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What is 'derivative'' Re: PITCH BLACK

Published at: Feb. 21, 2000, 2:47 p.m. CST by staff

It's amazing to me how so many critics see all science fiction films as being basically... the same movie. The world of science fiction is divided into 3 original films. 2001, STAR WARS and ALIEN according to these experts.

Of those three, only one is original. 2001 isn't another movie with special effects. It is... simply 2001. However, STAR WARS is extremely derivative of the BUCK ROGERS serial, which was in turn derivative of the FLASH GORDON chapter plays. ALIEN? Well, specifically it is monumentally derivative of IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE. But I doubt seriously if we'll ever see these critics say that the three science fiction films upon which all else is based are 2001, FLASH GORDON serials and IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE.

Alright, so what got me started on this little rant? Reading a round up of critics' thoughts upon PITCH BLACK (go to RottenTomatoes.Com for a look yourself) and found myself deluged with comparisons to everything from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS to THE LOST WORLD to ALIEN and so on and so forth. What is very funny to me is that basically... They are picking the wrong source material.

A lot of these critics are choosing ALIEN as the big hammer with which to beat PITCH BLACK as being derivative drivel. Well. I think they really mean ALIENS. But then, the social dynamic of the characters are completely different. And ALIENS owes quite a bit to a movie called THEY WERE EXPENDABLE. But while there are people that are ripped and half... there is no impregnating in this film and in ALIENS there was no eating of people. But mainly... the people stuck on the terrible planet were not just regular folks in ALIENS... they were MARINES. Battle hardened grunts trying to make it through a mission. ALIENS is a war movie and this has been well documented through numerous interviews with Cameron as well as thorough analysis of that film.

Now I'm not going to herald PITCH BLACK as a wholly original film. FAR FAR FAR FROM IT. In a very large part this film is a combination of STAGECOACH and a little film called FIVE CAME BACK. From STAGECOACH the only real theft would be the Johnny Ringo (John Wayne) character of the badass criminal that must transform when faced with something worse than himself. (George Clooney in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN) From FIVE CAME BACK... well that is where the whole dynamic for the crash victim/survival must get off the island feeling comes from. In FIVE CAME BACK there's a plane that has to be fixed in order to get the survivors off an island filled with head hunters and cannibals... and almost everyone dies.

"PITCH BLACK does not have an original bone it's picked clean carcass of a film body"

Hmmmm... Let's see... I guess you could take that opening crash as being from ALIVE or THE FUGITIVE. The creatures in the film must come from H.R. GIGER cross polinated with Harryhausen's Harpies. Vin Diesel's performance is not a Schwarzeneggar clone... but closer to a Kurt Russell Snake Plissken character. Radha is actually quite far away from being anything like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. Ripley is one of those, when things get tough the tough get going type of characters. Radha's character is not a particulary strong character at all. She's a character that knows her limitations, that knows she needs some help. That can't go it on her own. And while it doesn't make her particulary strong as a character... I find her more interesting than a muscle strewn bad ass femme. I couldn't help but imagine that this was my little sister trying to survive.

Alright, so.. the film isn't ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 because they don't just stay in the ship. It's not WAIT UNTIL DARK, because... well it isn't. It's not BOYS DON'T CRY because it isn't. It's also not STAGECOACH or FIVE CAME BACK. It's not ALIVE or THE FUGITIVE or THE LOST WORLD or ALIEN or ALIENS or Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. It isn't THE TERMINATOR at any level. It's not LOST IN SPACE or MAD MAX. Though it does have aspects from each of those. Whereas say STAR WARS... you can point directly at THE HIDDEN FORTRESS and BUCK ROGERS and say... "See see... there it is!"

I hate this whole... what is original style of film criticism. Should the question be originality or entertainment? I mean... surely noone is going to sit around and claim that STAR WARS is the most original film ever. Or something as dynamically entertaining as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK... which owes quite a bit to a little seen film starring Charlton Heston called SECRET OF THE INCAS (fedora, leather coat, gun and whip...archeologist/adventurer). Name your favorite films? And in just about every case, I can point to a prior story/film/play/song/cave painting that it was based upon. Personally, originality isn't quite all it's cracked up to be. Now... before you start screaming that I'm an advocate for redundancy, let me say that... I would love some wholly original films. Things that I have not seen or even heard of before.

Original thought is such an incredibly stupid blunt tool to beat down modern tales. Shakespeare was widely known as being a hack translator of ancient greek texts with which he would merely adapt the language. Ewwww... ouch... wait a minute... THOU SHALL NOT ATTACK SHAKESPEARE!

PITCH BLACK is a dime store novel. It isn't THE JUNGLE.... it isn't ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE.... and it isn't THE GRAPES OF WRATH or THE INVISIBLE MAN (either novel titled that). It's a cheap entertaining read for a train ride. It is a distractionary tale to keep your mind off of an hour and a half of life. And ya know what? I happen to think it's a lot of fun.

Attack the acting... attack the pacing.... attack the use of camera filters if ya must. But stop yapping about how this was done before. Just about everything... except for 2001... has been done before. Live with it. And ya know what... the arguement that it's been done before... well... that's been done before as well. In fact the arguement that you should stop arguing about it being done before because it's been done before... Well... that's been done before as well. And ya know? Ahhh... forget it. What's the point. It's been done before.

As for me... I'm gonna see PITCH BLACK a couple of more times... just as I've done before...

Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 21, 2000, 2:52 p.m. CST

    meesa first

    by joey_jeremiah

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST

    There is nothing new under the sun..

    by Lizzybeth

    That's bullshit, you see, because there really aren't limits to the human imagination. Of course you work with what's gone before, but what you have to do is take it FARTHER. Everything is derivative if you look at it in a certain way, because all of it works with the knowledge of what has gone before. It's all in how you use it, if you can find a new angle, put a new sparkle on it, that makes it something unique and therefore new. What's 'derivative' in a movie is when the audience isn't completely transported into this new world (particularly for a sci-fi picture), when they just don't buy it because they've seen it before. Critics are naturally cynical and plus they want to be cool, so they like to throw out 'derivative' a lot, and it makes them look like they know a lot about film, the more movies they can compare it to. The audience is the real judge, and if the audience isn't pulled along for one hell of a ride and they can stand back and say, damn this is just more Aliens shit, then something in the movie DIDN'T work. If enough people are saying that, then the director has failed in some way no matter what he or some critic says about it. Anyway, yeah. I've heard from people that it just doesn't work for them. I don't know when I'll get to see it for myself, but I'm really picky about my sci-fi, when it comes to slamming down my $7.50. Because I hate that derivative crap. ;)

