Entirely black. To the point of being unable to tell where you are or the position of anything around you, except through touch. To test for this state one generally swings his/her hand in front of their face, about a 1/2 inch from the tip of their nose. If you can't see it, it's pitch black. You also tend to tell by hitting yourself with your hand in the process. This either means you're buzzed, or its pitch black.

Also a sci-fi flick released in 2000, which drew rather negative reviews, and flopped in the box office. Another blatant attempt to make Aliens with new alien fodder characters and aliens with a slightly different body structure (but they're still black, duh!).
Why, many people ask me, are you such an unappreciative jerk? You're a damn cinema freak, so why exactly are you so critical of nearly every movie you see? You love science fiction, but you laugh mockingly at modern classics like Pitch Black and Starship Troopers. You should be grateful they even make science fiction movies. Doesn't anything please you? What, for example, is your problem with Pitch Black?

I have a couple of standard answers that I use in these cases, and the selection of an answer depends on how much I like or respect the person I'm talking to. Most people don't get more than a condescending sneer or the verbal equivalent, but when pressed I can rattle off a whole list of problems. I've been molested into seeing this piece of trashy eye-candy twice now, and the second viewing did not eliminate any of my basic complaints:

Part One: If it's going to be billed as science fiction, you might want to learn some science.

  • The trinary star system which creates the entire premise of the movie is the most unstable configuration of heavenly bodies ever conceived on film. Three stars, and a giant ringed planet in close proximity, with a handful of other planets tossed around the system (look at the model system Fry finds in the laboratory - there are seven or eight planets). While I'm sure systems very similar to this have existed very briefly, I find it highly unlikely that the planets' orbits would be regular enough for the evolution of complex life forms.
  • The aforementioned giant planet has three rings - one standard equatorial ring and one near each pole. Apparently someone decided that a single ring was too common, too prosaic for an effective visual. "Fer chrissakes, we got one of those in our own Solar System - been there, done that. Gimme three rings." Yeah. Well, maybe my understanding of physics simply isn't advanced enough, but as far as I know there is no way in our universe that a planet could develop polar rings for more than about five seconds. And if I remember correctly, these rings are rotating in opposite directions!
  • The creatures that are so afraid of the light that they won't even come close to a lightstick or a torch, have somehow managed to become not just the top of the food chain, but one of only two species to survive on a planet which is constantly lit by three suns for something like 8029 out of every 8030 days (that's using Earth years, but I hope you get the point). This doesn't make a whole lot of evolutionary sense. And what have the creatures been eating for the last couple of thousand years, ever since they ate the last of the other native species? Did they just wait around for some human prospectors to show up? If they were eating each other, it seems a little funny that there are so damn many of them.
  • This brings up another point, regarding the hibernation of the creatures. Animals that hibernate don't usually burst out of their nests raring to go, flying after prey in flocks of thousands, the very second they wake up. They need a long warmup period. They need time to wake up their senses and loosen the muscles. They may eat grass or insects for a while to recover the energy expended during hibernation. They do not come arrowing after the funny-looking two-legged creatures that move fast, hold blinding lights, and are strong enough to kill just about any living thing.
  • Even if you buy the strange habits of the creatures, the ecology of the planet is completely idiotic. What lives on this planet? The entire biosphere is comprised of about four species: big flying predators, gigantic dinosaur-style animals that may be larger versions of the predators, little glowing slug creatures, and a single variety of cactus. Sorry, but nature doesn't work that way. From our knowledge of hundreds of different habitats on Earth, we can safely extrapolate and assume that in order to support large predators, there need to be some prey species, most likely herbivores, and to support herbivores we need some plants. And four species just don't make a stable ecosystem. You don't need a biology degree to know this - a couple of games of SimLife would have sufficed.

Part Two: Million-to-one coincidences do not make great heroic epics. At best, they make almost-funny water cooler anecdotes.

  • Holy Mother of Plot Devices, our ship has just been trashed by meteorites in the middle of an interstellar flight. If only we could find a planet with a breathable atmosphere and standard Earth gravity, close enough to make a controlled dive onto. Oh, wait, what's that right there?
  • Shit, there is only one little human settlement on the entire planet. I wonder how far away from it we crashed.
  • The planet is eclipsed for one day out of every 22 years or so. Hang on, lemme check my datebook...
  • Damn, it's about to turn pitch black in here. Wouldn't it be convenient if we had someone with us who had just happened to get eye surgery enabling him to see in the dark?
  • Oh geez, I think these creatures have a keen sense of smell and may be attracted to our blood. Gosh, I hope the girl masquerading as a boy doesn't happen to be menstruating right now.

Part Three: This movie boldly goes where a million others have gone before, some of them several times.

