The DVD has a by the numbers "making of" featurette. There is an excellent commentary track with Twohy, Diesel, actor Cole Hauser, producer Tom Engelman, and VFX supervisor Peter Chiang. It also includes a rather freaky Raveworld event deadicated to the film and its theatrical trailer. Personally, I would recommend the unrated film over its rated counterpart, because I happen to like the "new" scenes. **** Stars
A passenger spacecraft ends up crashing on a desolate planet. The only survivor from the crew co-pilot Carylon Fry (Radha Mitchell) takes command and directs her surviving passengers (including Claudia Black from "Farscape") to find food and water. While there appears to be no indigeous life forms, a human survey team did briefly occupy the planet. Curiously, there's no indication as to where they went or why they left much of their material behind.
Also on the flight is a what appears to be an interstellar police officer (Cole Hauser) escorting a convicted criminal by the name of Riddick (Diesel). Riddick has the unique ability to see better in the dark than the light. While he's no hero, he does make suggestions to the survivors to help their chances for survival. Unfortunately, they're soon to discover that some life form forced the survey team to consider leaving once night arrives.
A suspenseful "B" movie premise that works primarily due to Twohy's sharp, taunt direction and crisp dialogue, "Pitch Black" immediately graps your attention with its inventive visuals and intense performances from the superb Mitchell, Deisel, Hauser and Black. Actally, the entire cast gives strong performances throughout the film and Twohy throws in plenty of unexpected twists and turns to keep the audience on the edge of its seat.
This "new" unrated director's edition was available previously on DVD a couple of years ago. It appears that the transfer here is the same one as before and all the extras are the same with the exception of those created for the sequel "The Chronicles of Riddick". We get a brief introduction by director/screenwriter Twohy that focuses on the sequel and a glimpse at the making of the video game. If you're fan of the original film, be aware that a couple of extra bells and whistles were added to this two disc edition to entice fans of the new Riddick movie and the original audience for "Pitch Black". Unless you want the meager extras about the sequel (some of which will probably be available when the sequel hits DVD anyway), I'd suggest holding on to your money.
The packaging has been revamped to capitalize on the sequel as well with an emphasis more on Riddick than before. "Pitch Black" is a terrific thriller (as is the unexpected minor classic "Below" and "The Arrival" also by Twohy). If you don't have this on DVD yet, by all means purchase it. If you have it already, don't feel the need to upgrade and become a victim of the LOTR double-dip (despite what one reviewer said, New Line has always released the expanded edition six months after the original LOTR films on DVD thus suckering fans into purchasing product twice).