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:07 p.m. CST

    "Pitch Black" was Fun (with a capital "F")

    by smilin'jackruby

    I enjoyed the hell out of it and can't wait to see what next sci-fi escapist piece Twohy puts together. Who cares what it's "influences" are? "American Beauty" takes a HUGE note from "Death of a Salesman" and no one's screaming about that (even in the movie, the people who move out next door were the "Lomans"). So, who cares? I enjoyed "Pitch Black" and I think anyone else who goes in with an open mind will think it's a party. Even my fiancee, who typically hates everything except "The Story of Us" and the disastrous like, enjoyed "Pitch Black." Hey, it could've been "Virus." At least "Pitch Black" is a solid story from start to finish.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:08 p.m. CST

    I agree Harry

    by SCOTT1458

    I'm sick and tired of hearing how great 2001 is, or how Star Wars and Alien are the only "great" sci-fi films. But sigh and realize Harry, these reviewers are probally 25-30 years old, and haven't seen War of the Words, Fantastic Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc al. In fact often when I read reviews mentioning the films of the 40's, 50's and even 60's, I find blatant errors in the facts, which leads me to believe the reviewer took a synopsis out of a book or off the net. Oh, and I LOVE A MYSTERY was the grandfather of RAIDERS of the Lost Ark. (as well as Scooby Doo). It was done decades before SECRET OF THE INCAS. (see Lucas's RADIOLAND MURDERS)

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Get off, Harry

    by OK Then

    H.G. Wells just called and said he's really ticked that Pitch Black ripped his "Monsters Come Out At Night" idea from The Time Machine. Goodness knows that had never been done before...

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:23 p.m. CST

    I *liked* the use of filters...

    by poodle

    You know, I made this whole "originality" argument back in the last Pitch Black TB...and I thought the use of camera filters was innovative, if not original. To me, it emphasized the "alienness" of the world they were on. Oh well...to each his own.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:31 p.m. CST

    It's not just the young 'uns, SCOTT.

    by All Thumbs

    The older reviewers are doing it, too, including movie critic god Ebert.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Fun fun fun

    by BIC

    When I went to see "The Green Mile" I made sure that I went to the bathroom first. Usually when I go to the movies I get a LARGE pop, and that's it...nothing else. When I went to "The Green Mile", I didn't. Because I didn't want to have to leave 2hrs30mins into the movie to take a leak. I live in residence at University. When a fried of mine brought me a copy of a screener for the movie, I locked my door and told anyone else who wanted to watch the movie that there would be NO talking during the movie. Sometimes you just know that movies are gonna make you think, and we all love those movies for that. Christ, when did Kevin Spacey ever have to learn Kung-Fu to get us all to watch his films? I can honestly say that there are only two movies that I have ever laughed all the way through because I thought they sucked so bad. The Fifth Element and The Langoliers. But that's another story. The reason that I don't give too hard a line to movies is because if I'm going to see a movie like Pitch Black, its because there's nothing else really exciting going on that night. I'm sure that I've heard at least fifty talkbacks on this site about people being "losers" and having "nothing better to do with their time", well that's fine. But we're all big enough geeks to sign up for a message board on the internet. Well, I'll be honest with you. I go to class during the mornings, I surf the net, watch tv and read during the afternoons and every night is different, but most of them I don't have much to do. That's why movies are great, because when I don't have anything to do, Andy Dufresne and Kaiser Soze are always waiting around to fill my time. Tom Hanks doesn't know me, or give a fuck what I have to do on a Tuesday night, but he sure doesn't mind helping me to get through it. Some movies are art, and some are entertainment. Scream 3 was a fun movie, it's not gonna win any awards, but I sure had fun watching it. That seems to be what seperates real movie goers from just guys who watch movies. People like Harry just LOVE MOVIES. Christ, look at the movie "DUNE". Anyone remember that one? The Lynch pic hailed as his worst accomplishment? I love it! But god its an awful movie... terrible, really. But when I was a kid I watched it on the movie network and I've loved it ever since. What about "Legend"? Ridley Scott, what the fuck were you on man? I love that one too though. "Labrynth" with David Bowie. Just watch the movies because you aren't as important as the president of the united states, and you don't have more important things to do, not because you can't affort to fly to the Louvre to see "art".

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Pitch Black's only problem...

    by Cronksty

    Harry nailed it,the pacing. The pacing/editing of this film is just horrendous. I honestly believe had this movie been edited by a pro (I'm gonna laugh when I find out it was) it could've been great. It's just things would move too fast, then they'd slow to a standstill, then it would just go into overdrive. Let's take a "source" of Pitch to compare: Aliens. Aliens starts off with Ripley's rescue then goes directly to the base above the atmosphere. We find out what's going on at LV 426, we meet Burke. We meet Gordon. Even when we find out that something's wrong, we don't just beam down on in there. We are introduced to the red shirts...uh, I mean, the Marines. We take some time to get to know them, some anticipation of what we'll find on LV426's rocky surface. Even when we get out of that tank-corvette thing, what's that? No aliens to be found? If Pitch Black could have just derived some of that pacing, it'd be a fan favorite.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 3:49 p.m. CST

    to regginal

    by BIC

    I know what you're going for on that comparison reg... but seriously man, if you've never seen 2001, don't bother trying to compare anything to it. Its just not gonna happen. I'm not even that big a fan of the movie, but I'll recognize what Harry said... its got no predecessor. Its not even really about missions in outerspace, its about human evolution and other "brainiac" stuff. I'm not out to flame you here, I just wanted to get a message in before someone with a shorter temper got ahold of you. Take 'er easy dude, BIC.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 4:06 p.m. CST

    I hear you ALL THUMBS

    by SCOTT1458

    I've only noticed it the last few years, but it started when I read concert reviews and couldn't believe the innaccrucies when the review mentioned older albums/songs. It then dawned on me reading synopsis of movies, especially classics....THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME! A good example is Invasion of the Body Snatchers (orignall). Every damn review I have read states "the movie typically symbolizes the cold war mentality and fear...." I mean yeah, we could say it is. But every time I read something on the movie..they quote the SAME DAMN LINE. It then struck me reading through other reviews (Fantasic Planet and how it's based on The Tempest) or (Carpenter's The Thing is closer to the orignal than Hawks's, who's monster looked like a piece of Celery) that these people have never SEEN the damn films. (how many movie reviews writing on The Thing do you actually think read Campbell's Who Goes There) The point? Don't worry Harry (and others) we know the game they play. Too bad the majority of the public rely on these nitwits.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 4:09 p.m. CST

    TO THOSE ON 2001

    by SCOTT1458

    I'm NOT a fan of the movie (if it would have been shortened by an hour..maybe) but don't forget it was based on Clark's work, who is/was a great sci-fi writer. So it's not like Kulbrick came up with the movie in his sleep.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 5:50 p.m. CST

    praise the word

    by bigdaddymuffla

    Said like a true master. Harry should just write a book with stuff like this, and call it "The aint-it-cool bible" or something. I'd sure as hell buy it.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 5:52 p.m. CST

