Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blu-ray Review - "Riddick"


They say if you want something to either stay or go away, to speak with your wallet. Unfortunately last September audiences said they were pretty much done with the Riddick franchise as this third installment landed with a gigantic thud when it was released in theaters. The reason this turn of events is so unfortunate is that despite whatever your feelings were about the last entry (Chronicles), Riddick is a really fun popcorn flick with some decent action, interesting characters and a neat Sci-fi world that was full of danger.

However, much like 2012's most overlooked film Dredd (which was also released in September), Riddick has now been released on Blu-ray which will give it a second chance to lure in those reluctant audiences who are more willing to throw down a couple dollars than a full priced ticket. Those daring individuals will find a film that on the surface is very similar to the original film Pitch Black, but is different enough to justify covering familiar territory. While it isn't as solid a film as Dredd is, Riddick has a good chance of succeeding on Blu-ray where it failed in theaters. Read the full review after the break.

Review Vital Stats:
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Player: Playstation 4
Monitor: Samsung 40' LCD Series 5
Picture Quality: 1080p
Sound Quality: DTS HD - English

To read my original review for the Theatrical Release of Riddick, just follow the link below.



Before we get into all the goodies located on the disc, we must discuss this new Director's cut version of the film which adds roughly 8 minutes to the runtime. Unless you do a back to back comparison, the added scenes are almost unrecognizable, which means they either contribute to the film or are insignificant. In this case, it's a little of both since the added scenes which consists entirely of the already few select scenes involving the Necromongers, the bad guys from the second film and the people Riddick finds himself in charge of at the beginning of this new film, don't really contribute to the overall film.

Since this new chapter in Riddick's life is less about his time with the Necromongers and more about his survival on a hostile planet, editing these scenes from the theatrical cut was a wise idea, especially since they do feel more like exposition sequences more than anything and a way to discard the events of the second film as quickly as possible. But, where the bulk of that 8 minutes comes into play, which is in the form of a brand new ending to the film, it not only bookends the film rather nicely, it also sets the stage for what the next film will (or would have) gone.


In the end though, these extra scenes will only appeal to the hardcore Riddick fans out there who, for some reason, hold the mythology of the character close to their chest. If you wanted this third film to have more ties to the second film and were a little dismayed by how nearly everything in that film was kicked to the side, then these added scenes will likely excite you, but if you are here only for this one particular chapter in Riddick's journey, they will likely not even register as anything other than a distraction from the real meat of the film, which has nothing to do with Necromongers.

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What's on the disc?

This about as standard a set of special features as you are likely to find on any blu-ray, but considering the legacy of this franchise and the non-existent box office take, we should be lucky to have anything at all. Just about the only thing that could have really sweetened this pot with is an audio commentary by Twohy and Diesel, or at the very least a bit more info on the journey it was to get this film made outside the studio system to only turn around and sell it right back to the exact same studios who wanted nothing to do with it.


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The Twohy Touch (6:22) (HD) - Sort of a puff piece on the film's director/writer David Twohy, but still laced with some interesting tid bits about how they decided what direction to take the film in.

Riddickian Tech (10:14) (HD) - Exactly as the title suggests. Showing off a lot of the toys featured in the film such as the vehicles, weapons and sets and the varying creative processes that brought them to life on the screen. Basically this is your usual set tours and explanations that show the immense amount of detail that went into the most insignificant of things.

Vin's Riddick (8:50) (HD) - A breakdown on how the character and story of Riddick on paper quickly became Vin Diesel's legacy and how the actor retained ownership of everything having to do with the character's mythology and ultimately how he has developed over the course of the three films. If there is one thing you will take away from this, it's that Diesel truly does own the character of Riddick in every way imaginable.


Meet the Mercs (10:44) HD - A closer look at the two very different groups of mercs who hunt down Riddick. The casting for all the mercs was spot on and this extended introduction to them is a lot of fun and informative, especially since most don't last too long in the film.

The World of Riddick (10:50) HD - One of the coolest aspects to this new Riddick film is the alien world that we find our anti-hero left for dead on and this feature is dedicated to breaking down the creation of the world and its very alien inhabitants such as Riddick's pet which had a surprising amount of work put into it.

Riddick: Blindsided (5:29) HD - Short motion comic that gives a slight bit of backstory to how Riddick finds himself left stranded on an alien world.


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Movie   -  B
Video   -  A+
Audio   -  A+
Extras  -  B


FINAL THOUGHTS:

This third chapter in the Riddick franchise is a fine return to the style of the first film while also paying respect to the much more epic second chapter that came before it. While it is unknown whether or not we will see the further adventures of Riddick, we can at the very least say that if it is, the series went out in fine form. As for the disc itself, the audio and video are of course the expected perfection that high definition delivers, but the bonus features (while plentiful) only barely scratch the surface of a project that took many years to get made. Don't let that sway you from picking this disc up though. If you are a fan of either or both previous films, this should be a no brainer and an instant purchase.

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