Everyone Has Reversals

Story Lessons, Big and Small (Warning: Spoilers!)

August 04, 2005

Chosen One Syndrome

Just saw The Chronicles of Riddick. Ahem. Uh... where to begin? I guess I should say right up front that I think Pitch Black is a hell of a movie, and that I find the Riddick character genuinely interesting.

And that's exactly where Chronicles goes wrong for me. The Riddick of Pitch Black was clearly a bad dude. Yes, he saves a few folks along the way, but it's mainly out of self-interest. And the film lets him be bad because, well, he's not the protagonist of the film. It's okay that he's bad. It's more fun that he's selfish, and cold, and mean. Fun, get it? Now, why turn this character into a protagonist when he's clearly not going to have an arc, or any profound growth? It'd be like making Hannibal Lecter the hero of his own movie... oh, wait...

A stronger option might have been to allow Kyra to drive the action, as she searches for Riddick, and he tries not to be found. You know, one of those "I need you to help me"/"I'm out of the helping business" kind of deals. Yes, like Casablanca. Only with Vin Diesel.

Anyway. So, fine. Riddick's the hero of this second installment. Why, oh why, did they insist on making him a "chosen one" character? I love a reluctant hero as much as anyone... but what works in archetypal stories like The Matrix is the fact that the character is ordinary and becomes extraordinary-- and it's trial by fire. Riddick is anything but ordinary. He's already a kind of superhero, right? The fun of it being, he's just not all that altruistic. Chronicles tries to place a messiah-like role on Riddick, and it doesn't fit. It always seemed to me that the point of Riddick was that he's something society has created... he's the bad-ish product of badness in the world. Now he's just trying to get along like everybody else.

Not every hero needs to be Special. Capice?


Anonymous jf said...


5:35 p.m.  
Anonymous m said...

But, wouldn't it be great if there was a Special superhero?

5:57 p.m.  
Blogger Jennica said...

We ain't been teachin' Vin Diesel... Vin Diesel's been teachin' us?

10:02 p.m.  

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