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Chronicles of Riddick [WS Unrated Director's Cut] [DVD] [2004]

Release Date:11/16/2004
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Much like the Universal Home Video director's cut DVD release of the first film in the Riddick series, Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick appears to promise a jam-packed DVD of outstanding extras and exciting inside features, but ultimately falls short of delivering what a film of this scope deserves. The highlight of the disc, aside from the astonishing animated menus, is the newly reedited version of the film itself. This version is perfect for showing off the powers of a high-quality DVD player and rocking surround sound system. With a gorgeous letterbox transfer in the windscreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 that has been enhanced for anamorphic play on 16 x 9 monitors, the disc's picture quality is downright stunning. The sharp image actually makes some of the film's many effects sequences appear richer and more refined than they looked on theater screens. The booming audio mix, mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, perfectly surrounds the viewer in Riddick's world. English, Spanish, and French subtitle tracks are included along with a lively, nicely done pop-up trivia track. Fifteen minutes longer than the theatrical cut, this DVD version does an excellent job in fleshing out the film's complicated universe. Writer and director David Twohy explains in his brief pre-film introduction that most of the items restored here were taken out to help speed up the film's already troubled pace. One major deletion now brought back is the character of Sirah, played by Kristin Lehman, a member of Riddick's ancient Furyian race who guides him spiritually through the film. The addition of Sirah and scenes that explain why the evil Necromongers want to take over the universe do a splendid job of enhancing the viewer's understanding of the film. Extras begin with a spotty audio commentary on the film with Twohy and film stars Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos. Although star Vin Diesel is mysteriously absent from the commentary, most of the time is spent with the three others constantly talking about what a great guy Diesel is and how much fun the film was to work on. Twohy seems the least enthused about watching the film as he makes constant comments on its original PG-13 rating and how long the production of this film took. Three forgettable deleted scenes are presented with optional Twohy commentary for each. Since these scenes are slow-paced and feature embarrassing dialogue, it comes as no surprise that they got cut from the finished product. Next is a guided tour of the film's sets, guided by a very excited Vin Diesel, and a "360-degree" photo tour of the sets. In the "Virtual Guide to The Chronicles of Riddick," we get photos of the film's locations and characters with commentary from several of the film's characters explaining their roles in the story. The ten-minute-long and annoying "Toombs' Chase Log" features the voice of Nick Chinlund as bounty hunter Toombs as he rambles on and on about his chase for Riddick. Most disappointingly, a paper-thin ten-minute documentary on the film's effects sequences does nothing to explain how the film's unique look was achieved. Finishing out the disc is a playable level from the Xbox video game The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. Missing from the disc are any of the film's trailers or any documentary on the film itself or the long production history Twohy speaks of on his commentary track. The finished product seems rushed and acts like an advertisement for the film rather than giving it more depth. As Twohy continues to hint during the commentary at yet another Riddick sequel despite this film's lackluster box-office performance, perhaps an even more ultimate edition Riddick box set is in the cards for the future.


Over five minutes of deleted scenes

"Riddick's Worlds": Vin Diesel takes you on a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Riddick sets -- interactive 360° view of eight different sets from the film

"Virtual Guide to The Chronicles of Riddick": An interactive guide that immerses the viewer into the world of The Chronicles of Riddick from the perspectives of the characters

"Toombs' Chase Log": Track the hunt for Riddick from bounty hunter Toombs' perspective and follow the action leading up to the opening scene of the movie

Riddick Insider Facts on Demand: Scene-specific background facts and trivia are displayed onscreen in real time as you watch the movie

Play The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay Xbox game -- Put this DVD into your Xbox console and play the first level of the stunning The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay game

Audio commentary with writer/director David Twohy, and actors Karl Urban and Alexa Davalos

And more