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David Twohy
Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos, Linus Roache, Yorick van Wageningen, Nick Chinlund, Keith David
Writing Credits:
David Twohy

Riddick arrives on Helion Prime and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans to convert or kill all humans in the universe.

Box Office:
$105 million.
Opening Weekend
$24,289,165 on 2757 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13/NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min. (Theatrical)
134 min. (Unrated)
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 3/31/2009

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Audio Commentary with Director David Twohy and Actors Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos
• Introduction by Director David Twohy
• U-Control Interactive Feature
• Deleted Scenes
• “Virtual Guide”
• “Toombs’ Chase Log”
• “Visual Effects Revealed” Featurette
• “Creation of New Mecca” Featurette
• “Riddick Rises” Featurette
• “Keep What You Kill” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Chronicles Of Riddick [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2020)

A sequel to 2000’s Pitch Black, 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick demonstrated that Diesel couldn’t sell a summer blockbuster outside of the Fast & Furious franchise. Set a few years after the action in the first movie, this one introduces us to the concept of the UnderVerse, a constellation of dark new worlds.

A group called the Necromongers creates an army to get there and kill whoever they can’t convert along the way. Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) leads them. He’s the only one to make it to the UnderVerse and back, and the experience changed him.

Next we head to UV System Planet 6, where a bounty hunter Toombs (Nick Chinlund) tries to capture Riddick (Diesel). He fails and Riddick demands to know who commissioned the bounty.

Riddick takes Toombs’ ship and heads to Helion Prime to get to the bottom of things. There he confronts a character from the first flick, Imam (Keith David), who Riddick thinks betrayed him. Imam admits that he did so due to the threat of Necromonger invasion, and he relates his society’s imminent danger.

A group that includes Elemental envoy Aereon (Judi Dench) tells Riddick the news and why they need his help, but he remains unsympathetic. He learns that Jack - another personality from the first movie - became imprisoned on the rugged planet Crematoria, which incites Riddick to some action.

The invasion occurs and Imam eventually sacrifices himself for his cause. Necromongers take over Helion and proselytize for their beliefs; they try to convert the locals with the glories of the UnderVerse.

The population converts when threatened with loss of their souls, but Riddick refuses to bow to the Lord Marshal. They capture him and try to convert him but he gets out.

Toombs again comes after him and takes him into custody although he should remain under Necromonger control. Riddick doesn’t fight it because he knows they’ll take him to Crematoria and he wants to get Jack.

The Necromongers plan their conquest but they also eagerly pursue Riddick. Lord Marshal sends Lord Vaako (Karl Urban) to pursue Riddick.

His wife Lady Vaako (Thandie Newton) acts like the brains behind the man and connives for his advancement at the Lord Marshal’s expense. We learn why Lord Marshal pursues Riddick, as there’s a deeper motive at work.

In addition, we see Riddick on Crematoria with Jack, who now calls herself Kyra (Alexa Davalos). The rest of the movie follows their attempts to escape Crematoria and their inevitable fight with the Necromongers.

Since I didn’t see Pitch Black before I viewed its sequel, I worried that Riddick might become confusing. However, I don’t think a lack of familiarity with the original causes any problems.

Yeah, the sequel alludes to the original at times, especially in regard to the relationship between Riddick and Jack/Kyra. Nonetheless, it creates a fairly self-contained story and provides enough explanation for those references to tamp down bewilderment.

I remain unsure why they decided to make a sequel to Pitch in the first place. That flick only earned $53 million worldwide, which seems like an awfully insubstantial sum to use to greenlight a $110 million sequel.

I suppose the suits figured Diesel’s growing popularity would bolster the sequel’s profile, but they guessed incorrectly. Riddick took in $115 million worldwide, which is a weak total for a big-budget summer release.

If nothing else, one can’t criticize Riddick for a lack of visual ambition, as the movie comes across like a sci-fi Lord of the Rings with its look. It combines detailed and distinctive costumes with lush settings to create its own style.

Or maybe not quite its own, for Riddick owes a debt to sci-fi artists of the past, and I got a definite Giger vibe from much of the material. It lacks that artist’s ominous perversity but a lot of the flick feels influenced by his work.

Despite that debt, the visuals of Riddick stand as a strength. Make no mistake - this isn’t the usual sci-fi setting, as it demonstrates a much broader and more painterly visual style.

The film consistently gives us gorgeous, luxuriant images. The computer graphics occasionally resemble videogame cutscenes, but mostly they appear effective and well-executed.

Too bad Riddick fails to back up the visuals with a similarly distinctive story. Part of the problem stems from its bifurcated nature.