    2001: Book first or Film first?

    by Harry Knowles

    Hey folks, Harry here. Well... the truth is Clarke wrote a short story that got Kubrick's attention, then Stanley and Arthur sat around and did deep down researching and braniacing as one talkbacker would say... and came up with the script for 2001. The film was shot. Put into theaters. Then audiences were so utterly confused and blown away by the ending.... clamoring for what it all meant, that Clarke wrote the novel... to basically try and explain the movie to folks. This was a FILM first and foremost. And a book second. Or at least that's what I have read.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 6:11 p.m. CST

    At least I'm not the only one...

    by All Thumbs

    ...who thinks that all reviews lately sound the same. Ever since I started coming to this site I've been reading as many reviews of movies as possible and found that while there is a difference between positive and negative reviews, they all usually say the same damn thing about the movie one way or another. I was shocked at Ebert's "Pitch Black" review because usually he's either the review that's different or the review everyone seems to copy (and miss his points). Of course, I'm not counting the multitude of different reviews here at AICN because we already know how different they are in structure alone.***I don't know if I'll like this movie, and I probably won't go to it, but when I rent it, I'm sure it will be fun to watch and I won't compare it to all the movies mentioned above (though I will think about that "Stagecoach" connection...that one sounds cool).

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 7:33 p.m. CST

    All Thumbs....

    by BIC

    Ok Thumbs I can see where you're coming from there, but the fact of the matter is that its actually pretty damn close to the truth for me. I pretty much classify the movies that I watch into a few different categories. 1)Outstanding 2)Boring 3)Fun 4)Laughable. If the movie is Outstanding, I'll sit on Talkbalk and argue with anyone in here about the movie's greatness. If the movie is Boring, and I don't find very many movies boring, I'll bitch about it for awhile, but still praise any good qualities that it has. (acting, score etc...) If the movie is Fun you'll probably hear me say something like "It sure beats the Fifth Element!" And if its laughable, I still had a good time because I was laughing AT something. If I were writing a review, however, things would be quite different. I just think that talkbacks are for general impressions most of the time, granted, sometimes its necessary to write more. I dunno, I have a friend who doesn't enjoy 50% of the movies that he sees. I like about 90% of the movies I see, but I still discriminate quite avidly between the really good ones and the ones that were just fun. We all see movies differently and I guess that some people will always hate most movies... that doesn't make them wrong, they just draw the line higher than I do. BIC

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Huh?!

    by Emmit Devay

    How is this movie like They Were Expendable? That really doesn't make much sense to me.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 8:48 p.m. CST

    The criteria under which all movies should be based...

    by knight_of_Ni!

    Would you watch it again? And again after that? This for me is what elevates a movie from standard to great. Now let me get this out of the way first. "Pitch Black" succeeded in the aspect that I walked out satisfied. It used everything it had going against it to it's advantage. The budget. It's great that it forced them to hire unknowns. Remember how Renny Harlin (shoot me for mentioning him) said this about "Deep Blue Sea"? Yet they weren't so unknown that we didn't know who was gonna bite it. With this one, I honestly had no clue. And ya gotta love it when kids bite it too. It's like killing the dog, a rarity. The budget also helped the effects. In this CGI world we live in, I long for the days of men in rubber suits. I'll bring up Alien and Aliens (since everyone else is) compared to III and IV. Which monsters were more convincing? The one's from the first two, and why? Because there's something about actors acting against reel things as compared to an imaginary dot in the air. I'm not saying this is always the case, but has a computer generated creature really scared you as of late? PB uses the darkness and quick bursts of light to give us minimal details of the creatures, while not spoiling the moment with blatent use of CG. Now, back to my opening sentence. I really wanted to love this flick going into it. Lately I just haven't gotten that "gotta spread the word" feeling from anything. Didn't get it from PB either. I still enjoyed the film though. Hell, I didn't get that feeling from "American Beauty" either, but I still would say it's a good movie. Interestingly, the day after seeing PB, I watched "Run Lola Run" for the first time, and DAMN!!!! That was the feeling I was looking for! That's a movie I'll watch again. And soon. But you know what? It wasn't entirely original either. What it all comes down to is not the originality, but the execution. PB had good execution. Lola had great execution. Beauty had great execution. None of them were original. These critics need to base their reviews on that. It's why I'll let Harry feel the way he does without slamming him. He bases his reviews off of how good of a time he had. I've babbled in an incoherent manner for long enough. I'm now gonna watch Fifth Element for the nth time because it makes me smile endlessly and I have a great time with it. Even with the cheese.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Pitch Black

    by Integra

    I thought the movie was just ok. Saying that so many stories are also derivative and pointing to highly acclaimed films which are in themselves derivative, doesnt excuse another film. Thats an incredibly flawed argument. Pitch Black was typical movie sci-fi. There arent many movies that are really sci-fi, 95% of the time they are horror movies set in space. its pretty pathetic that sci-fi = scary monster in space now, but what do you expect? I just dont buy the whole "everything has been done" argument. thats total BS in my book. anyone who has read a good variety of golden age and modern sci fi writers knows this. Its just the hollywood establishment has its head to far up its arse to try something outside of what they think will appeal to the demographics. I think its a definite sign of just how bad the state of sci-fi films are when pitch black is considered a really good one. Im hopeful for M2M, and would love to see Enders Game is it ever gets made.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 10:36 p.m. CST

    A couple things...

    by All Thumbs

    BIC: you proved your point very well and I agree almost 99% with you, but I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make above. My point was not that movie critics put movies into categories of bad to good, it's that they pretty much say the same damn thing and copy eachother almost totally word for word. Now, this could say something either about the state of critics and criticism or it could be saying something about the state of movies. I say it says something about both.***Harry, how can the film like "2001" be a FILM FIRST when it came from a SHORT STORY FIRST? Just wonderin'.

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 11:05 p.m. CST

    2001's based on...

    by TyWebb

    Arthur C. Clarke wrote 'The Sentinel' as a short story. Then Kubrick and Clarke wrote the screenplay for 2001. Afterwords, Clarke wrote his novel based on the screenplay that he and Kubrick wrote. The Sentinel's ideas were expanded in 2001 the movie, but even more so in the book version. In fact, I believe the movie and book are a great companion piece. By reading the book it is much easier to understand the themes in the movie and to grasp what a great job Kubrick did with his direction and soundtrack choices. With the extra insight contained in the book, the pacing of the movie isn't really slow paced at all. Just my two cents...

