Once you learn that writer/director David Twohy directed "The Arrival" and wrote such classics as "Terminal Velocity," "Waterworld" (as co-writer) and "G.I. Jane," you can quickly conclude that the probability he's going to wipe his ass with the science fiction/horror film genre is so high that it's a good idea to miss "Pitch Black." Unfortunately, we're not all that lucky.
Let me just point out all the differences between this film and "Alien": In "Alien" the ship answers a distress call. In "Pitch Black," the ship mysteriously crash lands on a planet...
You see, myriad differences such as these are important because in "Alien" the audience doesn't sit there and spend the entire movie wondering, "Gee, isn't it weird that they just happened to land on this particular planet at this particular time?" What other distracting coincidences are offered to entertain us? How about the fact that the planet is full of creatures who thrive at night and eat anything that moves? How about the character who has implants that allow him to be the sole crew member who can see in the dark? How about the conveniently-placed solar eclipse that causes anything living on the planet -- that's you, crash survivors -- to be totally screwed?
It'd be nice if one day, somebody could put a group of people on one of these space ships that wasn't entirely dysfunctional. On this one, there's Johns (Cole Hauser), a bounty hunter with an addiction; Imam (Keith David), a Muslim cleric who prays to Allah even though his children get eaten (thanks, Allah); Riddick (Vin Diesel), a convicted murderer, and Fry (Radha Mitchell), a woman who nearly jettisons the entire crew quarters. To add insult to injury, Fry breaks a cardinal rule of cryogenic space travel, the one stating that you have to be naked or in your underwear. Radha Mitchell, who plays Fry, emerges fully clothed. Whose dumb idea was that?
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