So, I’m really glad I didn’t bother seeing this movie in the theater. I’m now regretting even paying for it on pay-per-view. Because it actively pissed me off as I watched it. Let’s just do this bullet point style:
- It was obvious from moment one that the only reason Riddick found the alien puppy was so that, eventually, the now-grown alien dog could join the large crowd of people in Riddick’s fridge. Painfully telegraphed. I’m also not sure what it says about these movies that they’ve gone from fridging women to fridging dogs. Hopefully they saved the puppy a spot in the fruit drawer.
- Dahl. Fucking Dahl. I just couldn’t even with this character. The at times painfully wooden mercenary woman started off showing how strong she was as a female character by punching the crap out of the dirtbag mercenary. That’s fine, I can get behind that, since it does kind of make sense with the mercenary thing. But then Santana the dirtbag spends the rest of the movie until his death being increasingly rapey at her until Riddick kills him. And bonus for the fact that Dahl clearly states she “doesn’t fuck men.” Maybe this means she’s a lesbian. Maybe she’s just asexual. Maybe she just wants them all to back the fuck off. But then Riddick says that he’s going to go “balls deep” in her because she asks him to. The only thing that kept me from punching holes in my TV in anger was that this did not actually happen, thank goodness, though I was sorely tempted when she basically straddled Riddick in the course of rescuing him at the end and he slid his hand over her butt. (Sure, maybe it was a joke between equals where she was basically going Nope, still not for you. I could have gone with that, up until the butt-touching.) With each movie, the female characters have become progressively less fully realized just to make more room for Riddick being a power fantasy. It’s incredibly disappointing, particularly when you think about how freaking awesome Fry was in Pitch Black.
- If I cared less about Papa Johns’s desire to get revenge for his son (killed in the first movie) I might stop breathing. It was incredibly unconvincing. (And then he comes back for Riddick…why?) Also, this left me with the strong desire to order a pizza. Damn you.
- I guess the weird alien monsters were trying to move us back to the good ol’ days of Pitch Black, but these were even more ridiculous, and not in a good way.
- Incredibly ridiculous scene with motorcycle-ish things. Very motocross. Much silly. Such adolescent fantasy. Wow.
- In this movie I learned that a Brazilian wax is apparently the way of the Necromonger woman. I did not need to know this, and yet now I do.
- The cheese factor of the action and dialog has gone from cool and fun to cringe-worthy. I left Chronicles of Riddick in spasms of roleplaying nerd glee over the whole “I’ll kill you with my tea cup” line. And I rewatch this movie often. It’s still good stuff. This movie lacked the minimum level of cleverness. It felt more like it was trying to be a cheap knock off of its own greatest hits. We’ve been here before, and it was a lot more enjoyable the first and even second time around.
It’s difficult for me to define the difference (aside from the ever worsening treatment of female characters) between Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick, that makes the first delicious cheeseball fun and the second an exercise in frustration. With each movie the writing has become less focused, and the characters have become progressively less fleshed out. And then by the time you get to Riddick, it’s not even really a movie any more, it’s just basically the uncomfortable experience of watching someone’s wanky, adolescent, misogynistic power fantasy put on film, where Riddick is the paper cut-out stand-in with biceps to die for.
All I can think is that if I’d ever written fanfiction with this level of flat wish fulfillment, fans around the internet would have ripped off my head and shit down my neck all the while endlessly screaming the words “Mary Sue.”
It’s not fun any more, Riddick. Go home.