  • Feb. 21, 2000, 11:11 p.m. CST

    PB steals from --

    by LB Jeffries

    Stagecoach? Absolutely. Five Came Back? You bet! But there's another one... The Sands of the Kalahari.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 1:50 a.m. CST

    2001 and it's order

    by Dr. Bone

    AC Clarke wrote "the Sentinel" in the early fifties. Kubrick,in 1964, hot off the heels of "Dr. Strangelove" contacted Clarke and told him he wanted to make "The Proverbial Good Science-fiction film". Up until then the best Scence-fiction was "Forbidden Planet" and The Day the Earth Stood Still" (Both extremely cool flicks). Kubrick told Clarke that the total time spent writing the screenplay and novel would be no more than 1 year. ACC said that if he knew it would be 4 years he would have walked away. Kubrick bought several of ACC's short stories, including "Expedition to Earth" and "Jupiter 5". After much "Braniac-ing" they decided upon "The Sentinel" as the basis of the film. Clarke wrote the novel and the screenplay (with Kubrick) at the same time. The basic story changed so many times that Clarke said he had written enough for 4 or 5 full length novels. In the novel he kept the original destination of "Discovery" as Saturn, which Kubrick changed because he couldn't effectively photograph the rings.(Trumbull did, though, in "Silent Running") The novel was released, not to "explain" the film, but was a plan all along to capitalize on what was truly the film event of 1968.(I was there- It was...) A good detailing of the process and some pretty good Clarke prose can be found in "The Lost Worlds of 2001" , HAL goes from a robot named Socrates, to a less intelligent computer named Athena to finally the super-intelligent, slightly misguided camputer that we all love. Kubrick has said that the pitch to MGM was "How the Solar System Was Won", since MGM would not release it's millions for what Kubrick described as a "Religious Film" that examines man's place in the Universe. He originally had an additional hour or so of interviews with various scientists, scholars and philosophers that he planned to put in at the beginning, between the Ape-Men and the space shuttle entering the station (Still one of the best and most beautiful visions ever put on film). He dropped it for time reasons. 2001 is still the most visionary film ever made, IMHO. Not the most action-packed, of course,and with terribly banal dialogue( It is said by Kubrick that he didn't want any actor to overpower the story- which is why he went with Kier Dullea and Gary Lockwood, neither the most charismatic actors around- Although the late Leonard Rossiter was wonderful in the bit part of Dr. Smyslov)but it remains a film of powerful images- and to truly enjoy and understand it(yes, after about 30 or so viewings I do understand it, at least most of it)you must not leave your brain at the door. As with most Kubrick films, repeated viewings are required to get many of the nuances. (Hal's psycosis has been identified from the damn CHESS GAME(!) that he plays with Poole.) From a dedicated Clarkeophile and Kubrickologist- Dr. Bone

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 2:34 a.m. CST

    There are only 7 stories anyway

    by Meat Takeshi

    Thats right there are only 7 models of a narrative that can be applied to every single goddam story anyway. Although right now i can only recall a couple from my University days, man i can only remember a couple of days from university full stop <g>. But its basically the transition story, character embarks on a voyage and is transformed by the end, be it metaphysical or physical, theres the, boy meets girl, looses girl, regains girl, one. Hmm, some one help me out with the rest...or did i dream it all.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 6:15 a.m. CST

    only seven stories?

    by marsyas

    Anyone could set out to group all possible stories into as many or as few categories as they'd like. The number seven is arbitrary. You could do it with three -- man vs man, man vs nature, man vs himself. Polti did it with thirty-six dramatic situations. It all depends on the level of granularity. That said, this film DOES seem to owe more than a little bit to Alien. Maybe not to the story (I haven't seen it, so I can't comment), but to the overall look and feel. Maybe that's what the other critics are talking about, Harry.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 6:33 a.m. CST

    ED209 and Hackwork (Minor Spoilers- Pun Intended)

    by Anton_Sirius

    ED- try to actually stick to reality when you make an argument. If you weren't surprised by who dies in Pitch Black then you either a) had read the script beforehand or b) are blowing smoke out your ass. Oh yes, the deaths in the film were very PC. That's why children died. That's CHILDREN. Plural. On camera, even. As for the plethora of reviews by hacks around these days... I don't think it's simply laziness. Critics usually only fall back on 'it's a rip-off of X' when describing GENRE films. I don't think I've seen anyone say that Hanging Up is just a limp re-hash of King Lear, do you? Of course not. By damning genre films with the 'derivative' brush then they can be kept in the Hollywood ghetto, not really worthy of attention or thought. It's just a remake, after all. It's quite blatant discrimination- 'genre-ism', if you will. Somebody (and maybe it will be me) should start compiling a list of critics incapable of an original thought, so that their so-called opinions can be dismissed entirely. I nominate Todd McCarthy of Variety, Owen Gleiberman of EW and Lesley Jacobs over at Showbizdata.com as the worst offenders. Anybody else belong in Hackville?

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Pitch Black

    by dkleinhe

    I loved it Seen it twice already Not the best film, but pure fun I can't remember the last time I have liked a character so much as Riddick Harry summed the movie up nicely

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Darth Bond

    by lickerish

    Bravo

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Let's play the "How fast can Harry rattle off old sci-fi movies?

    by StarBarella

    Check out all the name dropping on the big orange guy...movie-name dropping, I mean. Pitch Black's real problem was just that it sucked. The story telling was shaky and unengaging (Michael Bay lite!) The acting was sub-par (save for the magnificent Vin Diesel.) The movie was just a shit pie. Sorry about that.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 8:08 a.m. CST

    And one more thing, Harry...

    by StarBarella

    I love ya...but invest in a Spellcheck, wouldja?

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Okay, lets all get anal retentive...Christ!!!!

    by ManInBlack

    Its a fucking sci-fi movie, leave it at that. Some of you have way to much time on your hands, dont ya? I pay for my ticket, go into the theatre, sit down, sit thru the long trailer previews*yawn, finally the movie starts. If the movie manages to transport me to a different reality for at least 90 minutes, I have received my money's worth. So what if it is derivative of other movies. If the movie moves me, puts me on the edge of my seat, gets my girl to snuggle closer, then im happy. We all have experienced movies that have tried to do that and failed miserably(about 2/3 of SW-The Phantom Menace). Okay, TPM didnt transport me. You didnt give a shit about the characters. In PB, I was immediately into the characters situation. PB is one flick that satisfies, but if you want to analyze ad nauseum, youre ruining it for the rest of us and 'YOU dont get it'. Youre the same people that didnt get Blair Witch, you have no fucking imagination/a life or real life or death situation experiences. To you I say, get your nose out of the book and live a little. Go into the forest late at nite, alone, without a flashlight and see how you fare(and not your local fucking city park, please unless its central park). Yeah, i can handle deep cerebral moral plays if necessary, but this is pure entertainment. Pitch Black pulls off being cool and entertaining. Vin Diesel/Hwood is crazy if they dont find a way to reprise the role of Riddick. You want to root for him to move from the dark side to the light...gee kinda like Vader. Sure, play on our emotions dammit, i paid for the damn ticket, give it your best shot Hwood. All the best to Vin and his movie career.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Ed 209-huh (big ol' spoilers below)

