Chronicles of Riddick (2000 franchise)

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Pitch Black (2000, AKA Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black); Chronicles of Riddick (2004); Riddick (2013, AKA Chronicles of Riddick: Rule the Dark, Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking)

Summary

"Don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what's in the dark." An accused mass-murderer and ex-convict and a band of hapless colonists crashland on a desolate world when the mercenaries providing them transport lose control of their ship; as an extended period of darkness approaches, the world's hidden indigenous life emerges from the Pitch Black shadows.... In the sequels, the escaped convict, recaptured, escapes from another prison planet, and soon finds himself fighting a sinister interstellar death-cult with eldritch powers, and then finds himself stranded on yet another barren planet, forced to survive under extreme conditions, and then lure more mercenaries - the deadliest yet - to rescue him from the hell-world with the lure of the lucrative price on his head. Other major entries in the franchise include a short film/bonus feature, a handful of animated shorts, and two video games (as well as novelizations, stories, comic books, etc.)

Details

Monster from Pitch Black...

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: generally R (Violence, Profanity, Adult Content, etc.)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

Less "Lovecraftian" than "Conan the Barbarian IN SPACE!", as a series built around a superhuman antihero wandering a low-magic sci-fi/fantasy settiling filled with incredibly hostile worlds peopled with decadent civilizations, quasi-Lovecraftian monsters, trans-human abominations, interstellar death-cults, the occasional space-witch, etc.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • James Roland at Red Fence: (link) - "Over the course of three movies, Twohy has created a clever, visceral science-fiction experience that’s unlike anything else out there. It ranges from inspired drama to bawdy escapism, but it does it all with flair and fine craftsmanship. It’s a franchise that should have been dead long ago, but keeps fighting for life. With any luck, our future summers will be filled with yet more flawed and fantastic Riddick adventures."
  • (review needed)


Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

  • SLAM CITY - An animated prequel of events leading up to the first film (which would later be retconned away by later sequels).
  • ESCAPE FROM BUTCHER BAY - Video game prequel set before the events of Pitch Black telling the story of how Richard B. Riddick obtained his ability to see in the dark.
  • ASSAULT ON DARK ATHENA - Video game prequel-sequel to 'Escape from Butcher Bay' which picks up moments after Riddick's escape from the prison, when Riddick and Johns' vessel is drawn into the clutches of a mercenary ship called the Dark Athena, forcing the two adversaries to join forces against much deadlier enemies.
  • PITCH BLACK - A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur.
  • INTO PITCH BLACK - A made-for-TV bonus feature introducing the characters and setting of the first movie. After the events of Pitch Black, a contractor is hired to locate Riddick, dead or alive. He reviews available information on him and the events of Pitch Black. Terrified, he hires a female cyberpunk merc to do the job for him. Bad move.
  • DARK FURY - An animated short in which the survivors of the first movie are pursued by a sadistic mercenary with an unusual taste in art who wants Riddick to be her next model.
  • THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK - The wanted criminal Riddick arrives on and escapes from a prison planet, and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans to convert or kill all humans in the universe to a trans-human death-cult.
  • BLINDSIDED - An animated short in which an attempt on Lord Marshal Riddick's life is made on the Necromongers' ship. It's time for Riddick to end the years long meandering through space and go back to his roots.
  • RIDDICK - Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick's past.
  • (?) - A rumored fourth film in which Riddick meets the Necromonger cult again in the constellation called The Underverse while trying to rescue his friend Jack/Kyra from the first film.
  • FURYA(?) - A rumored fourth/fifth film in which Riddick is believed to return to his home world.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The films are set in the 2570s-2590s, possibly in the Milky Way galaxy (though some novelizations hint that characters have visited other galaxies, and one of the Necromonger characters from Chronicles... is supposed to have visited the edge of the universe....)
  • "Into Pitch Black" began life as a SyFy channel documentary on the film Pitch Black, and evolved into a sort of dramatic featurette/prequel/teaser providing background information about characters and the setting. The animated "Slam City" short and the two video games, along with Chronicles of Riddick provide three different accounts of Riddick's "eye shine".
  • The franchise was originally envisioned to be modeled after Lord of the Rings, with Pitch Black serving as a Hobbit-style introduction to the universe, followed by a more ambitious trilogy of films. The box-office failure of Chronicles of Riddick, which forced the franchise to return to a more stripped-down, back-to-basics premise in Riddick, appears to have stalled the original vision.
  • In David Twohy's original draft for Pitch Black, there were extended scenes of the boneyard creatures, still alive, as well as them being killed and eaten by the other creatures. Paris and Johns would've survived until the third act, underground, in scenes that would've explained the planet's climate and temperature changes, the way the star-system worked, and the life-cycle of the creatures along with an entire underground ecosystem of the aliens. The plot had been developed from an unused idea Twohy had originally developed for Alien 3.
  • Actor Vin Diesel believed in the struggling franchise after the box-office failure of the second film so strongly, he put up his own house and stakes in his non-Riddick films to help fund the 2013 Riddick sequel; the movie succeeded, while the previous film also began to make money back with cult movie audiences after its failed box-office run was succeeded by better DVD and streaming video sales.


Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes