Exalted Movie Mondays – The Chronicles of RiddickSeptember 20, 2010
After some brief (read: six and a half hours) period without internet, I have returned to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world. I will begin by inflicting upon you my review of a movie that is genuinely better than it deserved to be: The Chronicles of Riddick (I refuse to call it Pitch Black 2). While it’s cheesy, silly, and patently ridiculous, The Chronicles of Riddick has its redeeming features, and a surprising number of them.
For those of you who remember Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick is a sequel in only the loosest of senses. It continues to follow the exploits of the titular character, with a few other individuals besides, but the plot, themes, tone, and… well, basically everything else… are all completely different.
In The Chronicles of Riddick, a new race of “Necromongers” (I swear, I couldn’t make this up if I tried) are spreading like a plague across the galaxy, killing or enslaving everyone they encounter. As a last, desperate move, Riddick is called to battle these Necromongers, and along the way, he discovers his true heritage. No, really, that’s the plot. It has space jaguars, ice planets, knife fights, psychics, and the undead, but that’s the plot. Do with it what you will.
This is a movie one should be able to instantly dismiss… but it’s not. It’s actually really well done for what it is. Obviously, there’s a ceiling on how high it could go, but it hits that ceiling, and it even does its level best to push past it. The cinematography is excellent, the character interaction is spectacular, and Riddick himself (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) is actually a well-developed, three-dimensional character, with realistic conflicts and concerns.
Of course, it’s about as over-the-top as you can get, which is why it’s showing up here. When you think about it, “Necromonger” isn’t much sillier than “Deathlord,” and the leader of the villains is a proper Abyssal. (as one of my friends said, “I like having my villains right out in front where I can see them.” This movie does you justice, Tom.) Riddick himself is probably a Night Caste, considering his specialties and his disregard for authority. Hell, there’s even an Immaculate (for values of “immaculate”) bounty hunter team chasing Riddick and an elemental Sidereal (for all that she’s an air elemental, Dame Judi Dench is as Sidereal as they come).
In the end, this movie isn’t intended to be serious. It couldn’t be serious if it wanted to. It’s a pulp action-adventure romp through distant galaxies, and it’s FUN. Enjoy this flick. It’s pretty much how I view a good Exalted game… dramatic and light-hearted with some interesting social commentaries, but nothing anyone takes too seriously.
And keep your eyes open. They keep talking about a sequel.