Thursday, July 11, 2013

RR Dark Fury

Riddick is back!

This time, animated!

Don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what's in the dark of these reviews:

Name: The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury
Created by Peter Chung
Original run 2004
Genre Science-fiction animated short

With the release of Chronicles of Riddick coming up (back then), Vin Diesel and David Twohy wanted to explore their little corner of science-fiction universe and even attempt to approach different genres.

From this idea came out such things like the Riddick videogame, Butcher Bay.

But also this following animated short. Not much is known about it, like if it was originally meant as a bonus to CoR or even for a theatrical release around the film. It simply came out on DVD by itself.

Which is slightly strange by itself. You better be familiar with the universe of Riddick, because it doesn't spend much time establishing the (remaining) characters.

And it's only about ~35 minutes long.

Its plot was meant to bridge the gab between Pitch Black and Chronicles.

The story takes place shortly after Pitch Black.

We're back with our surviving characters, escaped convict Richard B. Riddick with Jack and Imam.

A gigantic spaceship appears from nowhere, the Kublai Khan, and capture the little escape pod. They figure it's actually a ship carrying some mercenaries.

After a spectacular opening fight, our anti-heroes are captured by the crew.

There, Riddick meets Antonia Chillingsworth. A very strange woman who appears to be fascinated by death and killers. She wishes to add Riddick to her collection of living art, murderers put in cryo stasis decorating her chambers.

By using Riddick's attachment to Jack, Chillingsworth is able to force him into a fight with monsterous creatures.

In the dark, Riddick gets the advantage and escapes with Imam and Jack.

Chillingsworth sends in a bounty hunter, Toombs, after Riddick. She quickly dispatches several other mercs from her private collection.

All hell breaks loose.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury - as it is officially titled - was directed by the animator/director behind Æon Flux, Peter Chung. He also directed the Animatrix short episode "Matriculated" and the Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider Animated Series.

This short isn't properly a film per say, it almost looks like a pilot for a Riddick animated series.

Dark Fury was scripted by Towey, the actual story was then written by Brett Matthews (Firefly).

These kind of animated tie-ins were not totally uncommon at the time, there also was that sort of similar Van Helsing animated film and an animated Highlander as well later on. Both by different studios though.

Dark Fury ties into Pitch Black directly. It a fun coherent little story was doesn't stand alone much but expands nicely into the big screen ventures.

It does lead into Chronicles and serves to send the different characters into their future situations. Toombs on Riddick's pursuit and Jack going into a darker path for example.

The environments are rendered in stunning 3D while the characters are 2-dimensional. The result looks fantastic, very AEon Flux.

The voice acting is really good, bringing the cast of the film back such as bringing Keith David back as Imam and Rhianna Griffith Pitch Black's Jack as well (she was sadly replaced in Chronicles by the studio, so it's nice to have her here). Famous voice actress Tress MacNeille takes on this new villainess Chillingsworth.

Overall, it's a great little animated short feature. Missing it cause much of a problem but it's a great addition nonetheless.

It's actually nice how the plot bridge both different films and tells us what happened in between, only alluded in Chronicles.

Riddick works great in animated form. Dark Fury is a fun interesting look at Riddick's world beyond what you see on the big screen. The series actually received a great transition from live action to cartoon. 

It also features the introduction of future important elements such as Toombs. 

The "film" contains some great action scenes and gorgeous animation.

There are some extras on the DVD worth a look, specially if you dig animation or the work of Peter Chung. They tried to make up for the short length of Dark Fury, but it really feels like this should have been put as a bonus on one of the other films' discs.

If you find it pretty cheap, it's really worth a look.

I give it:
2 / 3 UFOs!

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