Pitch Black

2000

Pitch Black

Critics Consensus

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

59%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 109

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 278,540
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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 survivors survey the abandoned dwellings of the desert world while trying to decide what to do next, one of them is killed by a mutant creature living in an abandoned mining site. The vicious and bloodthirsty mutants, who live underground, have killed all previous inhabitants of the planet; they cannot stand sunlight, but research reveals that the planet has a total eclipse every 22 years, and the latest one is due any moment. Pitch Black was directed by David N. Twohy, who also made the sci-fi cult item, The Arrival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Pitch Black

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (31)

Audience Reviews for Pitch Black

  • Feb 23, 2016
    Not as good as I was hoping for, I did enjoy the story, But the acting wasn't great and it was poorly edited, The effects were very dated but it did have some ok action but apart from that there's nothing really to remember.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2015
    One of those few movies that most people don't care for, but I personally think is CRIMINALLY underrated.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2013
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    "Need you standing by my side, because I'm blind and I cannot see, color blind, I'm color blind! Paint everything so black, go ahead and paint it black, baby; everything is black, black, black; it's turning black, I know!" ...So yeah, that was a reference to The Animals' cover of "Paint It, Black", because even though Eric Burdon didn't exactly have perfect pitch, no matter how much he hollered, with that vocal style, you'd figure he was "pitch black". Vin Diesel, on the other hand, well, even when I see him, I find difficulty in figuring out just what his race is, although I'm not going to tell him that and run the risk of offending him, because you don't want to get on Riddick's bad side, and you probably can't when he switches those freaky, shiny eyes on you. I'm sorry, people, but I just have to bring up that with all of these nifty daggers, glowing eyes and desert planet-set sci-fi shenanigans, this is pretty much "Dune", though the reason why people don't address the similarities between this and said Frank Herbert classic is because they should go without saying, seeing as how this film is taking from most other sci-fi films of its type. Of course, something that it did do that was new was get Vin Diesel recognition in a non-dramatic action film, but even now, that's a cliché, which is a shame, because the guy has some talent, which isn't to say that one of his skills is making for quite the action star, as this film will tell you. At least he hit the superficial commercial flick scene reasonably well, as this film is pretty decent, and yet, it's still not without its share of problems. I'd imagine plenty of people are expecting subtlety lapses in this film, and sure enough, while the film is not as bombastic as you might fear, it has its share of jumps scares and overemphasized imagery, as well as overstylized moments that would be more justified if it wasn't for such technical issues as somewhat underwhelming production designs, questionable effects and occasionally frantic editing. These subtlety issues and technical limitations plague the film with something of an amateur feel that dilute the final product's intellectual value, - the potential for which is greater than you might think in this character study thriller - which a potential for depth goes watered down by some undercooking to characterization. I suppose ambiguity is recommended in a thriller this meditative, but there's a little too much material missing for you to really latch onto the characters who drive this flick, and that's annoying enough when you take out of account the film's still making time to drag its feet with repetitious material that gets this film to its almost two-hour runtime, whose lack of necessity draws your attention towards natural shortcomings. There is only so much story to tell in this minimalist character study and thriller, but it still takes too much time to get things out, and yet, potential could be more well-explored if it wasn't for the amateur feel, underdevelopment, dragging and, of course, familiarity. I suppose the film is well-done enough to not all that predictable, but it's still hardly anything new, having a particularly notable style and lead, neither of which can fully compensate for a derivative narrative whose familiarity adds to both the amateur feel and the emphasis on the natural limitations within such a familiar story. The film isn't a mess, as many of its shortcomings are subtle, but those light missteps go a long way due to their being so frequent, slowly, but surely bringing natural shortcomings to light, until the final product falls short, into an underwhelmingness that it very well could have overcome. That being said, there's enough that's well-done about the final product for it to keep you going just fine, particularly on the occasions in which action comes into play. Action is underused in this mostly atmospheric thriller, and when it does kick, it often gets to be a little too wild to be all that comprehensive, but it is generally effective, with snappy, if sometimes frantic editing and tightly intense staging to reinforce tension that in turn reinforces the distinguished, harsh tone of this thriller, which is further sold by some sharp art direction. Although production value is kind of underwhelming in some places within this sci-fi adventure piece, art director Ian Gracie does a generally fine job of selling this film's futuristic mythology, as well as playing with a minimalist environment in a fashion that helps in capturing intensity, while your eyes go caught by a sharp visual style, for the narrative is very celebratory of darkness and varying shades of light, and cinematographer David Eggby, realizing this, plays up dynamic, dreamy color palettes uniquely and beautifully. If nothing else is distinguished in this derivative sci-fi film, it's a nifty visual style that really does bring some life to this film, and for this, credit is due to director David Twohy, who does more than polish the film well. Twohy hits his share of flaws, as well as quite a few strengths, and while most of those strengths may be stylistic, there are highlights to meditative storytelling, which sometimes bland things up in this draggy, sparse thriller, but is never so dry that dullness ensues, even though such dullness would be swiftly undercut when material to meditate upon kicked in, utilizing style and tasteful plays on atmosphere to establish tension, if not draw your attention towards the depths of this ensemble character study. Thanks to the amateur feel, this is not that intellectual of an independent film, but it's not as straightforward as one might think either, being a rather thoughtful meditation upon unlikely partnerships and betrayals in the midst of danger which may be familiar, but is not completely predictable. The film's story isn't strong, but it is intriguing, and sold reasonably effectively by highlights in Twohy's storytelling, as well as by highlights in acting, for although the amateur feel is reinforced by limitations in acting material, maybe even the occasional mediocre performance, on the whole, most everyone is decent and bonded through convincing chemistry, with Vin Diesel truly stealing the show with an intense presence and sharp charisma that bring the Richard Riddick antihero to life as an unpredictable danger and ally, as well as a worthy icon. What stands out the most in this film has to be Diesel, whose character wouldn't be so memorable if his portrayer didn't help greatly in carrying the film, which may still be too flawed to evolve all that much from underwhelmingness, yet remains intriguing enough on paper and in execution to thrill adequately, just not all that thoroughly. Once the black has passed, subtlety issues, technical shortcomings, underdevelopment, an overlong length, and, of course, familiarity "shine a light", if you will, on natural shortcomings that subtly, but ultimately drive the final product into underwhelmingness, while tense action sequences, fair art direction, sharp visual style, highlights to the telling of an intriguing story, and generally decent performances - the strongest of which being by the thoroughly effective Vin Diesel - prove to be enough to establish "Pitch Black" as a decent and sometimes genuinely thrilling thriller, even though it fumbles a bit when reaching from what potential it has. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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