PITCH BLACK BLU RAY REVIEW

Dateline 2000 and my younger brother and mother sit to watch a science fiction film that was slowly burning into a hit. The film, PITCH BLACK (soon to be re titled THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK) is a clever little anti hero movie that feels like a 1970s film but has some of the CGI of the 1980s best films. They loved it. I had already seen it and felt that it deserved respect for the clever use of a small budget ($23 million USD) and the great use of the outback (yes it was filmed in Australia!)

Intergalactic transport ships zip along, then is hit by a meteor storm. It crashes into a remote desert planet, Fry (Radha Mitchell), is the leader. Among the passengers is Riddick (Vin Diesel), a convicted murderer, marshal Johns (Cole Hauser) is the overseer. Looking after him until they reach the prison planet. Problem is, this crash planet has something deadly on it. Something that wants human blood.

David Twohy deserves the credit for the success of PITCH BLACK. Its the script which raises it above the average. The acting, direction and production are all excellent for an indie film on a limited budget but without that whip snap script and Vin Diesel’s clever delivery, the film would not touch the ground. David Twohy went on to make a few average films but this is a study in his best work…and his maybe career.

THE DISC

First, I have not seen the UHD version, so will avoid discussing that. However I did watch the two versions. Both have been around before and in their new 4K selves, they are ok. It points out an issue which is being faced. The clarity of the image means that the CGI becomes less potent. It makes it a little less involving. Where it becomes solid and at its best on the sun bleached scenes. In the darkened hulls, you miss the depth of detail but it has no loss in clarity or in colour. So overall it is worth investing in.  If you like to have the most up to date version of a film as well…

THE EXTRAS

The old stuff I will not look at. The new interviews are good enough, detail packed and show a level of hindsight. Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black, lets David Twohy look back on the film. Black Box: Bleach Bypassed sees David Eggby talk digital film making evolution. These were the extras that caught me but little else…

ULTRA HD 4K BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 4K restoration by Arrow Films of the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts of the film, approved by director David Twohy
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround on both cuts
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
  • Archive commentary with director David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser
  • Archive commentary with director David Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
  • Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black, a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer David Twohy
  • Black Box: Jackie’s Journey, a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith
  • Black Box: Shazza’s Last Stand, a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black
  • Black Box: Bleach Bypassed, a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby
  • Black Box: Cryo-Locked, a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
  • Black Box: Primal Sounds, a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell
  • The Making of Pitch Black, a short behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Pitch Black Raw, a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage
  • Additional behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film
  • 2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, A View Into The Dark, and Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia
  • Johns’ Chase Log, a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character’s hunt for Riddick
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (in 16:9 widescreen with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio), an animated short film directed by Peter Chung that acts as a bridgepoint between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Vin Diesel, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith reprising their roles
  • Dark Fury bonus features including Bridging The Gap, Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator, A View Into The Light, and a “pre-animation” version of the film
  • Slam City, a motion comic from the film’s official website
  • Into Pitch Black, a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film
  • Raveworld: Pitch Black Event, footage of a dance music event held to promote the film
  • Theatrical trailers, plus trailers for the two sequels and video game
  • Image galleries
  • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned “night” and “day” artwork by Luke Preece

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Simon Ward on the film’s creature designs (including a new interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopolous), original production notes and information from the film’s official website, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog magazine

Extras subject to change.

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