What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pitch Black is the sci-fi action movie that spawned Vin Diesel's "Riddick" franchise. This first movie, however, is mostly about characters working together to survive a greater threat. It features strong sci-fi violence, with creature attacks, blood splatters, shooting, fighting, and death. Language is also very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." One character keeps a stash of fancy liquor, another smokes cigars, and a third is addicted to painkillers. Sex isn't much of an issue, though two of the female characters are dressed in skimpy/sexy outfits. Overall, older teens should be OK, especially given the movie's admirable themes.
What's the story?
A space transport filled with slumbering passengers crash-lands on an uncharted planet. Co-pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) survives, along with convicted killer Riddick (Vin Diesel), who is in the custody of William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), as well as a holy man (Keith David), and a liquor dealer (Lewis Fitz-Gerald). The survivors discover that, though the planet has three suns, it also has a night that lasts an indefinite amount of time. The darkness brings out the carnivorous local beasties, hungry for humans. Fortunately, Riddick has the skills they need to survive, but can they trust him? Or, worse, can they trust one another?
Is it any good?
After making his directorial debut with The Arrival, screenwriter David Twohy (The Fugitive) proved that he had the stuff to be a strong director of genre films on modest-sized budgets. PITCH BLACK was another of these, a slam-bang action movie with lots of jump-scares and gore, but based around some good ideas and character interactions.
Twohy makes the most out of the concept of two enemies teaming up to fight a greater enemy, as well as the sci-fi idea of a planet engulfed in total darkness. He employs some terrifically spooky effects to show Riddick's night vision; the whole movie looks great given its limited locations and general lack of razzle-dazzle. It's clearly indebted to movies like The Thing from Another World and Alien, but it's also innovative enough to join them. (Twohy's sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, was four times as expensive, and not half as smart or entertaining.)
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about the movie's sci-fi violence. How much is shown and how much is only suggested? How effective is this style of violence? How did it make you feel?
- How does teamwork operate in this movie? How does being selfish lead to one's demise?
- What is the appeal of the Riddick character? Is he a good role model?
- Are the monsters in this movie scary? Why or why not?