WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
While carrying a crew of 40 passengers, a transport shuttle finds itself in the midst of a meteor storm. When the hull is damaged, the surviving crew members are forced to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet. While rummaging around the desert landscape, a solar eclipse occurs, plunging everything into total darkness. Unfortunately, the night brings out a nasty species of aliens, eager to feed on their new found visitors. A convicted murderer (Vin Diesel) leads the crew as they desperately try to figure out a way to flee the planet.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
YES! Finally a smart, action packed sci-fi movie that doesnít disappoint. It caught me totally off guard, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The movie has a cool "bleached out" feel, courtesy of camera filters, which makes for a very slick, stylized look. Vin Diesel, eager to show of his sculpted muscles and ripped physique, plays the role of misunderstood bad ass to perfection. You root for the man as he takes matters into his own hands, fearlessly going toe to toe with the monsters. For 2 hours, Vinís the textbook definition of cool. The movieís first half is a bit slow but once the lights go out, things get very creepy very fast. The aliens have this dolphin-like scream that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Even with a limited budget, the producers did a great job on the special effects. With no big name stars, the movie has a B-movie vibe to it, which only added to my enjoyment. While this DVD professes to be an unrated directorís cut (an R-rated version is also available), I only noticed slightly more gore than the original. Definitely worth a second look.
What the hell happened to the extras? I canít believe they didnít include any special effects documentaries, storyboards or decent "making of" featurettes. Theyíve included a 4(!) minute behind the scenes look at the movie which doesnít shed any more light, no pun intended, on the movie. There are some brief production notes which are informative but all too brief. Theyíve also lumped in 2 theatrical trailers which arenít even separated, theyíre run back to back. But wait, it gets better. I found myself watching in stunned amusement, a special feature called "Raveworld". Apparently, to promote the release of Pitch Black, the producers decided to throw themed raves to generate buzz for the movie. This doesnít belong on the DVD. Watching 20 minutes of e-induced kids dancing around left me wondering: "And how does this fit in with the movie?" If I want to watch a wild dance party, Iíll turn on Electric Circus or Soul Train. The menus were pretty hastily done too. All in all, the bonus features were very disappointing.
If I had to sum things up, the Pitch Black DVD is a fun, entertaining movie that has some very crappy special features and mediocre video. I donít know why the studio decided to invest such little time or effort into the disc but itís beyond my knowledge. The audio commentaries are itís only saving grace. Still, the fact that itís a good movie should not be ignored but itís a borderline rental, at best.