    by Nitflegal

    Gotta disagree with you on this one, and failed to understand some of your points. I saw the movie on Saturday, and enjoyed the hell out of it. Sure, it is a 100% formula picture, but so what? If someone takes the formula and does it well, I have no issues. If you want to be slightly pedantic, Kurosawa ripped off several formulas in his life, Ran most obviously, but the man is revered as a cinema God, and rightly so. So Kagemusha or even his Judo saga are derivative, big deal. He did incredible things with these formula, and that's the sign of brilliance. Am I saying Pitch Black is in this league? Hell no, but it illustrates the point that derivative plots can be just as good as anything else. Heck, as Harry said quite well, damn near any movie, play, book or what have you can have influences traced to an earlier work, all the way back to Og whacking Blug with a rock in front of a campfire to the hoots and applause of his adoring clan thousands of years ago. In Pitch Black's case, it was a relatively tense movie, had some great moments (the antiquarian spitting the alcohol through his flame is great) and decent characters. Riddick was cool, and I found his transition believable, much more so than in so-called better movies. Admit it, you thought he stabbed the chick, didn't you? He was still looking out for himself until that moment. He actually had something worthy happen to cause his redemption. And a Muslim, can you say comic relief, but he wasn't, was he? There's always the spiritual guy in these movies, and he's always Christian. Not here, and he wasn't laughable, and they hired an actor with bucket-loads of presence to play him. See, you take the formula, and then you tweak it. As for the set-ups; Riddick's vision; hmm maybe that was set up so you'd buy why he was able to survive and be included in the group instead of summarily shot. Seemed to pay off. The boy being a girl; hmm, maybe so the audience could really see what the merc was made of when he wanted to turn her into creature bait. Ditto. I could go on, but I obviuosly liked the movie far more than you. Not a classic, but a fun way to spend a couple of hours. And whoever designed those creatures had better be sending royalties to Wayne Barlowe!

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Man in Black

    by lickerish

    While i agree with you on the point of a movie accomplishing the intention of transportation, the statement you made about the Blair Witch Project is pure cop-out. Sort of like what a reviewer for Dawkin's The Selfish Gene wrote-(paraphrase)"This type of writing makes the reader feel like a genius..."That was correct, but the BWP did NOT make me feel involved or frightened. A few scenes had an uneasy, eerie tone..the teeth and hair(Marilyn Manson) and the ending where they hear Josh's voice up and down stairs...but even then i could see through the acting and the immediacy. Being transported by a film is when the media becomes participatory and interactive...BWP felt as though I were supposed to do all of the work for the film. Films like 2001 or Eyes Wide Shut, or even Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? give the viewer a chance to interact mentally and emotionally with the material. I loved Pitch Black..especially the filters and the Captain's character. I don't much care for Vin Diesel, but admit to basically enjoying him in this and Boiler Room. While it had faults, the film was enjoyable, and that is in fact the standard to which a film can be critiqued, however subjectively...Although, when watching any of Kubrick's films or Being John Malkovich or even old Romero, there is a certain psychological edge that leaves you breathless...and stimulated..which can negatively impact the future viewing experience of films of decidely 'less' challenge..I loved Any Given Sunday and came out with strong feelings on the position of humanity in biological life...film, though, IS subjective...i generally find at least one moment in every film..always there is some shard of brilliance, whether it be a chord progression in a score, a particular expression on an actor's face or a line of dialogue, an angle or steadicam shot...that makes the experience worthwhile...even in something I despised as much as the Muse or the Haunting...there were the cameo's of Cameron and Scorcese, however gimmicky, and one scene with a child ghost being obscured by curtains, that I enjoyed.It's up to you.. but the BWP argument on imagination is myopic and cliched

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Maninblack says it all

    by dkleinhe

    I just wanted to second Maninblack's post. It's called entertainment. Look it up.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 10:07 a.m. CST

    I'm going with my man Ed 209 on this one ...

    by KidSampson

    except for the opening/crash landing sequence there was nothing very exciting about this flick. I was bored, and from all that I had read it was the last thing I had expected to be. There were too many moments where the characters were "figuring each other out" (let's hear what Fry thinks of Merc, now here's Merc on Riddick, Riddick on Fry, oh, Fry discusses Merc again, and on and on and on) that deadened any momentum that had been established and there was never - ever - a hightened sense of danger once night fell. Those dopey light-up tubes were keeping the monsters completely at bay, huh? Those creatures should have been slashing and whipping at our little band of survivors from the edge of the shadows, letting the audience know exactly how alive that planet was with danger. But no - we have Riddick and the Merc strolling twenty feet ahead of the rest, holding a private conversation like the only thing threatening them was a little inter-group tension. Even Riddick (who I didn't think was that cool. I thought Vin Diesel was cool.) was wasted as a source of tension. Isn't he supposed to be a maniac? A complete sociopath? Isn't he only dangerous "when he's around humans?" The guy was walking around, chilling! His whole vibe was that he was too cool for the rest of them, so he was gonna do his own thang, y'know? Lobo - lone wolf. Whatever. So, yeah, I was disappointed in Pitch Black. And it could be that it was a lame movie or it could be that I really, deperately wanted to see the X-Men trailer in a theater but, instead, I got the tralier for a David Arquette/Oliver Platt comedy about pro wrestling. And Oliver Platt plays the wrestler. Sometimes, I cry. KSamp.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 12:44 p.m. CST

    I REALLY Liked it

    by MarkAndrew

    My two cents, I thought it had fairly complex charcters, the primaries were not all black or all white...there is subtle shading in this movie. I really appreciate that. Thank you to everyone who made it and got it to me :-)

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 1:39 p.m. CST

    pitch black was pretty cool

    by RipReaver

    saw it last night, (monday night), and hell, pretty cool, very cool. it reminded me of a movie that could have come out in like 86 when they actually had one liners and sarcasm that were actually funny. it was fun. yeah, if you wanted 2001 or star wars youd be a critical geek about it, but this movie never claimed or tried to be that. i was pleasantly surprised that it was just plain ole fun to see. its refreshingly uncheesy. i disagree with some people's essay long criticisms and think that telephone poles are better in the street then up peoples asses

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Bottom Line: the movie SUCKED

    by DarthJoe

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Gotta agree with Ed

    by Sun Tzu

    Pretty much anything entertainment wise can and will remind you of something else. There is a reason people have a large area of their brain referred to as the "association" cortex. You can't help but compare something with something else. That being said; the reason PB wasn't great was not because it had sections that recalled previous movies, it's that I wasn't involved in the story well enough to either 1) not notice or 2) not compare it "favorably" with the earlier story. I didn't feel like I had wasted my money (the crash and the planet effects were very cool, Riddick was engaging), but I will not see it again in the theater nor will I be tempted to purchase it on DVD or VHS. In the end the main criterion for whether or not a movie is good or not is not where the story came from or what it copies, but how well it is done. The old saying is that a good author borrows, a great author steals. And I too could predict who would die and who wouldn't with @ 90% accuracy and I saw it opening day and haven't seen a script in my life.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 3:58 p.m. CST

    oops

    by Sun Tzu

    Meant to say that I "didn't" compare it favorably to the movies it borrowed. (shouldn't have gone with the multiple negatives, those always throw me).

