Riddick ★★★½

Rio Diesel.

Great first third and terrible finale, but it's the second half that is probably the most curious in terms of its narrative storytelling. It spends 30 minutes creating and setting up a protagonist, only to completely eschew him into a monster of the shadows. Ignatiy points out, "At one point, a bounty hunter’s flashlight catches him dragging a mangled body back to his lair like fresh prey." While there are certainly films in the horror genre that play that for a twist (High Tension), I can't think of another film that turns its protagonist into a completely unknowable yet dangerous presence within the narrative. It's a rare aspect of cinematic identification that makes this film an above and beyond experience.

Otherwise, awesome combination of CGI/digital backgrounds and a general love for practical storytelling, relying on physical materials to tell its story that makes every little CGI creature have meaning (compare how physical the opening duel with the scorpion monsters feel to anything in the Star Wars prequels). It's too bad about that awful last third that deals too much in imagery instead of reality, in abstraction of characters into archetypes. But a lot here to chew on; bring on more Twohy.