Vin Diesel and David Twohy return to the wonderful world of Riddick, bringing us a low-brow, hyper-sexualized take on the character that we haven’t really seen before. Whether he’s bedding Necromonger concubines in groups of four as their Lord Marshall or making devoted lesbian Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) question her life choices, this is the film that puts the DICK in Riddick.
Hmmm. That doesn’t sound quite right. But you get my drift.
The theatrical version of the film was a fun little action-adventure that didn’t really break a lot of new ground, but worked over familiar ground with confidence and swagger. The effects were hit or miss at times, but a highlight was Riddick’s sidekick for most of the film, a CGI Jackal that he’d raised from a pup.
Seriously. It was awesome.
As far as the film goes, the Unrated Director’s Cut is more of the same, only we get an extended visit with Karl Urban as Vaako and where the theatrical cut faded to black with Riddick and the other survivors parting ways, this time we see where Riddick was heading.
Back to the Necromonger fleet to confront Vaako. But he’s too late. Vaako has already transcended to the Underverse, and if that final shot is any indication, that’s where Riddick is heading in the sequel.
Providing there is a sequel. Made for $38 million (a drop in the bucket compared to the other big-budget sci-fi releases of this year) it brought in over $98 million worldwide, so I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that we get to see another chapter sometime soon. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that The Chronicles of Riddick cost $105 million and only brought in $115 million or so in all.
When it comes to audio and video quality, Universal did a fantastic job with this one. This is a seamless piece of work – so much so that some of the weaknesses of the low-budget effects are a bit more noticeable than they were in the theater. But you know what? It still looks and sounds gorgeous.
The Twohy Touch (6 minutes): Twohy, Diesel, and most of the cast talk about the appeal of the Riddick world and discuss the fluidity of Twohy’s writing and directing, emphasizing how it allows for a lot of creative input from the performers. Makes it sound kind of fun and rewarding to work with the man. That’s cool.
Riddickian Tech (10 minutes): A look at the design and construction of the Jet Hogs (hover bikes), the spaceships, and the Merc camp. For a relatively low budget, the film makers got a lot of bang for their buck, squeezing in a lot of detail and well-planned designs. I mean, that camp even has a well and water purification system rigged up to look real.
Vin’s Riddick (9 minutes): A discussion about Vin’s love of this character. It was interesting to hear that he actually secured the rights to Riddick from Universal, so they could make the film they wanted to make with independent financing. Well played, Mr. Diesel. Well played.
Meet the Mercs (11 minutes): A look at the casting of all the major Mercs. I was constantly amazed with these behind-the-scenes features as to just how much creative input the actors had. They even had a hand in choosing and designing their wardrobes.
The World of Riddick (11 minutes): This was my favorite featurette. Production Designer Joseph Nemec III, Cinematographer David Eggby, Visual Effects Supervisor Gunnar Hansen, and Creative Effects Lead Artist/Puppeteer Eric Fielder all share glimpses into the creative process that not only brought Riddick to life, but made it a wonderfully realized science fiction landscape.
Again, I was just blown away by the work that went into bringing Riddick’s jackal to life with a combination of puppeteering, real Doberman Pinscher motion capture, and full CGI. The team did an amazing job with this animation and it was a highlight of a summer full of computer graphics.
Riddick: Blindsided (5 minutes): This is a motion comic version of a scene that was cut from the theatrical release, but was reinserted to the director’s cut. Neat, but not essential viewing.
Riddick will be released on home video on January 14, 2014.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.