Tag Archive: H.R. Giger


riddick-blu-ray-box-art

Review by C.J. Bunce

Many times when a movie is heavy with CGI and matte paintings, the overall look can suffer.  Not so with Riddick, coming to Blu-ray and DVD on January 14.  In his third live-action performance as Riddick, Vin Diesel finds his character marooned on an unnamed desert planet in its own primitive, almost Jurassic stage.  The first half of the film showcases the night-visioned anti-hero in an almost Conan the Barbarian-like quest for survival in a very Frank Frazetta-inspired fantasy world setting.  It’s a setting that really pops in the new hi-definition Blu-ray format.  We’ve previewed the Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios, including its extra features.

Riddick manages to surpass the epic second franchise entry Chronicles of Riddick with its more basic and tightly-written survival story.  We get a cameo from Karl Urban’s Vaako, including some of those great Necromonger soldiers and futuristic costumes familiar to fans of the series.  But this Riddick has more of the feel of the first entry into this world, Pitch Black, also written and directed by David Twohy.  Because Twohy has maintained control over the universe and its characters, the three films (plus the early animated entry, Dark Fury) all make for a cohesive and well-designed saga.  Twohy discusses his take on the character at length in the special feature “The Twohy Touch.”

Riddick and storm

Along with the stunning Monument Valley on Mars sets is some excellent CGI and motion capture creature work, including vicious mud-demons which take Riddick down a Ridley Scott-esque path toward films end, and some dog-like jackal beasts.  Riddick ends up raising one of these dogs as he finds his way through challenges to grasslands and an abandoned science station, where much of the remaining action takes place.  He sets off an S.O.S. beacon which brings two opposing groups of bounty hunter mercenaries, one to get the bounty for his head in a box, the other a military based group with a more personal agenda.  Their two ships become Riddick’s target for a plan to leave the planet.  His shadow ninja abilities allow him to drop in on these mercs, and create his own form of psychological war.  And his early encounter with the mud-demons plays into the coming rainstorm and his face-off with the mercs.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Ridley Scott suggests a “sequel to the prequel” is a possibility in the feature material to the October 9, 2012 release of his is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-prequel to Alien blockbuster Prometheus on Blu-Ray, 3D, and DVD.  The trailer to the video release gets it just right–there are so many unanswered questions left in this summer’s big-budget blockbuster, sci-fi release that you may think you’re watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.  What was this Dr. Manhattan-looking being in the distant past and in our distant future eating that dissolved him into the ocean?  How does that being relate to the rather squiggly creature that emerged in one of the movie’s key scenes?  Why didn’t Scott just come out and call this a prequel?  Surprise, people!  It’s a prequel!  It’s actually really good at being a prequel, because unlike other prequel movies, it doesn’t re-hash every bit of the original film or films.

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Along with the recent history of great (Star Wars) and not so great (Star Trek) Vault compilations to hit the shelves is the new Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film by Ian Nathan.  I checked this out at the bookstore today and found it to be an impressive collection of photos and a typical sampling of reproduced ephemera from Ridley Scott’s science fiction and horror classic.  Compared to other Vault offerings this one falls in the middle.

The book includes a compilation of previously released information, available in the out of print Book of Alien by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross, Giger’s Alien by H.R. Giger, and in the additional materials included with the Alien DVD boxed set.  If you haven’t seen those, this will be new to you.  The book is slipcased, and smaller than prior Vaults, which are typically unwieldy in their weight and wide “landscape” style design, so small is good here.  The illustrations are interesting for the Alien fan who has done no prior reading on the subject–behind the scenes views of the set design, particularly of the Nostromo rooms and corridors, could cause you to spend a good deal of time gawking at this book.  It features director Ridley Scott’s annotated storyboards, Polaroids and script excerpts, costume designs, sketches and blueprints of the Nostromo, photos of cast and crew, and images of H.R. Giger’s concept artwork.  The film itself not for the squeamish, expect to find several special effects images of chest bursts, the alien monster itself and plenty of alien goo.

As with each new addition in the Vault series, the Alien version includes its own swag, this time ten inserts, tucked into vellum envelopes.  As with the Star Trek Vault, the inserts are a bit lackluster, mainly in scale, and any time items are folded they lose a bit of any allure they might have had.  The inserts include:

  • storyboard reprints (quad folded)
  • Nostromo blueprints (quad folded) and additional blueprint
  • two small Giger concept artwork prints
  • Nostromo ship sticker
  • copy of annotated script page with continuity Polaroid images on reverse
  • 2 mini marketing posters

The closest book this resembles is the Art of Star Trek, and with that comparison this must be a decent assemblage of behind the scenes data.  With little in print currently available to Alien fans, this book is a long time coming.  Although this book has vastly less material to assemble, it is arranged similarly to the Art of Star Trek and has a broad view of the movie production process, from concept to design to costume creatios and special effects.  At 170 pages and each of those pages full of photos, there is not a lot of content by way of text here, but combined with the boxed Alien DVD set this should give the uber-Alien fan who has yet to delve into “the making of” view of the film something to be happy about.

C.J. Bunce

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