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Saw it - Liked it, but...

    by Red_2

    I have to say that yes it was derivitive of other films, but I agree with all those who asks, "what isn't?". I enjoyed this flick, pretty entertaining; not the most scientific (see below).... I really wanted to see the X-Men trailor on the big screen, but oh well. What get's me is how do the creatures survive on a planet that only has darkness every 22 years that has no other frickin' means to support them? I suppose they were cannibalistic in nature, but how do they survive without water (I forgot, it rains there when it gets dark .... without clouds or any other indication of water) or a means to replenish the atmosphere (plants?) or something to eat when humans aren't around (aside from glow bugs - but wait then they would glow in the dark too, but wait they can't eat them because of the light they give off)? I liked the idea of monstrously huge extinct creatures running around on the surface of the planet, but how could they get so big without a single thing around to eat? Where's the science behind the fiction? For there to be such a large population of anything, it must have either have lots of food, breed like there is no tomorrow (still having food), and no natural predators. So, none of these questions ever got answered reasonably to me, and that puts this into the entertaining but not really realistic bin for me. Call me a Darwinist or not, but how could a creature that is so light sensitive come about on a planet that isn't inherently dark most of the time? Anyway, put all the science behind and enjoy the entertainment value of the movie, but don't expect the movie to win any awards. That's my 2 red cents worth.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 7:32 p.m. CST

    My feelings about Pitch Black...

    by lostoptimist

    After seeing the movie with a friend, he asked me what I thought of it and this is the first thing (don't ask me why)that came to mind: It's like the movie 'Cube' with better acting but a much worse ending. I'm not asking anyone to make sense of the comparison or whether or not its even a valid comparison but, I guess, I just felt the same way after watching both movies. Not bad but not great. Each definitely has it's moments. Anyway, as far as PB is concerned, I personally felt the whole 3rd act so cliched that it wasn't even funny. It went donwhill real fast the moment they started to run the gauntlunt for the ship. Still, I liked the set-up.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 10:34 p.m. CST

    pitch black

    by rabidbadger

    People need to get a live. I am sick of all the people that pick movies apart. Why do you even go to movies? Do you even enjoy going. I have to know? Do any of you even get a little joy from the movies you watch? A smile,laugh or even dare I say it you actually enjoy a movie for what it is A MOVIE. Don't go looking for the second coming don't believe hype. If you get a moment no matter how brief of joy the movie experiance was worth your "precious" money and your valuable time. Movies are made to entertain us and to detatch us from our little lives for a short time. Don't make it a waste.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Harry's is absolutely right...

    by ship

    modern movies are completely unoriginal. they use audio tracks made on equipment invented by some guys and video equipment invented by some other guys. mixing ideas from multiple sources couldn't possibly result in something better than the "originals". the reason "pitch black" is a good movie is because it does combine elements from hundreds of things in a way i haven't seen before. i like blue light. it's cool. contrasts well with space critters.

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Harry is slightly off with his 2001 history.

    by gary2012

    2001 was always intended to be a novel too, and in fact the novel was supposed to be published before the film came out, and was in fact written before the film was shot. I have read much on this topic (and even wrtten essays on it) Including the fabulous "Lost worlds of 2001" by Clarke himself, which contains log entries from the time that he and Kubrick spent working on the story, which really give you a good idea as to what it was like, and how frustrated Clarke could get when he had written entire sections of the book and Kubrick would suddenly want to throw it out and do it differently. It was all for the good of the story though, because most of what was rejected (which is also in this book), though good reading, was pretty far out there and could never have been as powerful as the final film is. The reason that the book wasn't published until after the film is unclear, but most likely because they thought that if the film was a success they would get more orders for the book, and it would warant a larger print run. Clarke was miffed that the book didn't make it out first, because he knew that people would look at it as a "novelization" of the film (like Harry), when in fact they are actually truely companion peices, created together as a whole. You really can't enjoy them as much when they are experienced exclusively. Alsoon another note, I think that 2001 is considered a truly original film because literally no one had ever attempted anything like it before, EVER. sure there were other writers doing things on that scope, but we aren't talking about 2001's story. we are talking about the film, and the way it was presented. Also, Pitch Black was very enjoyable. I, of course as a film lunatic, went into it out of curiosity, but expecting less than nothing from it. I got a lot morethan I needed to like the film. Anyone who omplains about the use of filters should be shot. It was beautiful. Ive been complaining for years that every alien world in films looks like earth. Do they actually think that the atmosphere and sun colors on alien planets would result in anything even remotely like the light you see every day outside? And to Jeb. It is pretty pointless to point out what might look like scientific errors in an alien species that doesn't exist. How do you know they even need water to live? Just because Earth life does? Also how do you know tht they need to eat more than every 22 years? You don't. How do you know that every one of those creatures that ate one of the people didn't end up dying from ingesting alien biological material? They would still hut them if they were doing it instinctively, because they wouldn't even be able to concieve of anything other than hunting food, let alone alien creatures that would kill them if they ate them. Either way the creatures are just as deadly to the people. The film handled two main scientific facts perfectly. One there was o use of the typical sound in space lie. There is no sound in space. Two the alien looking light on the planet. Both of these were handled very well.

  • I just came home from watching Pitch Black, and I'm still feeling the pain. The charecters are one dimensional plastic cut outs. Most of the performances are almost comically bad. (I don't claim enough Movie Foo to discern whether thats from bad acting, bad direction, or the heart renderingly awful script) The premise has great potential, the special effects are superb, but the story is awful. Nothing flows. The charecters reactions to each other and their enviroment are seemingly random. Let me provide an example. (Spoiler) In one scene two people are fleeing a swarm of flying baddies. The rest of the cast screams at them to "Lie down." The person who lies down lives (and gets up 10 seconds later unmolested), the person who runs dies. There is NOTHING in the story to substantiate the belief that the flying baddies will ignore someone lying down, as opposed to landing and eating... Later it is actually shown that doing a sort of chicken dance in front of an alien will get it to leave you alone... (This is an actual scene) I swear I half way expected the charecters to start juggling, or dying their clothes green. Another example of bad story is the movie long quest to get power for the escape vehicle. When they finally get back the whole compound where the vehicle is, it has lights! The compound has lights! They know the creatures hate light before they leave. Why were they running around it the dark getting et'? They couldn't wait till sun-up? In good "Man vs. the Boggits outside" movies like Aliens, or Night of the Living Dead, the charecters often do stupid things, but they are understandable reactions to their understanding of their enviroment and their personalities. Maybe the makers of Pitch Black should have copied that element. That's a bit of unoriginality that I would have no problem with.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 4:46 a.m. CST