  • Hmm... "Alien" monsters and plucky female second-in-command who makes questionable command decisions but turns out to be a wonderful person anyway? Gee, I don't think I've seen that one in any science fiction movies before.
  • "Creature POV" shots using cool night-vision photography to simulate the Predator's different vision. Lessee, we got Predator, Wolfen, Lake Placid, Jaws, Alien 3, Mimic... I wonder if there are any more?
  • The convicted murderer on the run, who turns out to be the good guy - do you mean he's some kind of "Fugitive"?
  • Great flat, desolate desert scenery. Looks a little familiar, though. Almost like the scenery in Mad Max 2. I wonder if any of the guys who worked on this one also worked on the Max movies?
  • Female protagonist and spunky teenager reluctantly join forces with an evil-looking muscleman whose voice never loses its calm, menacing drone, who stalks them for a while before suddenly jumping in to rescue them from the real monster. Now why couldn't James Cameron think of that? Oh, wait, he did.
  • One more thing. The whole idea of a planet bathed in light for decades on end, with an eclipse happening once in a blue moon, with shocking effect? Isaac Asimov. Classic Asimov, I might add. One of his most recognised stories. It was called Nightfall. For a long time, director David Twohy was thinking about just doing a film version of Nightfall. Then, the Muse of Bad Movies only knows why, he decided it would be much cooler with a souped-up convict as hero and a host of "strange" monsters chasing him, and proceeded to throw in a handful of quirky minor characters whose only function is to die interestingly. Unfortunately, almost any science fiction writer will tell you that this kind of thinking is symptomatic of Hollywood SF "adaptations". (Do you think Philip Dick would even recognize Total Recall as one of his stories? I seriously doubt it).

"Pitch Black" is not entirely devoid of redeeming features. The cinematography is excellent, and the use of filters is a nice, if not completely realistic, attempt to convey the atmosphere of a planet lit by suns that are unlike our own. The eclipse scene, in particular, is a technically wonderful scene, highlighting the splendid special effects art, a deft touch by the director, and wonderful camera work. Finally, Riddick is an extremely cool anti-hero played to perfection by rising star Vin Diesel, who will hopefully be treated with a little more respect in the upcoming "Chronicles of Riddick". But one cool five-minute segment and one good action star do not make a movie good, any more than a ringed planet and an impossible alien make a movie science fiction.

A movie released on the turn of the 21st century.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror.
Director: David Twohy.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Keith David, Radha Mitchell, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Cole Hauser.
Runtime: 109 minutes.
Web site: http://www.pitch-black.com/

Let me put it this way: Hungry, bored, plain stupid? Make your own 'Pitch Black'!

The Ingredients:

  • blanket.
  • flashlight.
  • pair of black swimming goggles.
  • disgusting plastic cockroach that shines in the dark.
  • large popcorn and a coke.
The making process:
  1. Get under blanket, pretend that you are 5 years old and you are hiding from aliens.
  2. Turn on the flashlight and put on the goggles.
  3. Spend 1 hour and 47 minutes of boring quality time with yourself.
  4. Eat the popcorn and take a zip from the coke.
  5. After precisely 1 hour and 48 minutes turn off the flashlight.
  6. Wave the shiny cockroach in the air, and make scary noises.
  7. Take the goggles off, finish the coke and go home you sick fuck!
Now, if you did not understand any of the above it means that you are probably among the people who actually have a life, and were fortunate enough to miss Pitch Black.

Two major rights were violated during the making of Pitch Black. The basic human rights of the viewers who had to put up with two hours of this crap, and various Copyrights.

Pitch Black is an obvious rip off from two sources. First, the stranded spaceship, the deserted colony on the planet, the dangers from within and without the crew are all classic elements of the 'Alien' series. Second, the idea of a destruction which strikes a planet in cycles of a few years, every time an eclipse takes place is a shameless rip off from Isaac Asimov's famous book Nightfall.

In spite of all the great stolen ideas, Pitch Black is still a bad movie. There is no backbone to the story. They just crash on the planet and immediately begin their rescue. Not much dialogs either, you could probably watch the movie in mute and still understand a great deal.

The main motive of confusing between light and darkness and between good and and evil is emphasized in the sudden change of roles between the 'law enforcing' man and the dangerous murderer. But instead of adding any depth to the movie it lacks reliability, and ends up adding nothing but the element of surprise.

Of course one could claim that since this is a horror movie that is exactly what its makers wanted to achieve. But it is very clear when you watch the movie that Pitch Black was intended to be a cross between science fiction and a thriller. It was meant, and had the potential, to be better, much better. But for some reason it turned out to be a slasher movie movie, and a horrible movie it is indeed.

Oh, you think this is harsh go see the movie.

credits source: http://imdb.com/

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