Sunday, February 19, 2023

"Pitch Black" (2000) and its Post-Release Persona

At left, the original poster for "Pitch Black". At right, the retrofitted key art which now includes the star's name, and the 'Chronicles of Riddick' tag to indicate it's part of a film saga. A bit of a difference.

"Pitch Black" (2000) is a great movie.

The film is an ensemble piece that has beautiful design, genuinely shocking moments, and authentic characters. It's a surprisingly grown-up science fiction film.

I think it also suffers from the fact that one of the ensemble became an international star who headlined the (ugh) sequels, which--I think--puts off folks from seeing the original for the first time. Rather than the film positioned as a gorgeous one-off ensemble piece, it's been unfairly retrofitted as "the first film in the superstar's saga", which isn't fair to the movie. Part of the mystery of the first film is genuine uncertainty of alliances or survival.

Anyway, we joke a lot about 'sequels ruining the original', but in this case I'm kinda on board with it because the mere existence of the sequels reshapes how potential audiences view the first one. New viewers push PLAY are 'waiting for the superstar' to do their thing.

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