Pitch Black : surprised that it wasn't a hit? [spoilers]

I personally thought Pitch Black was a very impressive sci-fi thriller, yet it didn’t seem to do very well. I saw it in the theater (an impulsive accident) and later eagerly anticipated it on video/dvd. The theater added volumes to the over-all experience (go figure).

Does anyone have any theories or inside scoops as to why it didn’t take off?

Ghosts of Mars had some similar plot lines, but was a much campier movie, and yet it seemed to do better when it came out. That might have been due to star power though…Mr. Diesel wasn’t nobody back then.

Anyway, I just think it is odd…

I liked the movie well enough, but don’t have a clue why it didn’t do well at the box office. It must have hit fairly big on video as Vin Diesel is now talking about doing a sequel. The only thing wrong with it was that I could never get over the HUGE plot coincidence :

On a plaanet where it’s pitch dark most of the time, one of the surviving passengers just happens to have eyes that allow him to see in the dark.

My guess would be that it was a good sci-fi thriller, but a bit by the numbers, so if it’s at the mercy of just whether people are in the mood for an Aliens/Vampires film.

I found the ecology somewhat implausible - what did those fliers eat? There didn’t seem to be anything, except maybe moss. And if they live on moss, why do they still go crazy when large animals appear?

At the end, did convict-guy go back for the people because he was good at heart, or because he wanted someone on board to say ‘Convict-guy? No, he died,’ on the intercom?

Was it sci-fi or was it horror?

It didn’t have a single name in it. That’s hard to overcome.

I liked Pitch Black too. There’s a spin-off/sequel in the works called Chronicals of Riddick or something, centered around Vin Diesel’s character. I think they’re filming right here in Vancouver, so I might have to mosey on over and get an autograph.


There are three sequels in the work with the overall title of the new trilogy called Chronicles of Riddick. Diesel sees Pitch Black as a introduction to the main trilogy, the way Hobbit was to Lord of the Rings(not saying that this is anywhere in that range, just comparing the concept).

Hopefully, if everything goes as plans, the first part of the trilogy will be out next year. All three will be directed by the same director as Pitch Black.

Well, Mr Moderator Euty, I think the coincidences start even further back in the plot than that:

On a planet with two suns where it’s almost always light outside, the survivors crash a few hours before it’s dark for a long time an the monsters come out.

I thought it was a fun film and the lead actress, I forget her name, was cute. Overall a pretty regular, derivative but still enjoyable little flick.

And Vin Diesel is one huge walking ego with biceps comparing Pitch Black to The Hobbitt.

I’m not suprised, partly because I felt it was merely alright, rather then anything good. Part of it was Vin Diesel and part of it was the fact that it seemed to go back to the horror movie cliche of people getting killed because they do obviously stupid things(ie her going into the hole).

Some of the astronomy also got on my nerves.

nothing like coming out of cryosleep to find your ship in an uncontrolled descent toward an unknown planet. Sometimes there’s not even time for coffee. That scene kicked ass.

Well, it did have Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun from Farscape) and I know a lot of Farscape fans who saw it for that reason.

I saw it for that reason, though I loved the movie itself.

I didn’t think it was that great. Kind of pedestrian. Part of it was the plot contrivances and bad science; but I’m also biased against “bad boy” heroes (which is why I’m not yet a fan of Vin Diesel. I’ll buy him as a actor when he can do something else.)

I saw it in theaters, and it was the best sci-fi buggy movie to come out in a long time. For the most part, sci-fi films tend to do really poorly in theaters, unless there’s a big name to help pull them. As stated beforehand, Vin Diesle wasn’t much of anybody back then, and it took me a loooooooong time after seeing it to recognize Claudia Black as Aeryn, even though I watched Farscape back then.
Of course, the story is contrived, but if you look at all movies, most of them are. I mean, if the story was about a group of people who just crashed on the planet, but there was no conflict, there’d be no movie. Like most prison escape movies, how is it things just happen to fall into place so this guy can get out and clear himself (i.e. the Fugitive). They seemed to stretch it a little far, but I think it worked.
I did wonder what exactly the creatures fed on while they were down in the caves. If they’re cannibalistic, what prevents them from eating one another when they’re NOT flying around outside? But I found Riddick to be a kick ass character (that whole bit where he pops his arms out of their sockets was sweet!).

