me, the look of the movie is enough... at least, enough to qualify as a guilty pleasure. There's nothing wrong with that.
--Michael Brendan, "Mad Dog" Film Reviews (www.maddogreviews.com)
Mar 4, 2000
An excellent sci-fi thriller. Grips you from the opening scenes and doesn't let go until the end, as was plainly evident from the audience when I went to see it.
The story is not original (with so many movies, how many original stories can there be), but the cinematography is superb at creating the feel of the alien world, and the characterizations were beleivable.
The quick-shot style of the filming is good and bad - it left much to the imagination of the viewer, allowing you to sense what is happening without actually seeing it, but it also left you feeling at times that you were missing something. Less gory than Aliens and every bit as suspenseful. A must-see in the theater!
Mar 6, 2000
I saw Pitch Black tonight. After hearing mixed reviews, I was delighted by how GOOD the movie was. I am a big ALIENS fan, but lately, I was getting tired of the creature films. I felt if I saw just one more of them I'd be sick. I went to Pitch Black after having seen the SCI-FI special on cable. It was then that I realized there was more to this movie than "the creatures that kill everybody theme". I went into the movie knowing there were two sources of possible mahem the creatures and a serial killer.
If you're wondering if you should wait and see this movie on tape, the answer is definately NO. Go to see it in the theatre. I can honestly say that it wasn't as good as the movie Alien but it was very very good. If you like sci-fi don't miss this one.
Mar 13, 2000
The opening reel of Pitch Black is "cinemagic." On a planet awash with light, the screen is practically on fire. It is outstanding filmmaking.
Once the suns go down, however, the film soon follows. The predictable and bland action sequences are interrupted by meaningless dialog intended to build character and tension. Instead, the characters are flat, mismatched and toony in their awkwardness.
If you believe you are in for a treat with eye candy, save your money. The special effects are also a real yawner apart from the sequence under the opening credits. It seems all of the money and all of the creative juice were poured into the first reel, leaving the rest of the film to fall apart.
And all of the king's horses and all of the king's men could not put it back together again.
Apr 4, 2000
Not counting "The Matrix", this is the best Sci Fi film since "Aliens".
Jun 25, 2000
Thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It's a real 'Popcorn' film. Total escapism.
If, like me, you enjoyed such low budget sci-fi movies as Them, Tremors, Deep Star Six, Leviathan, Deep Rising or The Arrival (also by David Twohy) then you won't be disappointed.
Using great lighting and special effects, a relatively unknown (Outside of Australia anyway) cast and a different perspective on a familiar storyline Twohy delivers a cool evenings entertainment, with no few shocks, for fans of the genre.
Jul 25, 2003
A scary sci-fi movie about survivors of a space ship landing who fight to survival really begins when the sun goes dow. Whem it does, the monsters will come out. The monsters are scary and this film isn't a rip off of "Aliens." "Pitch Black" is scary.
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