Review – Riddick (2013)

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pBaKVXmCQQhZittkhTYQW9WYr2sI am now finished watch the Riddick films, ending with the most recent film released four years ago. Truthfully, the series has gotten pretty strange as soon as Riddick became the leader of the Necromongers. Thankfully, I think the makers of the films sort of understood that when they decided to make it a trilogy. They had to get it back to normal somehow, and Riddick seems to be the way they did that. So how was this one? Let’s get into it.

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy. Written by Universal Pictures

PEOPLE
★★★★★★★

This category is all about the people in the film. This covers their acting ability, if the characters themselves are any good, if they work well together as a team, if they are deeper or flatter as characters, and if the casting director even did their job right. These are all very important issues to consider while reviewing film.
  1.  Acting: ★★
    • First, let’s talk about the acting. The very first thing you’ll even notice when you watch the film is the acting has changed a little and has become more in your face. Riddick is now the most vulnerable he has ever been in a land that’s mostly barren, other than a few creatures. Without many others, you know a lot of focus had to be on his acting alone, which carried a lot of the rest of the film. Two stars.
  2.  Characters: ★★
    • The first Riddick movie had some pretty memorable characters, the second…not so much, but we’re back to memorable characters for the third movie. There’s a ton of people here that eventually show up. Two full ships of people coming to catch Riddick for the money, and of course, Riddick himself, and they are all kind of memorable in their own right. Two stars.
  3. Good Casting: ★★
    • With so many people playing all of these one-time characters, it’s hard not to think if any of them could have been cast by anyone else. I thought about this for a while, and I can’t think of a better cast than this, oddly enough. I think they all add rather well to the plot exactly how they should have. Two stars.
  4.  Good Importance: ★★
    • Each and every player had their reason to be there, had their own role to play on their ship, etc. Could the film survive without one of them? Maybe, but they’d just adopt the role to someone else, and it probably wouldn’t work as well. Two stars.
  5.  Good chemistry: ★★
    • Once again, Vin Diesel worked really well with the people, the two teams worked well with each other, and within their own groups, everything here clicked and fit well. Two stars.

Subtotal: 10/10

WRITING
★★★★★★

This category obviously covers the writing aspect of the critique. First, you want to know a little bit about the script. Specifically, how is the dialogue? Are they saying anything memorable or inspirational…or was it just a bland conversation to keep the story going? How was the story itself? Was it well-balanced or over-convoluted? Was it original? Was it even interesting? Once again, all very important questions
  1.  Dialogue: ★★
    • Now, let’s talk about the dialogue. The second movie just copy/pasted a lot of the lines from the first film, which ultimately didn’t really work for it. This one seemed to add more for Vin Diesel, which definitely helped things. Also, the first half or so when Riddick was alone, the absence of spoken word actually spoke volumes, making it memorable for the dialogue anyway. Two stars.
  2.  Good Balance: ★☆
    • Next up is the balance, in which the film could have been better with. It almost feels like three short movies. One with a vulnerable Riddick in the wilderness, one with a cat and mouse game with the people from the two ships, and the third was a survival film against creatures that come with the rain. All good segments, but a little too different in order for this to really be balanced for me. One star.
  3.  Good Story: ☆☆
    • Now, the story is pretty nonexistent here, to be honest. All it is re-invention of who Riddick is supposed to be, and really just another story involving him. It doesn’t mean anything, nor does it really have a strong foundation. It’s just fun, not important. No stars.
  4.  Originality: ★★
    • Originality in this film is pretty good, even if the story itself an incredibly strong one. I felt like I was watching a movie that was new and unique. For me, the writers figured something out since the second movie, something that needed to be done for the character and film to feel fresh and original, and I think they did it. Two stars.
  5.  Interesting: ★★
    • It’s obviously an interesting story for me because it is Vin Diesel as Riddick, but it was more than that…this was like the quintessential Riddick for me. This was how he always should have been. This takes a really hard look into his character and motivations, and to me, that’s more than interesting. Two stars.

Subtotal: 17/20

BEHIND-THE-SCENES
★★★★★★★★

Never forget that there are hard-working individuals working on this film day in and day out. It’s a great story, yes, but people helped make that possible. People like the directors, who have to take written word on a script, and somehow translate that for the big screen in a way an audience would understand. Editors, who are given a ton of material and expected to further make that idea and image the director has already – into a reality, like the director of photography, whose job is to make this movie look amazing…whether that means natural settings and landscapes, CGI, 3D, technical effects, or otherwise. The production crew, who are in charge of making advertisements that aren’t false, and don’t give too much away. Finally, the sound crew, who are in charge of everything the audio has – sound effects, sound editing, music, you name it. These are all puzzle pieces.
  1. Visuals: ★★
    • This is clearly the best-looking Riddick film that’s out there. The people in charge of CGI figured out their main issues and worked on them a while before they made this movie. Everything looks really great, other than very short glimpses of ships in space. Everything from the landscapes to the lighting to the CGI and fighting looks pretty immaculate. Two stars.
  2.  Directing: ★★
    • This was a directing job for someone that was passionate about Riddick because there’s a lot of really great looking shots and sequences that the director clearly filmed with Vin Diesel in mind. Good stuff here, nothing but praises. Two stars.
  3.  Editing: ★★
    • This was probably the best editing job out of the trilogy. Why? Because it took the audience into consideration, and we really got to see everything that was going on, instead of only quick close-up shots where anything could be happening. This was stitched together really well, and made good use of some flashbacks, too. Two stars.
  4.  Advertisement: ★★
    • As far as I could tell, it was as advertised, so I’ll give it two stars.
  5.  Music: ★☆
    • This could have been better, as everything else got better…but the music mostly stayed the same forgettable stuff it’s always been. One star.