Much of the time it splits our attention. Some of the movie concentrates on the war of the Necromongers and their internal struggles, while the rest looks at Riddick and his own concerns.

The movie fails to connect these pieces smoothly, and they often feel like they come from two different universes. Granted, that’s technically true, but the film needs to join the various elements in a cleaner way. As it stands, the story lacks consistency and fails to mesh.

It doesn’t help that neither side produces much excitement or interest. The Necromonger elements simply offer warmed-over Shakespeare that the actors play with almost absurd intensity.

Riddick’s pieces function as standard action bits, with our title character placed in the “tough superhero” role. Occasionally the flick manifests some decent sequences, but the absence of a coherent plot and rich characters renders them less effective.

Many criticize big-budget blockbusters as all style, no substance, and that seems to be the case with The Chronicles of Riddick. The filmmakers executed a lavish and detailed sci-fi universe but didn’t bother to come up with an involving story or much dynamic action. Riddick does enough well to maintain moderate interest, but it never rises above the level of general mediocrity.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus A-

The Chronicles of Riddick appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a largely satisfying presentation.

Overall definition seemed positive. Occasional wider shots betrayed a little softness, but most of the film felt accurate and well-defined.

I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes felt absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Riddick went with a palette that accentuated orange/red with some blue/teal tossed in as well. The hues seemed appropriately rendered given stylistic choices.

Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while low-light shots became smooth and concise. This turned into a high-quality image.

I felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Chronicles of Riddick, as it firmly earned an “A-”. I expected an assault on my ears and that’s what I usually got.

The soundfield consistently used all five channels to good advantage, as the mix featured a wide and involving soundstage. Music demonstrated excellent stereo delineation, and the effects popped up all over the spectrum.

Those elements showed nice localization and melded together smoothly. The surrounds played a very active role and added quite a lot to the mix.

Given the film’s use of so much action, the soundtrack sure gave us many opportunities for involvement, and it never disappointed. This was a vivid and engrossing mix.

Happily, the audio quality lived up expectations as well. Speech consistently came across as warm and natural, and I noticed no signs of edginess or issues with intelligibility.

Music could have become lost amidst all the effects, but the score managed to maintain its own personality. The music stayed loud and dynamic, as the track replicated the score with nice clarity and definition.

Unsurprisingly, the effects packed a wallop. They were vibrant and accurate, with clear highs and booming bass.

Low-end was always tight and firm, as the track exhibited genuinely terrific bass response. The audio lived up to expectations and worked very well.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 DVD? The lossless audio seemed a bit more dynamic, and visuals looked tighter and smoother, with superior colors and blacks. While the DVD worked fine for its format, the BD offered a clear improvement.

The Blu-ray includes both the film’s theatrical version (1:59:12) as well as an Unrated Director’s Cut (2:14:06). Note that the DVD I reviewed only came with the longer flick.

How does the Director’s Cut expand the original? It adds some violence that doesn’t work for “PG-13”, and it also expands character and narrative areas. None of these make Riddick a good movie, but the longer version does feel more complete.

Alongside the Director’s Cut, we get an audio commentary from writer/director David Twohy plus actors Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos. Through the wonders of teleconferencing, the commentary offers the impression all three sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion.

The piece focuses on locations and sets, with information about the elaborate nature of the latter. We hear a little about casting via stories like the one that explains how they landed Judi Dench. Some story and character notes also appear, along with good details about the differences between the theatrical and unrated cuts.

Those elements are the best part of the commentary, as Twohy aptly lets us know what changes he made for the longer version and why he executed them. Otherwise, this is a pretty bland track.

Some of the character/story pieces give us a better appreciation for what Twohy wanted to do, and Urban provides some nice humor and insights into his role. Davalos proves less useful, as she mostly just talks about how great everything was.

The commentary definitely suffers from too much happy talk as well as more than a few empty spaces. Parts of it succeed, but as a whole, this is a somewhat dull discussion.

The Unrated version of Riddick opens with a 45-second Introduction from Twohy. He simply lets us know that we may notice frame cuts when the material added for the unrated version appears.

Three deleted scenes last a total of eight minutes, two seconds and mostly present exposition that would have appeared early in the flick. The movie provides those notes later, so these were fairly redundant.

The exception comes from the final scene, which depicts the death of a major character. It’s actually fairly interesting.

We can watch the scenes with or without comments from Twohy. He tosses out some notes about the sequences and also lets us know why they were cut. The commentary adds to our understanding of the filmmaking process.

