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Pitch Black (2000)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 104
Fresh: 59
Rotten: 45

Critics Consensus: Despite an interesting premise (and a starmaking turn from Vin Diesel), Pitch Black is too derivative and formulaic to recommend to sci-fi or action fans.

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 12
Rotten: 16

Critics Consensus: Despite an interesting premise (and a starmaking turn from Vin Diesel), Pitch Black is too derivative and formulaic to recommend to sci-fi or action fans.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 276,883

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Movie Info

In this science fiction thriller, a spaceship is transporting a disparate group of people to a far-away galactic outpost called New Mecca. Mechanical failures cause the craft to crash-land on an abandoned planet that has three suns and no night. The only member of the crew to survive is junior pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell), while the passengers who climb from the wreckage include a police officer (Cole Hauser) and the prisoner he's transporting, Riddick (Vin Diesel). As Fry and the other … More

Rating:
R (for sci-fi violence and gore, and for language)
Genre:
Science Fiction & Fantasy , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Ken Wheat , Jim Wheat , David Twohy
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Oct 24, 2000
Runtime:
Gramercy Pictures/ USA Films - Official Site


Cast



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Critic Reviews for Pitch Black

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (45) | DVD (37)

A smart, suspenseful sci-fi movie from director Twohy, whose underrated 1996 film, The Arrival, also brought visual imagination and intelligence to the genre.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The script is a compendium of science-fiction clichés, familiar in Hollywood movies since the early fifties.

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Pitch Black is so jaunty, so limber, and so visually self-assured that art peeks through where crap has traditionally made its home.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The film works because it's strong on fundamentals: fear of the dark, fear of helplessness, fear of the unknown, and fear of unpredictable human behavior.

January 1, 2000
Film.com
Top Critic

Barely intermittent, reminding us that the B-movie is still very much with us.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

In the movie's last hour, writer-director David Twohy pretends to explore his stick figures' moral choices, and he forgets to deliver the thrills.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Pitch Black is such a stinker that it makes Twohy's previous sci-fi thriller, The Arrival, look halfway decent.

Full Review… | February 5, 2014

A solid creature feature, but not at all a revelatory one.

Full Review… | September 11, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

Original Riddick pic is violent, with teamwork rewarded.

Full Review… | August 13, 2013
Common Sense Media

contains unpredictable nuances that make for thrilling amusement

Full Review… | May 11, 2011
Old School Reviews

...your typical run-for-your-life-the-monsters-are-coming science fiction adventure that requires one to park his brain at the front door of the theater before entering.

Full Review… | August 2, 2009
Filmcritic.com

One of the better sci-fi movies to come around in a very long time.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

A fairly efficient science fiction monster film, somewhat in the mold of an old 1950s B-movie.

Full Review… | March 31, 2009
Cinefantastique

If only there had been as much time spent on creating believable aliens as there obviously was on the landscape.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

Under the circumstances it's not really fair to blame the actors, whose amateurishness seems appropriate to the material (although Diesel's stolid machismo is so over-the-top as to be pretty laughable).

Full Review… | July 24, 2006
One Guy's Opinion

Manages to surprise and delight, thanks to its small-scale attitude.

Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Hey man, it's February. You've already picked through all the leftover Oscar-bait you can take, so it's no time to be picky.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

PITCH BLACK deserves to be recommended as a solid piece of genre entertainment.

Full Review… | June 26, 2005

The derivativeness of the script keeps any tensions from building into any kind of scariness.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005
Reeling Reviews

Lackluster both as science-fiction and horror.

June 4, 2004

One of the best of the sci-fi spectacles cut from the Alien cloth.

Full Review… | June 2, 2004
Creative Loafing

A solid entry in the genre of science fiction horror.

January 15, 2004
Radio Free Entertainment

The action scenes are good, if sparse.

Full Review… | August 1, 2003
Reel Film Reviews

Some hard-core science-fiction fans might nit-pick over details in Pitch Black, but for the average moviegoer looking to be entertained, this roller-coaster of a film should not be missed.

Full Review… | July 16, 2003
Hollywood.com

At least as much as The Blair Witch Project before it, Pitch Black shows us how disconcerting total darkness can be.

Full Review… | May 22, 2003
Film Blather

Audience Reviews for Pitch Black

Average action film starring Vin Diesel, that being said, I didn't expect much from Pitch Black, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although lacking in effective storytelling, this film boasts enough action to keep you interested from start to finish. The film is good for what it tries to accomplish, but if you're looking for a well structured film with a great story, you'll sadly be disappointed. The plot is decent at best, but it never is anything memorable. The film succeeds at being an action extravaganza and it is a fun and entertaining one at that. Diesel is good in the role, but I'll be honest, he's just not a good actor, but here he's more suited for these types of roles and he manages to have a good on-screen presence here. Pitch Black has its flaws, but is worth seeing if you enjoy mindless action Sci Fi films. The other performances are good, but not great, and the film relies on array of effects to really set the tone of the film. Pitch Black is good, mindless entertainment; however it could have been much better. With a few script rewrites, this film really could have stood, and be a memorable action film. In the end, it falls short of its potential, and never realizes what it should have been. This picture could really have a highly memorable movie, but due to a lacking script, a cast of average actors, it's a movie leaves a lot to be desired. In other words, Pitch Black is a film from a specific audience. I love action films, but I feel that despite its premise, it should have been a much better movie than what we got. As it is, it's mindless popcorn entertainment. Nonetheless despite its imperfections, I liked the film, and I didn't expect to really enjoy it. Vin Diesel fans will surely enjoy this movie, and the action is good despite everything else.

