Tag Archives: Pitch Black

Top 10 Favorite Movies

I know, not a review, but it’s something. I’ve discovered I don’t have the second Shadow saga book, and refuse to buy it just for consistency. (Maybe with Christmas money next year.) I have a movie sitting around, waiting for me to watch and return it to its owner, and the Ginny-donation-box needs gone through so I know what I have. But for this week, I thought I would do a list of my favorite movies, spurned on by a conversation happening on the drive home from a medieval fair.

So with that, I give you my top favorite movies (err, sort of). There were a few exceptions made in the case of series where you like all the movies in it equally, it could count as one. I suspect because the guy who asked the question wanted to make sure people like me just didn’t start listing MCU movies…

10. How to Train Your Dragon

There’s a lot to love about this movie. On one hand, I have to knock it a bit because it is apparently way different from its source material, and as a writer, that irks me. But they took the concept and ran with it, which I thought was impressive. I love the fact that Hiccup is this plucky, skinny little kid that doesn’t have the brawl and doesn’t need it, instead just needing his smarts. I also love the fact that Astrid is a bit of a tomboy, yes, and is very much the fighter and athletic type, but she is still considered beautiful and feminine. And then the dialogue is perfect, and I love how cat-like the dragons are… It’s really just an amazing film.

9. Pitch Black/Chronicles of Riddick/Riddick

…Someone is going, “Wait, Rebecca, you can’t do horror, why are these on your favorite list…?” I know I can’t do horror, which is why it’s all the way down here at number 9. 😛 Yes, some elements of these movies gives me nightmares. But I love the way the anti-hero was shaped, even if I think we took a weird tangent in the second movie. I’ve done some slightly more in-depth thoughts on this franchise, and I stand by them. But I love them, and I look forward to seeing where it goes in oncoming films. (Plus, I really, really like Vin Diesel, okay?)

8. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

I am a sucker for this TV series, despite some of the weird/stupid episodes. I thought that this movie was a great way of showing Terry stepping into the mantle of the Batman, and it also helps answer the question of what happened to at least one of the Robins. It makes some nods towards the series that are great in context of it as a whole. I have to knock it a little, since if you don’t know some of what happened in at least the first season, some of the emotional bombs don’t hit as hard, and it’s not as obvious that Terry is not a genius like Bruce without that further evidence, so the ending is less of a comeuppance. But there are still moments that even a newbie to the concept can love if they watch it just as a stand-alone, and most of the history is general Batman history and thus easy enough to grab on to (or is explained).

7. Beauty and the Beast

My very first review on this blog was about this movie, though it was over the 3-D rendition and had some problems. I know there are some people who have severe issues with the plot of this movie, shouting Stockholm Syndrome and verbal abuse. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I am saying that I think that is a pretty quick leap. Is the situation weird, yes. But this is a fantasy movie, weird situations are the norm. But I won’t get into an argument on this list. I love this idea of a brainy girl who doesn’t fit in with her surroundings and wants more out of life, falling in love with someone who similarly doesn’t belong, of finding love with each other. I love the idea of love helping you become a better person. The side characters also have their moments of glory, and I’ll admit it, I have deep issues with trusting the popular, pretty boy, and Gaston being the jerky villain is awesome.

6. Marvel Cinematic Universe

Okay, this is the first of the cheater choices. I just can’t pick a favorite, and they are so inter connected, it’s hard to separate them out. It doesn’t help matters that my favorite hero hasn’t had a solo movie and doesn’t look to be getting one either… (I’m such a Hawkeye fan girl.) There are questionable choices at times in the writing, and I don’t always like which of the Marvel universes they pull from, but everything is working well together, and they are pacing themselves well. You can tell, for example, that Iron Man is pulling back to be a more supportive role and his solo character arc is resolved and now it’s him in the group. My working theory is that Captain America is going to wrap up with this third, and Thor with is. They aren’t letting one character become more than the series as a whole, and that I think is what makes Avengers so amazing.

(…Don’t ask me about Agents of SHIELD. Just don’t. I have all sorts of mixed feels, because they are writing a really weird Bobbi…)

5. The Last Unicorn

Yeah, you should have timed this one appearing on this list. God, I loved this movie growing up. I don’t remember how many times I rented it, but it was an insane number of times. And what’s not to love? Schmedrick and Molly Grue are amazing characters, with deep character flaws but even bigger hearts. Amalthia starts out not necessarily flat but very much lacking in certain levels of human empathy. And when that starts to change, it breaks your heart. And the ending isn’t completely happy but honest and true to its world, which in fact keeps with the original source material…like this movie does amazingly well at, just cutting stuff for time reasons in ways that make sense. It’s an under appreciated classic that really deserves more attention.

