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DVD Review: THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK Director's Cut (Unrated)

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PHOTOGRAPHY

CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (Unrated Director's Cut)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 134 minutes, Commentary track, Riddick Insider Fact track, Virtual Guide to The Chronicles of Riddick, Toombs' Chase Log, Visual effects Revealed, Riddick's Worlds, A Virtual Look at Riddick's Worlds Ipix, Easter Egg, 3 deleted scenes

STUDIO: UNIVERSAL

RELEASE DATE: 11/16/2004

PLOT: Riddick is forced out of hiding after five years (since the events of PITCH BLACK) to fight the Necromongers who want to destroy all life in the universe to get to the Underverse.

ANALYSIS: THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK sees the return of Riddick since his debut in the fantastic sleeper hit PITCH BLACK. David Twohy intended CHRONICLES to be the first movie of a proposed trilogy. He has created a space opera action movie with a universe that can go anywhere that is full of ideas. Vin Diesel plays Riddick smoothly like he put on a well worn pair of gloves. alexa davelos is stunning as Kyra/Jack. Many interesting actors are part of the cast including Thandie Newton, Christina Cox, Karl Urban, Colm Feore as the Lord Marshal, and Judie Dench as an air elemental. I definitely want to watch this movie again very soon and I can't say that about many movies to a this point of excitement. I marvel at the design work that went into making the sets, costumes, and computer generated effects. Graeme Revell delivers a unique score that is exciting and full of emotion.

RIDDICK is unlike any sci-fi movie I have seen in a while and that's a very good thing. If Twohy gets to make another Riddick movie, I will be watching because this movie left some questions unanswered and so many possibilities.

The DVD is available in three versions: Widescreen and Full Screen versions of the PG-13 theater cut, and the Unrated Director's Cut (in widescreen) that restores 15 minutes cut from the movie (like soem additional charcter scenes and see a chaaracter cut from the movie being put back in). The Director's Cut is the version I watched on DVD.

VIDEO/AUDIO: THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (Unrated Director's Cut) is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. The colors and blacks are good. No artifacts were visible, but I really noticed the layer change more than usual.

RIDDICK can be heard in English 5.1 Dolby Digital with the option of French or Spanish subtitles or English captions. Dialogue can be heard clearly. Sound effects and music come through great.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Three deleted scenes (8 minutes in total) are included which have some unfinished special effects and rough animation (in place for the CGI that would come). You can view the scenes with or without director commentary. David Twohy explains why the scenes were cut including the original version of the first scene to feature Riddick (it lacked tension and was reshot with a bigger and better scene) and one scene that it hurt Twohy to cut (but ultimately it was cut for pacing). It also makes me wonder if we will see even more deleted scenes on a future DVD release.

VIRTUAL GUIDE TO THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK shows the places and races as narrated by various characters (from their own point of views). TOOMBS' CHASE LOG is basically a video journal that Toombs keeps of his journey up to the point where he meets Riddick. The logs such details that one could make a movie out of Toombs log

VISUAL EFFECTS REVEALED (6 minutes) has behind-the-scenes footage of the movie and shows how some of the effects were done. Interviews with director David Twohy, Peter Chung, and various visual effects people. RIDDICK'S WORLDS (about 3 minutes) is Vin Diesel giving a tour of the sets of the movie. A VIRTUAL LOOK AT RIDDICK'S WORLD Ipix shows the sets from all different directions.

"KICK IN YOUR FACE" EASTER EGG has footage showing how Colm Feore gets kicked in the face by Vin Diesel while Colm makes some jokes on set.

For those who have an XBOX, you can put the DVD in and play the first level of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay video game.

COMMENTARY TRACK- The movie commentary features writer/director David Twohy, actor Karl Urban, and actress Alexa Davalos. The commentary track gives some info on the movie's production including Vin Diesel's ability to learn stunts quickly (and he has improved since PITCH BLACK), stories about Colm Feore during filming, what scenes were put back in for the Director's Cut (including violence cut for a PG-13 rating), what stuff was reshot, and what stuff remained cut. You get the full experience if you listen to the commentary with the RIDDICK INSIDER Fact Track that plays facts about the Riddick universe and the movie's production (and design). I do think the pop ups don't stay up for long enough.

MENUS- The menus reflect the design motifs of the movie to make a very different look. before you get to main the main menu, you get the choice to Convert or Fight.

DVD ART DESIGN- The cover art for the Director's Cut is OK, but the art for the theater cut is better.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The Director's Cut brings about David Twohy's full vision, and I highly recommend that you make every effort to skip the theater cut and rent or buy the Unrated Director's Cut DVD.

this review is (c)11-12-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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