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March 10 2006

Curious Serenity DVD on Amazon. To be released this April: Serenity/The Chronicles of Riddick.

I wonder if this is the HD version, or just a clever way to sell two DVD's at once?

My thought is that this is a themed two-pack studios sell at a reduced price.
Two of the best sci-fi films in the last few years in a one package? Yowsers.
I saw The Chronicles of Riddick at the drive-in...and fell asleep twenty minutes in. What a boring, arrogant snoozefest.
There's a few Serenity Two Packs if you search for them. There's Serenity/Doom and Serenity/Hulk..

They're trying to keep selling both projects, which underperformed at the box office.

Sorry to say, but I can't believe how many mistakes they made with Riddick. Maybe making me care even slightly for any of the characters would have been a good plan?
I adored Riddick. It's so much more fun that the three Star Wars films and its enjoyable. The sets were great, the plot was daft. What's there not to love? It's Flash Gorfon for the 21st Century.
What's there not to love?

A plot that makes sense, character I care about, any sense of emotion other than 'Ooooh, CGI'... the usual.

They made a great game of it, though.
It's a pity "Riddick" was so bad - as "Pitch Black" was a great film!
It is just a new way to market the film. I work in DVD sales/promotions, and we use 2-packs all the time at my company to help get people who are interested in DVD-A to notice DVD-B that they might also be interested in. And, if it works, we sell our inventory and make a little more money.
If it increases Serenity's sales it can only be a good thing. I did watch Pitch Black and found it really dull and kind of bleak but not in a very entertaining way. The acting was really hammy too. I've heard the second only builds upon that, but I suppose some people might find it good fun.
Hell, I really enjoyed Chronicles of Riddick. It's not a great film by any means, but I love the Riddick character and found the story intriguing. Plus, the ending cries out for a sequel.
I thought Pitch Black was excellent. Quite taught with diverse, somewhat ambiguous characters and at least some effort made to come up with an interesting alien lifeform and ecology (OK, not plausible but interesting). Also, 'Did not know who it was fucking with' has to be one of the top ten kick ass sci-fi quotes.

Chronicles though, took everything cool about Riddick and threw it out the window. He only fights in the dark once or twice. Hello ? Infra-red vision ? Raison d'etre much ? And the whole Furian idea struck me as a bit too much to suddenly introduce. Bit Highlander-between-1-and-3-which-doesn't-exist ish. Keep him as a gutter fighting anti-hero. There's no need for a huge epic back-story. Throw in a muddled plot, lacklustre dialogue and weak characterisation and you've got, well, a big dumb summer movie.

BTW, these double packs were linked to a while back but it was within a thread so no dupe issue.
"Chronicles" was written as a trilogy franchise, and pitched as a Sci-Fi Lord of the Rings (I know a bit about it as there's actually a bit of background with it relating to Serenity). Needless to say, it's doubtful it'll get a sequel. I beleive I'm correct in saying when the deal was first presented to the studio they had already written the two sequels, and had some kind of arch planned with the Underverse and all that malkery.

Riddick received a budget at the highest end of Universal's action range, and consequently received very heavy marketing (see also: big marketing budget). Unsurprisingly, it opened big - but dropped very quickly.

The Rotten Tomatoes overall critic score was 28%, which is absolutely terrible.
I wonder if the trilogy plans included bringing back the Jack/Kyra character? I did enjoy the performance by Alexa Davalos... who also gave us the "electrifying" Gwen on Angel... heh
It's too bad Chronicles turned out as bad as it did, because Pitch Black was great. Oh, well. :-(
Pairing these two together will make it even more obvious that the lower half of the cover art for Serenity's American DVD was based on existing layers prepared for the Chronicles of Riddick cover. The masses of people running around on the bottom of the Serenity cover always looked to me to be the hordes on New Mecca from Riddick, redone slightly. Same look, same color scheme, even some of the same clouds. Just speculation, but I bet it is correct since they're both Sony pictures. Compare them side by side.
I really enjoyed the Riddick character, and though I felt that Chronicles introduced a bit too much "Dune"-like pomp, I'd still like to see the third part of the trilogy. Pitch Black and Chronicles even inspired me to check out Vin Diesel's spy movie XXX, and I liked that too!
Pitch Black was a classic Suspense/Horror flick. Like Alien meets Flight of the Phoenix.

Chronicles of Riddick was Conan (the Barbarian, not the late night host) in space. The funny thing is that description seems to get universal agreement from anyone else who's seen it. It's a pulp film, even with Dench, Newton, and Urban as supporting cast.

The thing that seems most unusual about things is the pairing. Not since Highlander (good call, Saje) have I seen a sequel as completely unrelated to its predecessor. They've got different backstory, different powers for Riddick, and different genres, for cryin' out loud!

[ edited by jclemens on 2006-03-11 06:30 ]
Pitch Black was okay, but Chronicles of Riddick was an unusual direction to take that character...

As for Riddick and Serenity, I momentarily hoped that it meant those animated filler-bits would actually be released. I know they made a "prequel" of sorts to Riddick that filled the time after Pitch Black, sort of like The Animatrix, and then the same was supposed to be done to Serenity until they decided to kill the project...
According to this New York Times article, Amazon is in talks with Universal and other studios about starting "a service that would allow consumers to download movies and TV shows for a fee and burn them onto DVD's".

So people might be able to buy Serenity that way.
I'm chiming in on the "I loved Pitch Black and was dissappointed with Chronicles of Riddick" side of this discussion. That said I did buy the Chronicals DVD and have watched it quite a bit and even though I don't care that much about the characters I do love the whole "look" of the film.

Also, 'Did not know who it was fucking with' has to be one of the top ten kick ass sci-fi quotes.

SAJE I agree!
Well if "Serenity" is selling quite well, it's makes sense to use it to boost the sales of a weaker selling Sci-Fi property.
I liked "Pitch Black" quite a bit, but never bothered to see "Riddick".
"Riddick" probably did much better than "Serenity" in the Cinema, but did it do better on DVD? Is "Serenity" the stronger DVD property (which requires a larger financial commitment than seeing a movie)?
"Riddick" probably did much better than "Serenity" in the Cinema, but did it do better on DVD? Is "Serenity" the stronger DVD property (which requires a larger financial commitment than seeing a movie)?

We can't tell, as DVD numbers aren't publicly available (studios horde the information). The producers of Riddick were openly saying DVD sales would tell the fate any sequels (due to poor box office performance). It actually has a great many parallels, in fact, with Serenity.

Serenity has several things still going for it - a fan base which cares, a fan base which will purchase things with the Serenity logo on, and the video game licensing is still available. Which, of course, is money to be made by those wanting to license the properties.

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