AnneCarlini.com Home
 
  Giveaways!
  Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  The Home of WAXEN WARES Candles!
  Angelina Jolie (Those Who Wish Me Dead)
  Check Out Anne Carlini Productions Now!!
  David Chase (Creator, ‘The Many Saints of Newark’)
  NEW! Crystal Gayle
  NEW! Chez Kane
  MTU Hypnosis
  NEW! Ellen Foley (2021)
  NEW! Doogie White (2021)
  COMMENTS FROM EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE READERS!
  Michigan Siding Company for ALL Your Outdoor Needs


©2021 annecarlini.com
Ghost Canyon

'Pitch Black: Special Edition' [4K Ultra HD]
(Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Keith David, Cole Hauser, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / R / (2000) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: When an intergalactic transport ship crashes on a remote desert planet with no sign of help on the horizon, the survivors, led by Fry (Radha Mitchell), band together to find a way back home.

Among the passengers is Riddick (Vin Diesel), a convicted murderer being transported by marshal Johns (Cole Hauser) and now freed of his chains and on the loose.

But as a solar eclipse plunges the planet into total darkness, a threat even worse than Riddick reveals itself, and the last humans standing may have to form an uneasy truce with the cunning fugitive (whose eyes have been surgically altered to see in the dark) to last the long night.

Blu-ray Verdict: Arrow Films / MVD Visual is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply brilliant 'Pitch Black’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 1st, 2020.

For my money, this 'Pitch Black: 4K Ultra HD's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in the 4K Ultra HD world and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Pitch Black' presented to us as a two-disc Blu-ray edition. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (68.04 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 and Original aspect ratio: 2.35:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as The Dark Brings Devils scene, where the creatures are taking flight in front of a burnt orange back drop, that now comes alive, shimmers and shines! It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the frantic cave scene midway through, where the creatures are swooping at the band of humans trying to escape them, and Vin is the macho, dark sunglassed hero with the flaming torch). Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we only have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, the year 2000 was awash with sci-fi movies, not all were stellar of course, but siting at the top end of the scale was this - director David Twohy's super slice of action/horror/sci-fi cake.

Right from the off we are thrust on board the cargo ship Hunter- Gratzner, which as it happens is plummeting through space. The ship has been hit by meteorite debris and junior officer Caroline Fly (Mitchell), after coming out of hyper sleep, manages to crash land on a nearby planet.

Only a handful of passengers survive the crash, including infamous convict Richard B. Riddick (Diesel), but as the survivors struggle to cope with the threat from within the group, it becomes apparent that there's a bigger threat soon to join the party - a deadly alien species, a species that can only operate in the dark.

Pity, then, that an eclipse is due!

Ok, so lets get the obvious out in the open right away: Yes, 'Pitch Black' is a variant of 'Alien', one of a ream of films that grabbed the coat tails of Ridley Scott's game changer.

Yet this is still a fresh movie, a lesson in low budget film making with grace, style, blood, brains and balls - the execution grade "A" from those involved.

It's maybe surprising given the synopsis, to find that it's a very character driven piece, with Twohy continually building his characters even as the carnage and terror is unleashed - and these are a very diverse bunch of characters.

One of the universe's baddest criminals, a spunky lady officer having to take command, a morphine addicted bounty hunter, an Islamic priest and his young companions, a camp alcoholic and a couple of strays.

It's the not so wild bunch, but everyone of them are afforded chance to impact on the story before and during the inevitable picking off one by one at the claws of the beasts.

The narrative strength comes via Diesel's hulking convict, he's double jointed and has had optical surgery so he can see his enemies in the dark!

The group must come to rely on him for he is clearly their best hope of survival, but can he be trusted? What is his ultimate ulterior motive? Riddick is the épée to Fry's foil, it's at times like a devil and angel trying to become one in the simple name of survival.

These crux characters lift the simple premise to greater heights, that Mitchell (sexy/vulnerable/hard/smart) and Diesel (moody/beefy/gravelly/menacing) are bang on form helps no end. As does the work of the tech department.

The setting created here is a splendid veer from one of the curses of sci-fi films, that of an unbelievable world. Twohy, Eggby and the art department achieve a world of 3 suns, of a scorched barren landscape, with the photography switching between bleached and metallic filters for maximum sci-fi impact.

While the effects work belies the budget, check out the pre-eclipse sequence. What of the creatures themselves? They are legion, a sort of pterodactyl nightmare who let out high pitched bleats, they smell blood and move at high speeds, and like Riddick they have special vision in the dark, it's the light that they are afraid of, thus this gives our survivors a glimmer (ahem) of hope in how to stave them off.

The science and logic is hokey, but so what? This is a classy and taut sci-fi film brought about by a very under valued director, one that puts many a bigger budgeted Hollywood production to shame.

Indeed, come the finale, where there's still time to have your jaw dropped, you may be minus some nails and perched on the very edge of your viewing seat. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 4K restoration by Arrow Films of the Theatrical and Directors Cuts of the film, approved by director David Twohy
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround on both cuts
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
Archive commentary with director David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser
Archive commentary with director David Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black, a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer David Twohy
Black Box: Jackie's Journey, a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith
Black Box: Shazza's Last Stand, a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black
Black Box: Bleach Bypassed, a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby
Black Box: Cryo-Locked, a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
Black Box: Primal Sounds, a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell
The Making of Pitch Black, a short behind-the-scenes featurette
Pitch Black Raw, a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage
Additional behind-the-scenes making of footage
2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, A View Into The Dark, and Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia
Johns Chase Log, a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character's hunt for Riddick
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (in 16:9 widescreen with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio), an animated short film directed by Peter Chung that acts as a bridge point between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Vin Diesel, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith reprising their roles
Dark Fury bonus features including Bridging The Gap, Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator, A View Into The Light, and a pre-animation version of the film
Slam City, a motion comic from the film's official website
Into Pitch Black, a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film
Raveworld: Pitch Black Event footage
Theatrical trailers, sequels & video game trailers
Image galleries
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned 'night' and 'day' artwork by Luke Preece
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collectors booklet feat. new writing by Simon Ward on the film's creature designs, original production notes, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog magazine

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





...Archives