With Virtual Guide to The Chronicles of Riddick, we get a seven-minute, 40-second piece that offers details about the movie’s various elements. We find out about things like the Necromongers, the Elementals, Helion Prime, and Planet UV, as the feature digs into 10 components in all.

Some of the information already pops up in the movie, but it offers a nice shorthand way to remind you of the different pieces. A fair amount of new bits help make this more enriching. In a nice touch, all the narration comes from cast members.

After this we locate Toombs’ Chase Log, a nine-minute, 56-second piece that follows the bounty hunter’s path. We see how he came to find Riddick and other aspects of his journey. It’s not great, but it’s cute and will be fun for fans.

Inside Visual Effects Revealed, we find a six-minute, one-second featurette. We hear from Twohy, visual effects supervisors Peter Chiang and Mike Wassel, compositing supervisor Sean McPherson, and digital effects supervisor Mike O’Neal.

They discuss the execution of visuals like Aereon, a burning man, planet surfaces, set extensions, and CG animals. It’s too short to provide much depth, but it tells us some nice notes.

Creation of New Mecca spans 11 minutes, 12 seconds and offers info from Twohy, producer Scott Kroopf, executive producer George Zakk, production designer Holger Gross, production illustrator Jim Martin, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, prop master Tom Tomlinson, visual effects supervisor Ian Hunter, and actors Vin Diesel, Keith David, and Judi Dench.

“Creation” looks at characters, costumes, props and aspects of the New Mecca setting. It becomes a fairly effective overview.

With Riddick Rises, we get a 13-minute, 26-second reel that brings comments from Diesel, Twohy, Zakk, Kroopf, Gross, Davalos, supervising art director Kevin Ishioka, fight coordinator Bradley James Allen, stunt coordinator Bob Brown, and actor Nick Chinlund.

“Rises” covers the lead character, Twohy’s impact on the film, production design, cast, and stunts. Despite a little happy talk, this delivers a mostly engaging piece.

Keep What You Kill fills 17 minutes, 30 seconds with remarks from Twohy, Diesel, Zakk, Kroopf, Urban, Gross, Mirojnick, conceptual artist Matt Codd, costume supervisor Jim Tyson, makeup department head Victoria Down, makeup designer Ve Neill, and actors Colm Feore, Linus Roache, and Thandie Newton.

Here we look at aspects related to the Necromongers. “Keep” echoes the other featurettes and works pretty well.

New to the Blu-ray, U-Control offers the usual interactive affair. This one splits intro four domains: “Picture in Picture”, “Complete Chronicles”, “Chronicles Compendium” and “Anatomy of a Fight”.

Under the “PiP” segments, we get glimpses of pre-viz footage, shots from the set, concept art and comments. We hear from Diesel, Twohy, Kroopf, Gross, Martin, David, Mirojnick, Zakk, Feore, Hunter, Ishioka, Chinlund, and Brown.

Across these comments, we get thoughts about the push toward a sequel, story/character areas, sets and production design, costumes, stunts and action, various effects, cast and performances,

Like many other “PiP” features, this one offers a spotty affair. While it provides some useful material, it also pops up less often than one might prefer. It also repeats some clips from other featurettes, so it becomes good but not great.

With “Complete Chronicles”, we get notes from an unnamed narrator who tells us about aspects of the Riddick character and the series mythology. The notes come accompanied by text and movie shots.

“Chronicles” offers a decent summary of Riddick’s narrative, but as with “PiP”, the clunkiness of the format becomes a problem. This material would work better as a summarizing featurette.

“Compendium” brings a text encyclopedia that provides information about “Races”, “Worlds”, “Beliefs” and “Key Players”. Unlike the other features, the notes found in the “Compendium” don’t change as the movie progresses.

Instead, “Compendium” acts as a consistent resource if the viewer wants to access these details at any point. This creates some useful footnotes, though the text bits themselves tend to feel superficial.

Lastly, “Anatomy” appears six times and simply offers images/text that detail the physical impact of the movie’s violence. That seems like an intriguing concept but it’s not interesting in action.

Riddick Insider: Facts On Demand essentially provides a subtitle commentary. With this feature activated, we learn a little about different aspects of the movie. It covers topics like the characters, the settings, vehicles, and other story elements. We also get notes about the production such as details related to the cast, costumes, sets and effects. Too many gaps without text show up, but the information provided is quite good.

A sequel to a movie not seen by a lot of people, The Chronicles of Riddick does nothing to create new intrigue. Outside of its appealing visual design, it fails to present enough distinctiveness and creativity to earn it much of an audience. The Blu-ray boasts strong picture and audio along with a nice collection of bonus materials. The movie does little for me, but I can’t complain about this high-quality Blu-ray.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK

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