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TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

½

An exhilarating and heart-pounding edge of your seat thriller that's packed with big scares and pulse-racing tension. A tremendously entertaining and fiercely original sci-fi film. Vin Diesel gives a sensational performance, playing an engaging and brilliant character

More
allan913
Al S

Super Reviewer

A delicious Sci Fi suspense/thriller/action flick. Riddick's characterization of badassery really scores a lot of bonus points and the chemistry between him and the various cast members pulls at some humorous moments.

The plot isn't quite as predictable as one would expect and the premise makes a pretty original survival. The provocative moral struggles in the end are also something to behold. It's no Aliens 1 or 2 but it's definitely good enough for a watch.

More
Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

This modest sci-fi thriller pretty much came out of nowhere with hardly any big names and an unknown director (to me). The small fry cast (apart from Keith David maybe) contained a certain Vin Diesel in his first major lead role, a role that has pretty much encompassed his whole career to date, along with 'Fast n Furious'.

Its a simple tale really, hardly original, just a basic survivor thriller set in space. A group of people on a spaceship are forced to crash land on a remote desolate planet. The planet is a vast arid desert with no signs of life or water or so they think. Into the fold comes 'Riddick', a prisoner who was being transported by a merc. At first he seems a threat to the stranded crew but they all soon realise they are not alone on the planet and must trust Riddick to help them.

So yeah its nothing special in terms of plot, the planet they crash on is yet another desert planet (popular in sci-fi) and the hunter/prey aspect is as old as the hills. The cast playing the crew are pretty bland also, none of them really interest you, the strong female lead played by Mitchell is actually annoying and an obvious wannabe 'Ripley' type character (difficult to avoid that comparison I'm afraid). The fact she wanted to kill the crew to try and save the ship as it went down just annoyed me even more, some leader. But I guess that sets up the finale doesn't it, she was still annoying though.

The rest are dull, Keith David playing some religious Muslim preacher type and Hauser as usual being the shifty guy, the rest are merely alien fodder. Its no surprise at all that the film is saved and interest levels are heightened by Riddick the criminal. Its not specifically because he has big muscles, but mainly because he's a bad ass, a typical Clint Eastwood type anti hero who doesn't say that much, growls a lot, mutters the odd cool tagline, has a rebellious anti society/law view on life and an all round kick your ass attitude. Of course his glow in the dark night vision eyes just look uber cool and add to the intrigue. A real 'Snake Plissken' type character in all essence but he doesn't show much evidence of being a cold killer as tagged throughout.

Admittedly it is a disappointment that you find out he paid a surgeon for his special eye job because he needed it for a spell in a dark dank prison. This kinda takes away the mystery behind that idea as you tend to think he's some kind of special mutant-like human or something. Although as we all know we do find out he isn't human after all...in the sequel.

I think the other thing that impresses with the film is the visuals and especially the way the film has been lit. You can see the film has been purposely overly lit (almost over exposed) for most outside planet sequences to try and show a more alien terrain and atmosphere. Its a simple trick really that shows initiative and does work at times although at others it can look cheap. There is also a nice variety of color intensities going on throughout too, all to show various perspectives (often forced) such as alien vision, Riddick's vision, heat, reflective, shadow, glowing, cool etc...its all quite inventive.

But there are some nice CGI effects in here too, some nice skylines, space panorama's and a cool eerie eclipse. There were obviously limitations for the film and you can see this, but all in all everybody did really well to make the film look glossy and realistic. A classic example of having to think and work hard to make the film work, where as if you have too much money you can become too complacent and lazy letting too much CGI do it all for you.

The alien creatures are so so and not overly stunning. Nothing wrong with them, the bat concept works well for the story but they do look a bit too CGI, bit plastic and shiny. Really this could be called attack of the giant vampire bats in space, but hey its a sci-fi horror that's not suppose to be serious.

After watching I still gotta ask why the aliens don't often attack Riddick though. These creatures are suppose to be darkness feeders and attack anything they come across in the dark, even more so if its bleeding. Yet so many times Riddick is wandering around alone in the dark and never gets so much as a bite, weird. Also I'm guessing the aliens started to attack each other for lack of food? and the presence of aliens in this universe must be common knowledge? because no one is bothered when they come across the mass of alien skeletons on the planet (the big ones) or the live aliens.

Must just mention Riddick's goggles, he needs them for protecting his eyes in light, yet he does tend to wear them almost all the time, even in the dark. Many times in dark sequences he has the goggles on or removes them to see in the dark. If you're in the dark why not just take them off completely? you wouldn't need them at all. I'm guessing this is for the image, also to make the odd luminous eyes reveals more dramatic I think.

Yeah its silly in places but its not suppose to be ultra realistic. I mean would you be able to pop out of cryo-stasis without batting an eyelid, feeling right as rain within minutes ready to pilot an out of control spaceship? doubt it. The film has that happy balance of your typical action hero flick crossed with some semi serious sci-fi so its not completely ridiculous. The basic premise is a trashy B-movie-like sci-fi action flick and it could so easily of bombed, but it works perfectly mainly down to ingenious use of light effects and a superb anti hero character.

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phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Pitch Black Quotes


Johns:
Zeke! Fully loaded clip, safety's on, one shot if you spot him.
Zeke:
Don't tell me you're going off too.
Paris:
What happens if Mr. Riddick spots us first?
Johns:
There'll be no shots.
– Submitted by John P (13 months ago)
Richard B. Riddick:
You're not afraid of the dark, are you?
– Submitted by John P (13 months ago)
Johns:
Hey, I thought I said no shivs!
Richard B. Riddick:
You mean this? This is just a personal grooming appliance.
– Submitted by Terrance S (2 years ago)
Richard B. Riddick:
You got it all wrong, holy man. I do believe in God, and I personally hate the fucker.
– Submitted by Kris R (2 years ago)
Richard B. Riddick:
Didn't know who you was fucking with!
– Submitted by Sultan A (3 years ago)

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