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Today, we start with an old concept of mine. We haven't done one of these since March 2001. What is it? 10 DAYS OF SCRIPT REVIEWS. Every day for the next 10 working days, we'll bring you one script review in this very column. We start with my thoughts on the Pitch Black 2 screenplay. Tomorrow's issue will feature a script review of Dreamcatcher.
My Review of Pitch Black 2
I have been a Pitch Black fan for well over 2 years. After missing it in theatres, I managed to catch it once on Pay-Per-View. Woah! It was a pretty awesome ride. I've always been a big fan of science fiction films and this one was quite excellent. The flick had breathtaking direction by David Twohy and a superb show-stealing performance by Vin Diesel. His 'Riddick' was the highlight of the movie. Whenever he was on screen you could feel the electricity. Anyone who has followed him since Fast and Furious needs to go back and watch Pitch Black. You won't be dissapointed. After the mega success of The Fast and The Furious, Universal Pictures finally listened to David Twohy and his pitch for a Pitch Black spinoff featuring Riddick. They signed Vin Diesel for a cool 11 million dollars. Production is scheduled to begin in April in Vancouver, Canada.
Vancouver, Canada. Yeah, really. A shady corporate executive named Marek is looking for mercenary Kyra. He wants her for a special mission: Help him Find Riddick (Vin Diesel). How does can she help him? Turns out Kyra is a grown-up Jack(the girl disguised as a guy) from the first movie. She based her life on Riddick's philosophy. Where's our favorite psycho-criminal wearing googles? Well, he resides on the 3 suns planet from the first film. His current source of food is those oh-so-sweet Hammerheads from the first movie. Marek has a mission for the big guy, who accepts because the Genosphere Corporation (which owns North America) can erase his criminal record. It's quite simple, they (Kyra is coming along) have to go to Remorus, the forest planet, steal a brand new source of energy from a remote highly guarded compound and bring it back to Earth. Sounds easy, right? Not quite. The new source of energy is part of the 'living' planet. Once they remove the source, the planet instinctively trys to defend itself. It unleashes tiger/tree-like creatures through out the planet to prevent our crew from leaving. Will they make it out alive?
Before I begin my review, let me just say this. I hope this isn't the current draft that David Twohy and his team are using. I remember reading somewhere that Twohy came back after the first draft and pitched his 'Evil Star Wars' trilogy idea. Even though the end doesn't suggest it's the basis of a bigger epic, it could very well still be the current screenplay used. If anyone knows, please let me know immediately.
Why? It's the ultimate question every sequel should ask itself. If they can't answer it, they shouldn't do it. Why do we need to see these characters again? Why? This screenplay serves no purpose whatsoever. Do we learn anything new about Riddick? Nope. Oh wait, he's originally from Montana. What has he been up to since the first film? That question is never answered. He dropped Kyra somewhere and went on with his life. Yipee-doo! Why the hell would he go back and reside on the planet from the first feature? No idea. Nothing is explained. How come only Kyra knows it? Marek is familiar with the infamous crash from the original installment. That's why he's searching for Kyra. Why didn't he think of finding Riddick there? That's never explained. The script feels like a big budget remake of the original movie. Imagine the original now set on a forest planet with tiger-like creatures replacing the hammerheads, except that they can move in the light. Those are spectacular ideas for a sequel. Not.
There's only one interesting idea pursued in the story. They're slowly trying to humanize Riddick. Kyra is obsessed with him. She worships him. Her adoration is the only reason why he's on that mission. He seems to regret abandoning her after the events of the first film. There's a quasi-love story between him and Kyra. It's never fully explored. He also tends to a little girl, protecting her. He definitely appears to be more human but he still kicks ass beyond repair. I was intrigued by the futuristic world run by corporation. It had serious potential before we are sent to that god-awful Forest planet. I would have rather liked to see Riddick in that concrete jungle then into another unhabited landscape.
Kyra is an awful character. She reads like a copy of Trinity in The Matrix. Just read her introduction:
This is KYRA, 22 -- agressively beautiful.
Even though every part of her outfit is pratically skin-tight, we get the sense that this is more for easer of movement than sex appeal.
But it provides both.
WHAT A RIP-OFF!!! Her character is such a cliche it's not even funny. Her sexual obssession with Riddick is also pretty weird. Where the heck did that come from? The guy abandons her to the wolves but she just worships him and lusts after him. That's pretty messed up. As for the supporting characters, they are just background filler. Marek's character arc is very predictable. He isn't what he seems but the pieces of the puzzle give it away too quickly. The little girl has potential. They need a gifted young actress to play her. I can't really comment on the villainous creatures. They sound pretty amazing on paper but it's up to the special effects team to make them BADASS!!!
I'm seriously dissapointed. This project in my mind had some serious potential. It could have been one of the coolest sequel based on a villain since T2. Instead it feels like a bad remake of the original film. I hope this isn't the draft they're using.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
That's all folks...
Jean-François Allaire (aka DeadPool)
Questions, comments, praise etc. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean-François Allaire is TNMC's first columnist. At only 24 years old he has become a respected entertainment journalist, with his columns appearing in Corona's Coming Attractions and Scr(i)pt magazine. He also writes a monthly column in Screenwriters Monthly entitled 'The Last Word.' Hailing from Montreal this young writer is determined to dig up all the details on the movies before they hit your local theater. If you're part of a movie production then you really need to be talking to him.