The money piled onto J. J. Abrams’ lap for the sequel to the first “Star Trek” re-boot did us no favors.
What happens when Hollywood plies a talented director with money? It’s rather hard not to resist piling on the special effects, like a little boy who is suddenly given too much candy. Result: less human story.
Which is sad! “Into Darkness” opened with a pointless chase scene on a planet over-run by natives (When oh when will Hollywood ever get over the need to fetishize alien cultures by portraying them as mud-slathered savages) and had Spock suiting up in a suit that looked like something from a New York Fashion Week catwalk. Ridiculous! Spock should always be in uniform, at least the first sight of him should be. He is the most cerebral character in the world. No, we do not want to see him in action mode. We want to see him snuggling up to Bambi! Er, to Uhura!
On to discussion of “Riddick,” which is the second sequel to “Pitch Black.”
“Pitch Black” was a very inventive movie. It had a “look.”
The first sequel, “Chronicles of Riddick,” was also gorgeous to look at. Thandy Newton and Karl Urban had opportunity to wear the most fabulous costumes. It also had Judi Dench floating around like a cloud, but her costume unfortunately was limited to white, vaguely Biblical attire.
Now to the sequel to the sequel, “Riddick.”
“Riddick” was on a much leaner budget than “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (naturally, since “Chronicles of Riddick” was a dud — in fact, self considers it a miracle of tenacity that “Riddick” was made at all) and the first half is pure theater. Unfortunately, one cannot have Vin Diesel alone for an entire movie. He has to engage in human interaction at some point, and self thinks it was extremely witty to have him, first, calling the hunters to him (as one of the mercs later says: “He called a taxi”) by self-identifying and beaming out to the universe his presence on a planet we know only as “Not Furya.” Naturally, this bit of chutzpah calls forth every two-bit merc in the vicinity, and we soon have two groups battling each other for the honor of putting Riddick’s head in a box.
And then there’s Katee Sackhoff who appears with the second group of mercs and keeps referring to the leader as “Boss,” which is interesting as she seems very “no-nonsense” and “take-charge” and calling someone “Boss” even though he actually IS a boss seems antithetical to the character. But anyhoo.
Because of a rather limited budget, what happens is the characters never get off-planet. This is great! This is wonderful!
There is much macho posturing. Also great!
There is an extended bathing scene involving Sackhoff, which reveals that this woman has quite a sultry figure (not apparent in “Battlestar Galactica,” the TV series which brought her recognition), and that her hairdo really sets off her neck and shoulders very nicely. Super great!
After this bath scene (In the future, every movie and TV show should feature a bath scene, like the pivotal one in “Game of Thrones” Season 3 Episode 5), Riddick can be forgiven for — Heavens! — actually FLIRTING with Dahl.
Flirting is wonderful. Especially in the middle of a David Twohy film.
All in all, “Riddick” gave self quite a pleasurable two hours. Also because it was preceded by a preview for Keanu’s new movie, “47 Ronin,” which caused self’s jaw to drop all the way to the floor (The awesomeness of lines like: “THEIR armies are infinite. And we are . . . 47 ronin!”)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.