Chronicles Of Riddick, The

Featured In Issue 110, July 2006

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (HD-30)
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David Twohy
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Dolby Digital+ 5.1, DTS 5.1
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A sequel to the 2000 film "Pitch Black," "The Chronicles Of Riddick" finds the escaped convict and space traveler Riddick (Diesel) still on the run. When mercenaries hunt him down, he outmaneuvers them and takes over their ship. Thus begins Riddick's fight for survival and effort to free himself from his past, while trying to save the universe from the bloodthirsty warriors, The Necromongers. (Tricia Littrell)

Many of the same features are duplicated from the previously released DVDs. For starters, there is brief introduction to this unrated director's cut of the film by director David Twohy; audio commentary by Twohy and actors Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos; and deleted scenes with commentary by Twohy. Extras include an interactive Virtual Guide to the movie, an interactive Toombs' Chase Log, a six-minute play-by-play breakdown of some of the film's more fascinating visual effects, a three-minute behind-the-scenes guided tour by Vin Diesel, an 11-minute Creation Of A New Mecca featurette, a 13-minute Riddick Rises featurette, and a 17-minute Keep What You Kill featurette.

A fantastic mix of visual effects and live action shots, this high-definition 2.35:1 HD DVD picture is stylized to create the look of various environments or different atmospheres on different planets. Some scenes are awash in warm yellow tones or cool grayish-purple, affecting all aspects of the color scheme. Others are well balanced and nicely contrasted, with accurate fleshtones and deep blacks. The computer-generated images are often seamlessly incorporated into the picture, to almost allow a suspension of disbelief. Most viewers will be excited by the picture quality on this HD DVD, as it can be quite impressive. Distractions are hard to find, as the picture is clean and solid overall. Edges do not appear oversharpened and pixelization is rarely noticed. (Suzanne Hodges)

With very tight bass and impressive clarity, it is obvious from the onset that the 5.1-channel soundtrack benefits from the advanced Dolby® Digital•Plus codec. The LFE channel is incorporated well to complement the sub-25 Hz frequencies coming from each of the other five full-range channels. Narration in the opening scene sounds unnaturally veiled. The entire presentation, actually, sounds slightly muted, without the power and presence that is typical of films of this genre. Surrounds are utilized well, creating a deeply penetrating holosonic™ soundfield, but individual elements of the soundtrack are difficult to discern. The DTS® Digital Surround™ encoded track is noticeably less refined than the Digital•Plus encoding, especially in the dialogue, which sounds edgy and distorted in comparison. (Danny Richelieu)