Apocalyptexts 01: The Chronicles of Riddick

Apocalyptexts[1] #01: The Chronicles of Riddick[2]

The Chronicles of Riddick (David Twohy, 2004) is w/o a doubt one of the smarter movies made in the aughts.[3] (And no, I don’t mean in terms dialogue, for it is wretched where that is concerned. . . .)  In the words of others mixed w/ myself: it’s like Dirty Harry meets Han Solo, Shakespeare, the second Iraq War, Messianic (neo-evangelical) Christianity, video games, postmodern irony,[4] and Hitler.[5] For instance, a thought experiment:

how many other films begin w/ an obviously world-ending (and purely) evil force bent on “conversion “ for its “POV”—literally injecting willing applicants into its military program—and then jump to a Hoth-on-steroids-Vin-Diesel-running-amok middle, ending w/ said anti-hero sitting on that selfsame evil throne?  (Answer: none.)

I remember Ted Gerstle[6] dragged my ass to this film, and, even though we walked in about ten minutes late, it was still astounding.  Twohy had done something no one else had ever done before (kidding): make an amazing SF film that no one saw.  Of course it didn’t hurt that Pitch Black was incredible, but TCoR[7]did something no other SF “action” film had done before: make me recall 2001.[8]

Sure, the fact that the ebullient choral tracks accompanied the equivalent of monoliths “falling from the sky to destroy a helpless population” helped, but it seemed to be an updated Arthur C. Clarke-vision of the future, a LeBron for an MJ[9] (if you will. . .), a “what would happen if Vinge made a horror film”-type scenario.

I cannot help but argue that it has been one of the greater crimes of this decade that no one let Twohy[10] make a sequel to this film—further, a sequel that was so obviously and gratuitously needed![11] (TCoR is something I might in fact put in my top 20 [meaning #1] of my sequel worthy films.  Wtf would he have done?  He had no Lynchian escape hatch [see: all Lynch’s films since the mid-90s]).  He would’ve had to actually write something, which, of course, was something he had built his career on refusing to do.  And this is ultimately the tragedy of TCoR: it far more represented Twohy’s orgasm than it did foreplay for something greater—i.e. there will never be a TCoR sequel. . . .

And that’s sad really.  (It is like if Milemarker hadn’t released Anaesthetic after Frigid Forms Sell.[12] All that setup, no payoff?)

In other words. . . this is all to say. . . Avatar bores me.  So yes: 1)  I cannot help but feel like it is a piece of abstract expressionism to which analysis is forever denied; 2) the narrative is boring, sucky, and downright contrived; and 3) I’m gonna miss the early aughts, in which CGI only counted for, like, 50% of the movie rather than, idk, all of it.

TCoR took its apocalypticism seriously—as in: if you can’t break off the knife after stabbing the dictator in the head, why bother type way.  Riddick ain’t a bad Bartleby figure, so if we can’t see how it would be if he ran an “Evil Empire,” then we’re all, collectively, fucked.  Please Twohy, make a sequel.


[1] Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

[2] So seriously, I’ve decided to start a new portion of this here thing (don’t worry, “Repackaging the Archive Part IV” is coming. . .).  Apocalyptexts: where the world blows up and I feel like talking about it.

[3] viz. the last decade.  (I’m committed to using this term, so if it doesn’t catch on, I’m screwed.  [This is also an attempt to not conceal the fact that David Twohy is perhaps a gigantic douchebag.])

[4] Otis Nixon.

[5] And did I mention that the dialogue is horrible, w/ the exception of: “I’ll kill you w/ my teacup.”

[6] Excuse me on the spelling of this Ted, the googles turned up a bunch of fat guys quick, who obviously aren’t you.  (Why aren’t you more easily locatable—i.e. I refuse to use facebook. . . .)

[7] I think I might be pretty into using this acronym for the remainder of anytime I talk about this heaping pile of gold-plated dung.

[8] Of course I’m lying here.  Solaris is w/o a doubt the best exemplar of post-2001 filmmaking.

[9] Sorry, I’ve been reading Bill Simons’ excellent The Book of Basketball (New York: Ballantine Books, 2009) recently (i.e. since 24 hours ago [I haven’t slept it was that interesting. . .]) and cannot help at this moment but relate everything to my favorite, and the world’s most interesting (I will stand behind this to the death) sport.

[10] No matter how much of a douchebag he is.

[11] Unlike, idk, so many others.

[12] Ik.  u have no idea.  look it up.

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