Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

Official HTF HD Quick Look: Pitch Black


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,098 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted July 27 2006 - 02:26 PM

http://www.hometheat...overs/72665.jpg">






Title: The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black
Rated: Unrated Director’s Cut
Screen format: Widescreen 1080p/480i/480p 2.35:1
Studio: Universal Pictures
Year first released: 200
Previous DVD releases: Multiple prior Rated R and Unrated releases
Director: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Raoha Mitchell, Cole Hauser and Keith David
Sound Formats: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and DD 2.0
Length: 1 Hour, 52 Minutes
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French



Pitch Black is the inaugural film in the Chronicles of Riddick, which now spans two feature films, an animated direct to DVD, and a videogame. Richard B. Riddick is the series’ antihero protagonist, one mean motor scooter who makes no bones about his violent past or his commitment to only himself. Besides his brawn, stealth, fighting ability and capability to break out of just about any prison, Riddick has one other handy trick, surgical implants allow him to see in the dark. Which is handy, since Pitch Black finds Riddick stranded on a planet destined to be in the dark for a while. And on this planet, baaaad things come out at night. In Pitch Black, it’s a race to get airborne again before it’s too late, and - even if he makes it - Riddick still has the rest of the cast and crew to deal with or its back to the slammer he goes.

I had originally seen Pitch Black on standard def cable, and not been too impressed with the visuals, but had liked the story. While it was released on DVD, I never picked it up but was suitably impressed with the audio and video of the sequel (which is awkwardly named The Chronicles of Riddick with no subtitle) on DVD and on HD Cable. Seeing this movie again, in high def, I flip flop slightly on those initial thoughts.

The visuals in standard def actually made me like this movie less than it deserved on the first go around. In standard def (and in chopped full screen!) the visuals seemed to be a bit low budget, and while the "high contrast look" worked, it just looked like it was done cheaply. In high definition the effects are truly breathtaking, showing no sign that this feature was budget constrained. The signature high contrast in the stark sunlit sand really gives it a sharp look and shows off that the artistic range that was pushed by both the director’s and cinematographer’s vision. The action sequences in the dark planet surface and the deep space vehicle shots (especially the crash!) give a nice counterpoint to the burning sun shots. The bottom line is that this is a really gorgeous looking film.

On the audio side of the house, while the sound track is not quite as startling as some other recent action films, it holds its own. Particularly in the action sequences, we’ve got some real nice deep rumbles and while there isn’t a constant use of a full sound stage, there is effective use of all 6 channels for pan effects when appropriate. Of course, Diesel's signature growls and one-liners come through in perfect clarity.

Unfortunately, the surprise twists that seemed clever on first viewing (if a bit cliché) don’t hold up so well, and when coincidence upon coincidence pile up, the only solution is to remind yourself to not ask too many questions or take it too seriously. As those who jeered my review of Doom will attest, I've got a higher tolerance for suspension of disbelief than many. If you can get past the leaps of logic, Pitch Black is an enjoyable popcorn flick in the tradition of Aliens, with some derivative plot points but style to burn.

For this Quick Look I haven’t had a chance to go through any of the extras, but they seem to be near identical to the previously released Unrated DVD version but fit into the standard HDDVD “Always Available” menu system. So, if you’ve seen them there you won’t get any new surprises. One strange thing to note is that while the other studios have chosen to give a nice splash screen that uses artwork for the film in these menus, Universal has chosen to use an animated Universal Logo. More evidence that despite the delays getting HD DVD and Bluray to market that there was a lot of rushing going on.

This HD-DVD release is probably one of the best choices Universal could have selected, its not their most high profile release but it has great sound and video quality, plus they have a history of adding new content to it already, and the consumer is expecting a bigger and better release down the road as the tech matures. Grab Pitch Black to show off the capability of HD-DVD, but don’t be shocked if there is another more feature packed release down the road, probably in time to coincide with the inevitable Chronicles of Riddick 3.

I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#2 of 11 OFFLINE   William Goodspeed

William Goodspeed

    Agent



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 22 2006

Posted July 27 2006 - 07:59 PM

Nice review Posted Image This is on my list.

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Elayna Rainwater

Elayna Rainwater

    Auditioning



  • 14 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 27 2006

Posted July 28 2006 - 04:29 AM

Yes, good review. My favorite of Vin's.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   dan fritzen

dan fritzen

    Second Unit



  • 304 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 19 2001

Posted July 31 2006 - 04:58 AM

Does this have a standard DVD side, if not what is meant by "Screen format: Widescreen 1080p/480i/480p"
"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you enjoy the show?"

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   JediFonger

JediFonger

    Producer



  • 3,942 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 02 2006

Posted July 31 2006 - 07:10 AM

i think future SE's will have either DTS-HD master or TrueHD =). holding out.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Phil Menard

Phil Menard

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 52 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 16 2004

Posted July 31 2006 - 09:26 AM

Dan,

"...what is meant by "Screen format: Widescreen 1080p/480i/480p""

PITCH BLACK is not a hybrid dvd. All this means is that some special features maybe/are in 480i/480p.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,098 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted July 31 2006 - 01:58 PM

My understanding is that there is both a 1080p HD video track and a 480i/p video track and not a simple conversion by the player. If that is incorrect then their packaging is very confusing. Will look for more info.

Sam

I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

Sean Bryan

    Screenwriter



  • 2,735 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969
  • Real Name:Sean

Posted August 01 2006 - 04:43 AM

Quote:
My understanding is that there is both a 1080p HD video track and a 480i/p video track and not a simple conversion by the player. If that is incorrect then their packaging is very confusing. Will look for more info.

No. You must have read the info on the back incorrectly.

Look at the chart on the back. The Main feature's video is "1080p High-Definition Widescreen 2.40:1". The Special features are "480i/p Standard Definition".

A 480i/p version of the movie is NOT a "special feature". That would make zero sense (negative sense actually), unless the disc was a hybrid HD DVD/DVD disc. It is the special features that are 480i/p.

I can see how the layout of this info could be initially confusing if you just quickly glance at it. But if you look at how they are trying to lay out the info, it all makes logical sense.

Look at "main feature" and read down. The video is 1080, the audio is DD+, the subtitles are english, spanish, and french. Then look at "special features" and read down. The video is 480, the audio is DD 2.0, and there are no subtitles.
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,098 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted August 01 2006 - 10:18 AM

That makes more sense.

Sam

I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#10 of 11 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor



  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted August 24 2006 - 01:00 AM

It's confused everyone. Even Bill at the digitalbits was confused about the 1080/480 "special feature" labeling on the packaging. Sean is correct.

Sam, great review. BTW, what resolution display do you have? (720 or 1080) Also wondering... did you notice any instances of edge-ringing? I haven't seen this yet on HD DVD (it's on my list) but a friend with the title told me he noticed what looked like some minor edge-enhancement to his eyes. I'm wondering if you saw anything like that in any scenes?
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,098 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted August 24 2006 - 10:42 AM

I have a 720P Panasonic AE900U, and I have the HDA1 outputting 1080i and letting the projector do the scaling, which most people seem to think looks the best and I tend to agree.

I have not seen any edge enhancement on this disk at all. What scenes was he specifically thinking of, I can pull it up and look.

Sam

I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt