Review: Pitch Black UHD Special Edition Blu-ray
UHD 4K Blu-ray: Pitch Black (2000)
However, when you factor in that one of the survivors of the “Hunter-Gratzner” transport ship is Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel); a violent escapee convict who has been captured by bounty hunter William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), who also survived the crash, then everyone’s day just got that little bit worse.
Then add the facts that the planets indigenous creatures are flying flesh eating monsters who only come out at night and a month long solar eclipse is about to happen, it seems as those who didn’t survive the crash just might have got the better deal.
Thankfully Riddick has had his eyes “shined” while incarcerated in a dark and violent prison, and his ability to see in the dark is the only hope the remaining survivors have of possibly getting off the planet to safety.
Released a year before Vin Diesel shot into public consciousness as Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious franchise, Pitch Black plays perfectly into his strengths of being a quietly intimidating character onscreen, who may also have more layers to him than just being a badass.
The surrounding characters may well be ones we are all familiar with: “the wiseguy”,the “scared one”, the obligatory child, but thankfully there is a strong female character in Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell); the spaceships pilot and who assumes command after the death of the captain in the crash.
The initial period after the crash has everyone sounding each other out and tentative alliances are formed, but when it becomes apparent that they are surrounded by vicious flying creatures who will have the run of the planet for a month when darkness falls, those alliances become ever more fragile and the tension ramps up as the daylight slowly fades, leaving the final part of the narrative playing out in darkness with the survivors using every bit of light they can find to try and stay safe.
Pitch Black is Arrow Films debut UK 4k release and is a great example of how this format can breathe new life into a movie.
Presented in a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1, I lost count of the amount of times I saw things that I’d never seen in previous viewings where details were lost in a dark and muddy picture.
It’s not just in the night scenes either where this disc “shines” (pun fully intended), as director David Twohy gave the daytime scenes a stylised look which pop with a fuller colour palette in this release, and with beads of sweat and Riddicks “shine’ all the more visible in a fantastic picture that keeps the film grain and ups the detail.
The sound mix (while not being Dolby Atmos) is a great DTS-HD 5:1 mix with some low end subwoofer workouts which will have you holding on tight as the action ramps up.
Arrow Films always deliver great special features and this is no exception, giving 2 versions of the movie, 2 commentary tracks, interviews, behind the scenes footage and much more.
If this is any indication of Arrow’s future in the 4k market, then it is a very bright one indeed.
ULTRA HD 4K BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- Brand new 4K restoration by Arrow Films of the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts of the film, approved by director David Twohy
- 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
- Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround on both cuts
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
- Archive commentary with director David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser
- Archive commentary with director David Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
- Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black, a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer David Twohy
- Black Box: Jackie’s Journey, a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith
- Black Box: Shazza’s Last Stand, a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black
- Black Box: Bleach Bypassed, a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby
- Black Box: Cryo-Locked, a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang
- Black Box: Primal Sounds, a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell
- The Making of Pitch Black, a short behind-the-scenes featurette
- Pitch Black Raw, a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage
- Additional behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film
- 2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, A View Into The Dark, and Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia
- Johns’ Chase Log, a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character’s hunt for Riddick
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (in 16:9 widescreen with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio), an animated short film directed by Peter Chung that acts as a bridgepoint between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Vin Diesel, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith reprising their roles
- Dark Fury bonus features including Bridging The Gap, Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator, A View Into The Light, and a “pre-animation” version of the film
- Slam City, a motion comic from the film’s official website
- Into Pitch Black, a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film
- Raveworld: Pitch Black Event, footage of a dance music event held to promote the film
- Theatrical trailers, plus trailers for the two sequels and video game
- Image galleries
- Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned “night” and “day” artwork by Luke Preece
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Simon Ward on the film’s creature designs (including a new interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopolous), original production notes and information from the film’s official website, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog magazine
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via fetch Publicity.