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The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury with World Famous Comics

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Released on June 15, 2004, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (Universal Pictures/Universal Studios Home Video) is an animated story that helps bridges the gap between Pitch Black and this summer's The Chronicles of Riddick theatrical release.

I had a chance to preview The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury DVD and have provided you with some information and a few of my thoughts. I hope you find them useful.


The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury Directed by Peter Chung, the creator of Aeon Flux and the director on The Animatrix's "Matriculated", this anime-style animated story stars the voices of Vin Diesel, Rhiana Griffith and Keith David reprising their roles as Riddick, Jack and Iman from Pitch Black.

In addition, Nick Chinlund who portrays Toombs in The Chronicles of Riddick theatrical release also voices Toombs on this anime feature. Other voice talents include Tress MacNeille as Chillingsworth and Dwight Schultz as the Skiff A.I.

Some tidbits: Dwight Schultz, best known for his role as "Howling Mad" Murdock on The A-Team and Lt. "Reggie" Barclay on Star Trek: Next Generation, also voiced Nonaka in The Animatrix's "Matriculated" short. Tress MacNeille, while known among Matt Groening fans as the voice of Agnes Skinner, Jimbo Jones, and a few others on The Simpsons and Linda (Mom) on Futurama, also voices Charlotte Pickles for Rugrats, on which Peter Chung was the Main Title Animator.

Written by Brett Matthews from a plot by director David Twohy, Dark Fury picks up immediately after the end of Pitch Black with the remaining survivors, Riddick, Jack and Iman, floating through space. That is, until they are intercepted and captured by a ship full of mercenaries lead by Chillingworth. But Chillingworth doesn't capture and return the wanted for their bounties. Matter of fact, she doesn't return them at all...

Riddick Scan

I enjoyed the overall story presented in Dark Fury, which acts well as both a bridge between the two theatrical releases and a stand alone film. I found the concept interesting and the plot engaging. Any of the scenes could have easily dragged or had too much crammed into them. Instead, the scenes are nicely paced, flowing smoothly from one to the next and are balanced well between characters moments and creative action sequences -- most of which would have been too expensive or difficult to execute as live-action.


Where the story falls short for me is in a few character actions by Jack, which fit into the naive-kid-side-kick-trying-too-hard cliché, and the dialog, which has just one too many disposable one-liners. While one-liners are an intrinsic part of the Riddick character and the action-adventure genre, I think pruning them down to only the most clever would work best for this film.


Jack For Dark Fury, Peter Chung utilizes animation techniques that involve hand-drawn animation and animation that is computer rendered or painted with most of the production composited digitally. The results are a real treat. While never actually breaking new ground or showing something never seen before, the animation is still compelling and it is obvious that the animation team, Korean studio Sunwoo Entertainment, and Peter Chung are rising through the ranks in the world of animation.

If you already follow Peter Chung, I think this is where your mileage could vary the most. With the exception of Rugrats, Peter Chung's work has always been abstract and philosophical, and, in the case Aeon Flux, non-linear. However, with an understanding that Dark Fury is more accessible than his former animated projects, you can, like me, still find the viewing an enjoyable experience.

In addition to the anime film, the DVD includes four extras. From Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick: Bridging the Gap is a featurette with Vin Diesel and David Twohy discussing the evolution of the Riddick universe. Animatic to Animation is the entire film animated with the animatics and storyboards. I found this featurette an insightful look into the creation process. Into the Light features cast and crew interviews and on-set footage for The Chronicles of Riddick. The last featurette, The Mind of an Animator, interviews Peter Chung and looks into the animation studio's process of creating an animated project. This is my favorite of the DVD extras.

Dark Fury, with a running time of 35 minutes, is presented in Widescreen (1.85:1), the extras are shown in Full Screen (4x3), the sound is Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound and the DVD gives you the option of Spanish or French subtitles.

If you're an animation fan, Dark Fury's creative fight sequences and cool character designs are worthy additions to your library. If you're a Riddick fan, it's a definite must-have as it helps fills out the Riddick universe while filling in the Riddick character.

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