Subtotal: 26/30

NARRATIVE ARC
★★★★★★★

Have you ever been left wondering what it was about a film that felt…off, but you couldn’t place what it was? Well, a lot of people actually aren’t educated on the traditional narrative arc structure – which is seen in almost every movie or book story. With a missing piece, you might not understand what feels missing.
  1.  Introduction: ★★
    • The introduction to Riddick was simply the vulnerable/loner parts, it was a reinvention of the character, so we get to see him build himself back up to the animal he used to be on this barren wasteland of a planet. Two stars.
  2.  Inciting Incident/Crossing the Threshold: ★★
    • The inciting incident is when Riddick makes a distress beacon call to whoever is listening that he is there, a fugitive worth a ton of money if brought back dead. The crossing of the threshold occurs when the two ships arrive, both ready to find Riddick for different reasons. Two stars.
  3.  Obstacles: ★★
    • This series has never had any trouble in the obstacles department. This character is known for fighting impossible beasts and warriors, so don’t worry…there’s plenty of obstacles in this movie. Two stars.
  4.  Epiphany/Climax: ★★
    • No spoilers, of course, but there is a pretty decent climax here. Two stars.
  5.  Falling Action: ★★
    • Finally, the falling action was probably one of the best falling actions the series has had as well. It’s not long or anything, but it’s enough to be satisfied with. Two stars.

Subtotal: 36/40

OVERALL ENTERTAINMENT
★★★★★★★

Here’s something most critics overlook because they’re always so keyed in on critiquing the technical elements of a film. Well, that may be statistically accurate, but the numbers that are released aren’t always reflective of what we enjoyed about it…which is when we say the movie was under-appreciated or whatever. This category focuses on pure entertainment.
  1.  Rewatchability: ★★
    • Yes, there is nothing keeping me from watching this again. Two stars.
  2.  Fun: ★★
    • Yep, just like all the others in the series, Riddick is really fun. Two stars.
  3.  Impulse to buy it: ★
    • I would buy it as part of a series, or I’d buy a cheap version of this movie all on its own, but that’s about it. One star.
  4.  Impulse to talk to someone about it: ★☆
    • Not really. I mean, I kind of want to discuss certain parts of it with other people, but I won’t kick myself if I don’t get to. One star.
  5.  Sucks the audience in: ★★
    • As per yeush, it definitely sucks us in. Maybe more than any of the others. Two stars.

Subtotal: 44/50

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SPECIALTY QUESTIONS

These are special questions written by you before seeing the movie, based on expectations, questions, stereotypes, you name it. If it’s a Tom Cruise movie, have Cruise-isms, if it’s a horror film, ask how scary it is, if it’s a sequel, ask if it fits in with the universe or if it was even needed to begin with, you catch the drift.

Riddick Universe
★★★★★★★★★★

SPECIALTY QUESTION #1

The first thing you’d expect after seeing some advertisements for this is hey, this is that Riddick guy in another movie. So, this is a sequel, how does it fit in with the universe? Does it add anything? Did they raise the bar? I believe this not only fits in with the universe, but it defines the universe.

Action
★★★★★★★★★★

SPECIALTY QUESTION #2

The next thing you’ll notice is that this is it’s still an action film. So, how’s the action? The action is pretty top notch most of the time that you actually can see it. I think the added location really helped make the action stand out in different ways, so that’s pretty cool. Ten stars.

Threat
★★★★★★★★★★

SPECIALTY QUESTION #3

Next up is a basic expectation regarding the threat of the film. By now, you expect there to be some kind of impossible threat that only Riddick can face. The first film it was flesh-eating creatures. The second movie is these soldiers that keep going to planets, keep converting people to join them, and keep killing those who don’t. The more they convert, the more powerful and untouchable they are. So, I’d say this was pretty good too. Ten stars.

Darkness
★★★★★★★★★★

SPECIALTY QUESTION #4

Next specialty question comes down to darkness. Riddick sort of has a super power. He can see in the dark. The first movie was really bright for half of the film, but really dark for the rest of it, which helped utilize his special abilities. The Chronicles of Riddick really under-utilized his gift. This film, though, adapted a more realistic use of his powers, and probably was my favorite utilization of them. I have no qualms here. 10 Stars.

HALFWAY DECENT
★★★★★★★★★★

SPECIALTY QUESTION #5

Last but not least, is it halfway decent? Meaning, can I personally think of a better way to make it? Oh, this movie was pretty great, so I’m not gonna really complain here. 10 stars.

RATING: 94/100

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