RIDDICK: Not Really A Trilogy! A Review.
Ok, so Riddick is supposed to be the culmination of the Chronicles of Riddick film trilogy. But truthfully while it transitions from the ending storyline from the previous film, also named Chronicles of Riddick, and yes had a fantastic cameo appearance of Karl Urban, reprising his role as Commander Vaako, walking out of the theater I didn’t feel that this was the ending that it should be, that it was the concluding story, more that it was another chapter in an epic tale.
And maybe it’s just me, but it you advertise something as a conclusion, as an ending; logically it should feel like an ending. It should be the be-all end-all, of the story. Well friends, I found out that there is actually a good reason that it’s not an ending, per say, as Vin Diesel does in fact have plans to film three more, yes you read that right, three more Riddick films. In fact, he is currently writing the script for the next installment. Which while I am excited and yes my body is ready for more… the fact that this film was falsely advertised as the exciting conclusion to the Chronicles of Riddick trilogy really got my goat. I went in to this film with certain expectations and left disappointed, but looking back with the knowledge that this isn’t at all an ending, but just another chapter I am more than satisfied with the movie’s ending.
Now, you’re asking yourself, Audrey do I have to watch the previous films to enjoy this movie? I’m going to tell you that while you don’t have to watch Pitch Black or Chronicles of Riddick or even the lovely animated film Dark Fury, to have an enjoyable experience watching Riddick, but that you really should watch at least Pitch Black. I tell you this as a friend and a fan, that the majority of the second half of the film, and Boss Johns’ (Matt Nable) reason for hunting Riddick (Vin Diesel) is to find out what happened to William Johns (Cole Hauser) from the first film so by watching Pitch Black, as there were no helpful flashbacks here for the audience to remember who Johns was and what happened to him, whereas all you really need to know about the Necromongers from the second film is in a flashback with Karl Urban.
Now before I lose you completely, let me tell you about the two B’s that pop up in this film… Yes I mean Boobs and Booty. While the nudity isn’t all that gratuitous, and it has an R rating, there are three scenes you should be on the lookout for. The first is four hot Necromongers women, scantily clad in a bed, radiating their pain and ecstasy, calling for Riddick to join them. Now this scene is here to show the audience the ennui that Riddick has been feeling since the ending of the second film and that even the siren’s call in his boudoir isn’t enough to make him happy. The next scene to look for is all Riddick, standing naked on a cliff in the setting sun. There’s absolutely no need to show off Vin Diesel’s gloriously ripped back and backside, but as the scene is supposed to portray Riddick’s rebirth, him shucking off the trappings of “domesticity” from the time he was Lord Commander of the Necromonger Army, well, all I can say is that I wish there were more reasons for him to run around naked. The final scene you want to keep your eyes peeled for is Dahl’s (pronounced doll, played by Katee Sackoff) bathroom scene. While every other nudity scene is shadowy, this one is under the bright lights of the Mercenary Outpost’s bathroom. Dahl is giving herself a quick bird-bath, feels like someone is watching her, naked (at least from the waist up) she investigates but finds nothing, but her makeup case is missing. Riddick has taken the time to be a little creepy and almost touch her, but stole her mirrored makeup case instead.
So the nudity in this film was definitely skewed toward showing off the female form more than the male form, but that is to be expected, sadly that is the current expectation in producing a science fiction film, as it is believed that more men watch science fiction than women so men are the target audience. However while I’m okay with the nudity, I was rather appalled at the treatment of Dahl and other female characters throughout this film. In the Necromonger Army, women have a place a breeders or seers, or slaves, but it’s just as bad for men as there are some that are soldiers and others that are servants, and others that are transformed into monstrous creatures. The Necromongers are all bad, but there is balance. The first time in Riddick where we really see women treated poorly is with the female captive of Santana’s (Jordi Molla) Mercenary group. Santana tells one of his crew to let her go on the desolate “Not-Furya” because the ship is running heavy, then before she gets even a hundred yards away, Santana shoots her in the back. All we know of her character is that there may have been some kind of assault, its vague on the details, but it led to her being trussed up in chains and possibly sexually abused. Her death is more of a statement about Santana’s character than anything else.
Dahl is a kick butt mercenary under Boss Johns direction, and while Santana and some of his mercenaries treat her disparagingly based on her sex, and allude to the fact that as a woman all she is good for is sex, she quickly and effectively shoots them down and declares that she doesn’t sleep with men. If you take this statement at face value, along with all the conversations that happen between Riddick and Dahl or about them, then the film is actually rather bigoted toward lesbianism. As if all Dahl needs is the right man, in this case Riddick, in order to make her want to sleep with a man. If on the other hand you take the conversations between them as a sort of tongue in cheek banter, like Riddick respects the fact that she doesn’t sleep with men, but teases her about it and that Dahl knows that Riddick isn’t really interested in her as a lover but respects her as a warrior, then it’s something completely different.
I really appreciated the characterization of Riddick in this film, at least, the first half of it as I’m still not sure how to feel about the whole Dahl and Riddick banter. Mainly because one of the things that make’s Riddick a unique character in this universe is that he doesn’t lie and he keeps his promises, or at least tries to keep them. So think on that while I tell you about the best part of the film. Riddick gets a dog. No really, he does. A dog-like beast that he saves from starvation; the cutest blue-eyed alien puppy you have ever seen. And the time we see him with that animal, reminds the audience that for all that he is a killer, and wild, he also has a softer side, a side that cares about people and animals. It’s that same side of him that saved Jack in Pitch Black, and went after her, not once, but twice, in Chronicles of Riddick. We see true emotion between Riddick and his dog and we see the mask he holds when he’s tranquilized by the Mercenaries. Because Riddick reminds us that for him, showing emotion is a weakness, but feeling emotions is what keeps you from being a monster.
Overall, when you go to see Riddick, I want you to keep these things in mind. First, watch Pitch Black, you will thank me for it. Second, it’s not an ending, but another chapter. Third, watch out for the gratuitous nudity, and enjoy! Fourth, Dahl is a kick butt lesbian merc so even if Riddick wanted to sleep with her she’d probably tranq him… again. Fifth, Riddick has a dog and a softer-side. Now I didn’t talk about special effects or plot but I will tell you that as per all Riddick films, it’s there and its It’s a feast for the eyes and you’ll have a good time. Trust me.