    It's ALL Derivitive

    by JohnBigButte

    It is a proven and well documented fact that ALL of literature is derived from well established, time honored storytelling forms developed by that really smart Greek guy many thousands of years ago. Since then, many smart people have tried to break the cycle of storytelling, mostly without ANY success. So, in the final analysis everything depends on the things that have come before. The key is in re-arranging those elements, situations, environments, characters, etc in a slightly different way. It's not about drama vs. science-fiction vs comedy, it's about story. STORY. And it always will be. So get off the derivitive camel, it's a long way to the next oasis and a sandstorm is brewing.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 5:20 a.m. CST

    I disagree with you, Harry...

    by George McFly

    Based on AICN's recommendations, my wife and I caught PITCH BLACK on opening night. We both came away from it extremely bored and disappointed. One guy in the theatre actually got up and *left* about 3/4 of the way through (ok, I suppose he could have been sick or something, but I doubt it). The audience seemed bored throughout, sitting mainly reactionless in the seats. I don't mind a sci-fi film that borrows from other films, as long as its done well. I did NOT think it was done well in PITCH BLACK at all, and I can't recommend this movie to anyone...McFly<--

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Character Arcs - Self Serving versus Self Sacrifice

    by Mind at Large

    I too was disappointed that so many of the critics only responded to the plot (the action). There are only so many ways to put people into conflict in ways that an audience can relate to, and this plot was as inventive as most. There was one critic that really nailed the central conflict well. The story (story is about character, plot is about action) is about the difficult choices one must make when deciding to act for your own self interest versus the sacrifices you make when acting for the greater good. By the end of the story, both the pilot and Riddick had changed from being selfish to being willing to die for somebody else. At the same time, a young boy was changed into a young woman (figuratively) and a man's faith in God remained unshaken despite horrible loss. That we get all that and a fun time with monsters in the dark makes Pitch Black well worth my money.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 9:09 a.m. CST

    "Didn't know who you were f'ing with."

    by Jack Burton

    Personally I could give a rat fuck about what critic's think. Overpaid, pretentious blowhards for the most part. Pitch Black was fun and in a THX theater it totally rocked. I can't wait till the DVD, the movie was beautiful. It reminded me of Three kings with the washed out color pallette and desert setting. Riddick is one of the coolest characters to come along in a while and his "view" shots were totally cool. It ain't Shakespeare, it's just fun.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Whose ass is kicked?

    by seelamia

    In Talk-backs so many movies are praised as "kick-ass" at the same time they are booed for a poor story or weak characters... How much of the excitement is just that BIG sound system and the senseless explosions? Check out the lame dinosaur or space escape "movies" at theme parks. They must be exciting cinema because the sound is really, really loud and THE CHAIR MOVES!! (My companion got sea-sick.) Hey, maybe you guys could get the viewer in the theater seat behind you to kick yours at frequent intervals. ANY movie could be "kick-ass."

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Doesn't matter...it sucked anyway...

    by darth_krakho

    Ugh...c'mon ladies and gentlemen. Who cares if it was original or not? The fact is...it was BOOOOORRRRRIIINNNNNGGG!!! Who didnt' know that little bald kid was a girl? I did. Who didn't know that that the bad guy was going to live? I did. Who didn't know that Harry was smoking crack when he saw this movie? I didn't...and that's why I went to this piece of crap thinking it may actually be this years Matrix. Bwahahahah! I must have been out of my skull.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Some of you need to relax your sphincters...

    by Murraypalooza

    I saw Pitch Black opening night at Regal Brandywine 16. SDDS sound....HUGE theater. Sold out. The place loved it. Why? Maybe because it wasn't filled with anal retentive people who nitpick at every damn detail in a movie, and just go for the ride instead. I loved it personally, and WILL buy the DVD when that comes out. The movie was one of my favorites...just because I like the kind of movie where your brain doesn't need to go into overdrive (although I do like a thinking movie, but realized this wasn't one) and you just chill, watching the fun fly onscreen. Riddick was a great character. I didn't know the boy was a girl up until Riddick said something about the girl bleeding, and it hit me right then. And I admit, for like a second or two, I thought Riddick stabbed the chick (but was waiting for that scene in the trailer where she gets carried away, so that kinda let me know also that it was a bug) and it threw me. It was fun. Some of you just need to chill and take something for exactly what it was meant to be. NOT 2001. NOT Alien. NOT Oscar worthy....but for what it was intended to be FUN Get it fucking straight. if you disagree, Ryan Murray AIM: RPM021 RyanNWC@yahoo.com if you disagree

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Schism

    by Ted Terrific

    I haven't seen the movie yet but I am fascinated by the polar opposites of the TB. It seems that those that liked it respond in a fanboy "IT ROCKS" mode while those that hated it cite specific parts of the script, acting, etc. Maybe someone who liked it can go a little brainiac and discuss specific elements of the films that they thought was good. BTW, anyone who thinks 2001 was derivative because it took its plot from a short story is missing the point. For a specific example of its originality, this is a 2-3 hour movie with about 35 minutes of dialogue.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:06 p.m. CST

    ...its pitch black, you may be eaten by a grue!

    by stoosh95

    They must have landed near the Great Underground Empire, next to Flood Control Dam #3... . . . I am amazed no one saw the similarity between the "PB" monster and the ancient and tenacious creatures simply known as the grue? Hasn't ANYONE played the Zork series? or have they just forgotten

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Originality.

    by Giftelf

    Harry, you make a good point that nothing is original. Heck, there's nothing Star Trek or Star Wars that the Lensmen stories didn't do first. So I agree that a lack of originality is not a fair stick to beat a movie with - unless originality is what it's trying to sell. All science fiction stand-alone movies are selling, to a greater or lesser extent, originality. Their raison d'etre, and their marketing campaigns, are based on the idea that the movie contains things very different from anything we've seen before, unfettered creative imaginations that will take us to places that we've never been to. So, say, when the alien in Species sets off your Gieger counter, rather than impressing you with its originality, it's a valid point to kvetch about. And any movie where you're way ahead of the characters can be dull. Just my two cents.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:12 p.m. CST

    I though Pitch was entertaining. The characters weren't steroty

    by superninja

    Actually, the story is what really ruined for me in the last 1/4. The ending was just lame and SPOILER ***too much like Deep Blue Sea***. I thought the direction was kind of interesting, and I left the theater feeling like I'd really seen a comic book translated to film for the first time. It reminded me of turning the pages of a graphic novel (albiet a mediocre one) and watching the pictures come to life. By the way, the heroine was great. She'd make an excellent Rogue for a later X-Men film if they don't go with Paquin.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:15 p.m. CST

    stooch95 -- ZORK ROCKED!

