Pitch Black is a movie I just could not get in to, be it the sloppy/choppy quick editing, weird image stretching effects that were overly employed in the 1990s or the thin story and characters, it’s a film that has garnered plenty of fans.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Horror
Arrow Video | R/Unrated – 109 min. / 112 min. – $49.95 | September 1, 2020
Date Published: 09/13/2020 | Author: The Movieman
Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 2.75/5
Plot Synopsis: When an intergalactic transport ship crashes on a remote desert planet with no sign of help on the horizon, the survivors, led by Fry (RADHA MITCHELL), band together to find a way back home. Among the passengers is Riddick (VIN DIESEL), a convicted murderer being transported by marshal Johns (COLE HAUSER) – and now freed of his chains and on the loose. But as a solar eclipse plunges the planet into total darkness, a threat even worse than Riddick reveals itself, and the last humans standing may have to form an uneasy truce with the coming fugitive (whose eyes have been surgically altered to see in the dark) to last the long night.
Quick Hit Review: Up front, when I first saw Pitch Black somewhere back in 2000 or 2001, didn’t think all that highly about it. So with Arrow’s new 4K UHD release, decided to give it another shot, and my opinion didn’t change all that much, however can’t say I hated it nor was I bored. My biggest complaint has to do with the shoddy editing, particularly in the first half with music video-like quick cuts that not only added no tension but was just all around confusing. In addition, some scenes, to denote unbalance, stretches the shot, a “technique” seemingly (over) utilized in cheap sci-fi films from the 90s.
On the plot front, I’m okay with it being simplistic. I don’t necessarily need depth-filled character development (which the comparable Aliens had), but just give me something to entertain me. It kind of failed on that front. The characters are pretty much throwaways save for Radha Mitchell and, of course, Vin Diesel, which is fine so long as the creatures hunting them have some uniqueness to them, which they were a bit on the bland side, perhaps a side effect of what I assume was not a big (reportedly $23 million, which isn’t a whole lot for an effects-heavy sci-fi film).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This single-disc release comes housed in a black HD keep case and inside is a 42-page booklet. The cover art is reversible, the flip side is a “day” version. The disc contains both the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts, which runs about three-minutes longer.
Audio Commentaries (Director’s Cut Only):
Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black with David Twohy (23:51) — This is a new interview with the co-writer and director David Twohy.
Black Box: Jackie’s Journey (12:02) — Another new interview this with actor Rhiana Griffith discussing her role as Jackie. Audio only.
Black Box: Shazza’s Last Stand (7:14) is a new interview with actor Claudia Black. Audio only.
Black Box: Bleach Bypassed (10:44) is with cinematographer David Eggby on his work on the movie. Audio only.
Black Box: Cryo-Locked (13:00) — Interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang. Audio only.
Black Box: Primal Sounds (11:28) is with composer Graeme Revell on the process of scoring the film. Audio only.
The Making of Pitch Black (4:46) is a promotional featurette from 2000. These were pretty worthless and also campy with the gravelly voice over. Does include some behind-the-scenes footage and short interview sound bites.
Behind the Scenes (18:13) was originally a picture-in-picture feature from the 2009 Blu-ray, compiled here with additional cast/crew interviews and behind the scenes footage.
Pitch Black Raw (11:38) — Another initial picture-in-picture extra, compares pre-production sketches, raw production footage and VFX Animatics to the final film footage.
2004 Special Edition Extras:
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (34:48) is an animated sequel that bridges the events of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, with vocal performances by Vin Diesel, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith. Included are additional featurettes that were on the separate DVD release:
Beyond the Movie:
VIDEO – 4.75/5
|Arrow Video releases Pitch Black onto the 4K Ultra HD format, presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a new 2160p high-definition transfer (HEVC / H.265 codec). Per the included notes, the transfer was culled from the original 35mm camera negative, scanned in 4K resolution and then graded and restored in 4K. There’s no mention of exactly what worked was done (like removal of any flaws), but from what I can tell, despite the poor editing and such, the film looks pretty damn good. Detail here is incredibly sharp, mainly for the close-ups, and the odd range of colors from the orange during the daylight, the blues of one of the suns, or whites for the lights used to travel in the dark, have a nice vibrancy. The plentiful of black levels come across with a good starkness and the ability to discern what’s happening on the screen (by this point, seems the editing stabilized).|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which I assume is similar or even the same one that accompanied the 2009 Blu-ray. Even so, it’s a very solid lossless track, dialogue makes its way through the central speaker with good clarity and the depth on the foreign planet pours through the front and rear channels, alongside the sci-fi/horror score by Graeme Revell.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Pitch Black is a movie I just could not get in to, be it the sloppy/choppy quick editing, weird image stretching effects that were overly employed in the 1990s or the thin story and characters, it’s a film that has garnered plenty of fans over the two decades since its release.
This 4K Ultra HD release from Arrow Video is very well done, porting over all of the features from previous DVD and Blu-ray releases, as well as offering great video and audio transfers.