Pitch Black Review

by Susan Granger (Ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
February 20th, 2000


Susan Granger's review of "PITCH BLACK" (USA Films):

A disabled spacecraft crash-lands on a harsh desert planet at the beginning of this tedious sci-fi disaster. Among the grungy survivors are the female pilot (Radha Mitchell), a Muslim priest (Keith David), a prissy antiquities dealer (Lewis Fitzgerald), a convicted killer with huge muscles and surgically-enhanced laser vision (Vin Diesel) and the bounty hunter (Cole Hauser) who is bringing him to justice. Squabbling, they're all vying for leadership power - until they're terrorized by armies of voracious, carnivorous, nocturnal creatures who are fiendishly determined to devour them. Australian writer/director David Twohy (The Arrival), working with writers Jim and Ken Wheat, lifts elements from the Alien films, among others, and treacherous, pterodactyl-like creatures from Godzilla. The formulaic dialogue is all their own and there's little tension in the episodic plot which involves a solar eclipse. The only commendable originality is in the stylish lighting, utilizing various filters, and cinematography, drawing on several types of film stock which complement the strange, ominous planet with its intense heat from three different suns and bizarre desert landscape. However, on a parched, cloudless planet supposedly devoid of all water, a sudden downpour which drenches the hapless survivors is one of the most obvious discordant occurrences which is never explained. And if Vin Diesel's voice sounds familiar, you might recall that he did the title character in The Iron Giant. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Pitch Black is a dismal 1 - a noisy, nightmarish waste of time and money, the producers' and yours.

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