    by superninja

    But I can't really remember what the grue looked like. Sorry.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Innaccuracies....

    by Giftelf

    Scott 1458, don't mean to be snide but in your post on innaccuracies, you confused Fantastic Planet with Forbidden Planet - it's the latter that's based on The Tempest, the former, an animated movie, was based on The City of Gold and Lead novel series by John Christopher. The previous post mentioning Fantastic Planet seemed to have made the same error, but I can't be 100% sure. Forbidden Planet, btw, is the movie Star Trek was ripped off from.:)

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Same ol', Same ol'

    by NJFILM20

    The movie was nothing more than hype...Average, you've seen it all before...etc. It didn't suck totally, but it wasn't worth my $9 either.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 2:02 p.m. CST

    The Mote in God's Ass

    by LSHB

    What's wrong with me that I own a copy of the book '2001' written by Arthur C. Clarke? Seems like he was in the loop with that film, not getting ripped off by Kubrick like what some of you folks seem to be peddling. Speaking of which, is this really a talkback defending Pitch Black against those mindless drones over at rottentomatoes? That sounds like a pretty shaky Godzilla-esque limb to go out on, Harry. The premise to Pitch Black is that "They Mostly Come Out At Night. Mostly." Anyone remember 'Screamers'? No? Well, it was another terrible film but there the scary inhuman monsters ran around under the soil killing people. No, dammit, not Tremors, in 'Screamers' they were little robots that screamed as they got closer. The point is that these plots are a dime a dozen. Every time the creature just gets a new gimmick/weakness. It's also refreshing to see how Hollywood has held onto its current fixation with the cast of cliched obvious victims/survivors. My favorites are Heroic Alpha Caucasian, Exotic Love Interest, Tough Token Minority, Burned Out Hippie/Surfer Dude, and Auxiliary Backup Girl w/Tech Skills. The only thing missing is the golden retriever that disappears 2/3 of the way through the film, presumably killed to the horror of the audience, only to be triumphantly reunited with its grimy, torn-clothing wearing owner in the final few scenes? Rottentomatoes has this stinker dead to rights, and constructing some elaborate, wobbling thesis on 2001 and Star Wars derivatives doesn't disguise the fact that you're grasping for a way to defend the film and failing. It sucks, and writing off criticism of it as fallacious simply because earlier good films have copied one another is exactly what leads to more Pitch Blacks. For once, tell Hollywood that because you've seen it all before you _won't_ see it again.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 2:11 p.m. CST

    pay attention

    by cohen

    Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story called "sentinal" Together with Kubrik he turned it into 2001. And then he lengthened it (as he does with most of his short stories) into a novel. And that's the chronology of 2001

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 4:46 p.m. CST

    About your concerns, Red 2...

    by Vegas

    ...it is true that the creatures seemed to survive on a planet with no vegetation, and that despite no vegetation and no clouds it did rain at night, but you forget one thing...THEY WERE ON ANOTHER FUCKING PLANET!!! Why do we assume that in movies, every single planet has to operate according to the principles upon which the Earth (Gaia, as I like to call her) operates? Did you know that on Neptune it rains DIAMONDS? Didja? (actually I only learned that from my buddy Cole-Thrawn a few months ago, but they say it's because carbon makes up most of the atmosphere on Neptune and that the pressure of the atmosphere is so high) I shouldn't have to point this out to you, but it doesn't rain diamonds on earth, does it?! Stop being so fucking anal and enjoy the damn movie.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Dark they were and golden eyed

    by Ericsgoldmonkey

    Just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that the connection between STAGECOACH & FIVE CAME BACK is the extraordinary John Carradine who was Steve Buscemi before Stve Buscemi ever was.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah! It's like Alien!

    by jethroc

    Man this sounds good. This movie is being touted as being "alike" to some of the finest films out there! I love a good monster movie. Hopefully they threw in a bit of Relic and Carnosaur as well. A bad derivative movie was Carnosaur 2 which is almost a scene-by-scene remake of Aliens. And it's completely awful! They showed how the film's maker is so much more important than the script!

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Ebert blew it this time.

    by darthkoko

    Roger Ebert lamented that they had the film had the whole universe to explore, and wasted it on a horror flick. Sadly, he overlooked the visual beauty of a truly alien environment, and what seemd to me a detailed ecological system (well, as detailed as a 2 hour horror flick can be expected to show). The shot of the rising gas giant was awesome (in the literal sense), and I was trying to figure out how I could work the ending of the film into my lessons on evolution and adaptation (I won't say more for fear of spoiling a nice bit at the end). Perhaps he would have preferred a space opera version of Henry V.

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Grue description

    by stoosh95

    Well, there really never was a description in the zork series ... in one game (i think 'enchanter') there was a pix of one, but it was simply a pair of glowing eyes in a black background ... one thing is for sure, you had but ONE move once your in 'pitch black' and that was 'Light lamp' other than that, it was.. >You have died ... you have been eaten by a grue ... your score is 38 out of 200 which gives you the rank of apprentice

  • Feb. 23, 2000, 9:11 p.m. CST

    a 10 if there had been a nude scene

    by eightiesqueen

    Dang this movie be good, its been a long ass time since a good scifi came out. The reviewer guy is so dead on, do not wait for your tiny tv to to see it. I didnt think the aliens were all that though & although the characters begin as cliches (just say no to cleavage) some of them do rise above the requisite one-liners & become interesting, like the bad guy who really is bad, but struggles with it enough to be the hero. Why doesnt Riddick get naked though? That kind of thing really pisses me off ... and why are people knocking The Arrival. If you can get past the Charlie Sheen thing, it was pretty damn fine except for that to be continued ending...just a little naked bum wouldve been good

  • Feb. 24, 2000, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Pitch Black

    by peas

    I agree that entertainment is the most important aspect of a movie. I don't mind picking out parts that remind me of other movies, that's actually fun too. Especially if they're derived from good movies. I loved PITCH BLACK,I'm ready to see it again. I thought Vin Diesel was too cool. There were just a lot of scenes that stayed with me and that's not true of a lot of movies. I'll add them to my memory palace and bring them out often.

  • Feb. 24, 2000, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Ho-Hum

    by QUIXOTE

    I just got back from seeing PITCH BLACK and I just have to say that I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's an okay movie but completely inconsequential. I don't feel ripped off or anything, it was a matinee so I only paid five bucks. That's about what it's worth. It was fun and I wasn't bored but I doubt I'll even remember it in any detail this time next month. And no I'm not a snob. I agree with some of the above postings that EVENT HORIZON was unfairly trashed. I also agree with Harry that "derivitive" is an overused criticism. If the source material is familiar then it's all about the execution. PITCH BLACK's "derivitive" story was adequately executed. No more, no less.