Pitch Black

  • Review Date: August 4, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Original Riddick pic is violent, with teamwork rewarded.
  • Review Date: August 4, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 112 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Teamwork rules the day in this movie. Whenever characters don't cooperate, or think mainly of themselves, they end up as beastie chow. Characters that work together, for the most part, manage to beat the odds. (There are exceptions, however, even to this rule.)
Positive role models
Riddick is a natural born leader, although he's also a killer. Characters begin by not trusting him, but eventually look up to him and depend on him for survival. He's not particularly nice, but he's resourceful and confident. There's a fairly strong female character in Carolyn Fry, but she also has her dark secrets and her moments of weakness.
The movie features very strong sci-fi violence, creature attacks, and gore. Several characters die, including main characters. There's a huge spaceship crash. We see splatters of blood. Characters are shot, stabbed, and slashed. Characters fight and argue with one another.
Not an issue, though two female characters wear somewhat revealing clothing.
Language includes several uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "hell," "ass," "dick," "motherf----r," "a--hole," "Goddamn," "piss," and "God" as an exclamation.
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
One of the characters is a liquor connoisseur. He has several bottles on hand that he's constantly sipping from and trying to protect (he ends up donating them as flammable illumination devices). Characters also smoke cigars, and one character is shown to be addicted to a painkiller, the result of a bad injury.

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.

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 18, 2000
DVD release date:July 11, 2006
Cast:Cole Hauser, Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel
Director:David Twohy
Studios:Universal Pictures, USA Films
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sci-fi violence and gore, and for language

This review of Pitch Black was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy brew November 29, 2014

Riddick origins tale is exiting but very violent

My rating:R for bloody sci-fi violence,langauge,sexual content and drug content


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