4. Lord of the Rings Trilogy

And here’s the second cheater. But honestly, these three again are so wound together, it’s really hard to separate them. And while I may get more frustrated with the first two, that’s only because TNT and other channels marathon the dickens out of them but rarely show the third. I own the super long, box-set versions, so I don’t watch them as much as I like because really, who has that kind of time? But I appreciate them because there are all those extra little moments. (Okay, and because the Faramir/Eowyn moments were a lot more blatant in those versions). As someone who read the books too young, if I’m honest to myself, and got bogged down in Two Towers, these movies were well-done and helped me feel the same excitement that I know the books inspire in other people

3. Three Musketeers

Specifically, I mean the version that Disney put out with Tim Curry as the cardinal. It sticks the closest to the original story as far as screenplay/stage adaptations go according to other people’s research, not mine. And honestly, the characters make this story and the way the actors portray them. The plot is ridiculously straight-forward, there aren’t any surprise twists coming. But the characters, man… I can’t even pick a favorite, that’s how awesome they all are. And there are lots of comedic moments, but some of serious drama that can just break your heart. And it flows very well between the comedy and the drama so it doesn’t jar you out of the story. And they are all so relatable and human, down to their silliest of flaws. (Like Pathos being a pathological liar, since there is no Queen of America.) I highly recommend this movie (except…maybe not for the kids. It gets a bit too serious and gory.)

2. Twelve Angry Men

What is this, a black and white film that is in no way fantasy or scifi? Shut your mouth! …Okay, in all seriousness, I love this movie. You’ve probably seen nods to it elsewhere, since I knew some shows that are episodic rather than overarching plot have done versions of it. (Hey Arnold! and the pulling of the fire alarm, for example.) It doesn’t have your traditional, physical conflict. Everything is done through words and differences in personality. The twelve characters are all different from each other, though some are pretty similar so it can get confusing trying to explain it rather than watch it. It doesn’t help that they are known by juror numbers only. You get to the point where you don’t care who is what number or who they are, you recognize the character and know their motivation, and that’s what matters. And it all builds on top of each into an absolutely amazing climax. Even if old black and white movies aren’t your thing, you should totally check this one out.

1. Cats Don’t Dance

Despite my education and supposed grown-up status, I will always be a girl obsessed with animated movies and musicals. This movie is the best of both and is always going to be the best in my heart. I love Sawyer’s sassiness and the fact that, let’s face it, she’s a better performer than our male lead, she just needs a push to try again. And because of the type of cat design they went with for her, she actually comes across as being plump and curvy rather than a stick, which is a big thumb’s up in my book. Darla is an absolutely amazing villain, especially when combined with Max, to create an almost Pinky and the Brain dynamic. And I think the idea of a animal actors trying to make it big like the humans is just awesome. The music is catchy and actually has a jazz feel to it rather than the Broadway musical feeling that most movies end up going with. The animation is good Warner Bro. animation, which is just as good if not better than Disney at times, and the way they use color is just a great touch. Overall, I think it’s just an under-appreciated animated classic, and definitely deserves recognition.

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Riddick Thoughts

Okay, so this one is less of a review and more of my random, circling thoughts about this film series as a whole. Will I someday do a more individualized, in-depth, movie-by-movie review series? …I don’t know. Depends on how the rest of the series goes. But I do have some thoughts on the entire thing that I would like to share, both for those who are also fans of the series and for those who haven’t really been able to get behind them. (I understand both sides.)

And as if to make this more confusing, I’m going to start with the second movie. Why? Because it was the first one in the series that I saw. I didn’t even know about Pitch Black for years. I caught The Chronicles of Riddick on some random channel while at my grandmother’s house. I was losing (miserably) at our marble game, and I welcomed the distraction, even though I missed the first ten minutes of the movie and had no idea what was going on. And talk as bad as you want to about the plot of the second movie… I liked it. I kinda got obsessed with finding out what was Riddick’s back story, what was going on with the girl named Jack who then became the killer named Kyra, and then the ending (which I won’t spoil for the rest of you) made me about ready to scream, especially when I found out exactly how old the film was at that point.