I didn’t care for it myself. The premise was stupid, and depends upon some highly unlikely coincidences. Most of the characters were clealy there as cannon fodder. Pepper Mill calls these kinds of films “out of the gene pool” movies, and tries to figure out who’ll be left over at the end. I’m particularly annoyed that none of the characters were at all the kind I’d identify with – I really lose touch and involvement with a crew of idiots and despicables, so why watch? They wanted Vin Diesel’s character Riddick to be the Big Bad Boy everyone identified with, but to me he was a creep, too. So what if he’s X—the Man with the X-Ray Eyes, and can beat up hammerheads? He was ready, willing, and able to abandon everyone else at the end. His change of heart was totally out of character, and meant to give us an excuse to like the guy.
The creatures annoyed the hell out of me, since they make no ecological sense. Creatures that come out and go into a feeding frenzy when there’s suddenly a lot of light make sense – read Larry Niven’s short Flare Time (part of Harlan Ellison’s group novel Medea, Harlan’s World, and also in the Niven anthology Limits). In that case they’re trying to take advantage of the sudden influx of energy, and are eating and procreating to beat the band so they can get all they can from the brief interval. PB’s hammerheads that dissolve under daylight and come out in the dark defy sense. And I kinda doubt creatures with such limited-range sonar without other means of vision. Rather than swooping gracefully everywhere and attacking from a distance, I think they’d be running into things all over and starving to death 'cause they can’t find the food. And food? In the desert? They represent the triumph of special effects over logic, and are part of the breed of multitudinous CGI creatures that teem in desert regions 'cause it’s easy and impressive to do, even if it defies logic – Pitch Black, Starship Troopers, and Dinosaur (although in the last one they at least had an explanation for why everything was in a desert).

Science fiction, above all other forms, ought to make logical sense when you examine it. Forbidden Planet still amazes me with how well it does that – dig into the premises, and you find consistent backstory. Dig into Pitch Black, and the excuse is that it Looks Cool.



I just wanted to say I saw an episode of Johnny Bravo a couple weeks ago where screams, “AHHH! Monsters! Monsters from the id!!” and I almost had a heart attack from laughter.

I liked the film, but mostly because of the tension between the three interesting characters. It was a popcorn sci-fi flick, and every now and then you need a film you can cheer and drool at.

I kind of half-watched it when it ran on cable one night, and my reaction was “meh”. Just another movie where you have to rely on characters to do stupid things in order to generate tension. I suspect they made up some reason why the characters couldn’t stay under cover until the sun came back out, but I must have missed it.

Slightly offtopic rant:

Why do the swarming alien things always want to eat people? You have to figure that with alien metabolisms, humans would be hideously indigestible, if not actually poisonous. We’d smell wrong and wouldn’t look like the typical prey.
One could argue that the creatures are too dumb to know that. But they are somehow smart enough to hang around and stalk the humans rather than making the best use of their time to go and eat whatever the heck it is that they usually eat.

And what the heck did they usually eat? It must have been a tough customer to merit a predator that could beat its way through steel walls. And there must have been a lot of them – there are always far fewer predators in the ecosystem than prey. So where were the herds of armor-plated herbivores?
In short, this movie was another case of cinema evolution – a creature that somehow evolved to be a perfect spooky human-killing predator despite myriad evironmental and physical objections.

Interestingly enough, these perfectly evolved killing machines always seem to have one fatal flaw, either sensitivity to light, or fire extinguishers, or some damn thing.

After reading all the hype on the film a few month back, I rented it and thought it was only slightly better than average.

It might have been more fun at a movie theater, or better yet, at a drive-in movie theater with a car full of friends.

But on DVD…I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

I saw it at the dollar theater and didn’t think it was a waste of money. Didn’t think it was a steal-of-a-deal, though.

I’m fairly sure I was made aware of the flick prior to/during it’s run in the theater, during some sort of extended teaser preview on cable (SciFi chnl). (perhaps even the whole thing? I doubt it, but I remember watching a very extended scene, and then seeing it in a theater later that month).

Does anyone else recall seeing teaser material on SciFi?

I think there are real-life creatures alive now that have just as far-fetched habits and/or survival styles as those bat creatures in the movie, e.g. some of those freakazoid deep sea creatures, or 17 year locusts, or the birds that clean the crocodiles’ teeth, etc.