Was Chronicles a little too story heavy? Yes, especially in comparison to the first in the series (I’ll get there, I swear). We had a lot of plots, including prophecies and quests from various different characters, thrown at us, and there were only two or three characters who were consistent from the previous film, making continuity between the films a problem. Even as someone who was jumping into the series right in the middle of things, I was left sitting there on the couch at my mother’s on my third or fourth viewing of it going, “Okay, some of this HAD to have been established in the first film. Because there is way too much stuff going on here otherwise.” (Answer: very very little was established in the previous film.) And speaking of characters, did I mention there were a lot of them? Yeah, a WHOLE lot of them, and we were expected to remember who each of them was, and what their little quests were, and it didn’t help that Riddick was a little too perfect, too much the center of attention of things either. That said, there were some awesome parts to that movie. It is insanely quotable, just because the dialogue was so well-written. I love the dialogues between characters, especially when someone can gets Riddick to stop being all, “Grr,” long enough to be Vin snarking. It’s the most apparent between him and Toombs and/or Kyra. I may or may not be known for going, “Skittish, Toombs,” or “Death by teacup,” in response to certain questions asked to me because of this movie.

So between the years of my first discovering this movie and the news that there was a third one in production finally reaching my ears, I managed to get a plot synopsis of Pitch Black, and then very recently actually watched it. Yeah, I can see some serious issues between the two of them. Whereas Chronicles was trying to build up this world and plots without really pacing it right, there wasn’t a lot done in Pitch Block to establish the world beyond getting the situation built up for the survival plot of the film. We were given a hint of the back story to Riddick and his relationship with Johns, but everything else was just about getting off the planet (as well it should be, considering what it was). While I could see why fans would want a sequel to it, I don’t think Chronicles was quite the sequel it needed. Or rather, if Chronicles had been half as plot heavy, it might have worked. Pitch Black was focused only on the particular planet and the people who lived on it trying to survive, which worked for it and laid some groundwork, it just didn’t blend well with its immediate sequel.

The third in the trilogy struck an important balance between the two films. While there was some continuing of the plot established in the second movie, there was also some focusing back on what Riddick the character wanted rather than what the prophecies/the writers’ wanted. It set the stage for the same kind of survivalist horror that started the franchise off, but it also played into the back stories established in the earlier films. It fed into those who loved Chronicles, but it also could have (and I hope did) brought back the fans from Pitch Black. The monsters felt a little recycled to me, especially after I watched the first movie at last, since the design looked very similar, even if how they functioned in their world was different. I’m also getting really sick of this whole plot device of whatever finally makes Riddick look human, be it a person or an animal, gets killed. It’s getting annoying. But the film sets up for a fourth, final film well. (If they stretch for a fifth, I might start throwing things.) It was also an enjoyable watch, even if parts of it in the beginning squicked me out a little.

So what are my likes and problems with this series as a whole if it is one of my favorites? As a whole, it works well to balance a rich world and plot with proving the survivalist theme with Riddick. I don’t know if this is me romanticizing the character or not, but I honestly don’t see Riddick as this blood thirsty serial killer. Is he violent, yes. Does he play way too many mind games, also yes. But the former I am more than willing to place on what had to be a rather traumatic upbringing, and as for the latter… It’s an interesting character trait. He survives, and in the process, that has made him into what he is, all in an effort to survive. His race is also potentially a lot more primal than our own, which leads me to think a lot of his mind games are an attempt to establish dominance over other males he encounters. I think that’s part of why people keep cheering for him, even if he is supposed to be waaaay at the bottom of the sliding anti-hero scale.

*Spoiler Ahead*

I touched on one of my problems already, but…I am really sick of the death of anyone Riddick gets close to. I mean, Kyra and him had such an interesting relationship, and I really wanted to see it play out. I even have a friggin’ head canon established over what would have happened if she hadn’t been converted and then killed in Chronicles. (Actually, me and my best friend have this established, we did it in a fit of boredom over two days and just using the wiki.) I wish we could actually see Riddick have to keep up with a relationship for longer than a day or two. Or with something that isn’t a dog/giant cat.

My bigger problem is the mixed medium. I know this has become a big thing, where you have some of the story in the movies/show, and then the rest in some sort of web medium or even a video game. The problem that the Riddick series is having with that is they can’t keep their own story straight. Some of this comes from the fact that Riddick is meant to be the only survivor of the Furyan race, so we can’t know exactly what happened there. But we’ve had two or three different versions on how his eyes became shined like they were. Stick with one, people, stick with one! There needs to be some consistency, or else fans like me get cranky.

I’m hoping we get the next film done soon, so the hype from the last is able to feed into the frenzy. While the series has its flaws, as a whole it is one of my favorites to watch, and I can’t wait to see what happens when Riddick finally makes it back to Furya.