One of the things I like to do on my days off from work is to pop in a movie that I haven’t watched in a while and have it going in the background as I go about chores, taking care of the little one, and making sure that the dogs don’t burn down the house. Past weeks have included cinematic gems such as Atlantis, Big Trouble in Little China (THE greatest b-movie ever made!), and Demolition Man– I’m all kinds of high-brow, yo. Anywho, as I was browsing my movie collection recently, I came across two movies that I’ve come to appreciate quite a bit, and that I find myself rewatching from time to time- The Fifth Element, and The Chronicles of Riddick.
Hey, stay with me. I see you trying to press the ‘Back’ button.
Now on the surface, you’d probably think that it’s because both are sci-fi flicks right up my geeky alley. Yeah, maybe that’s part of it, but the thing I’ve always liked about both movies has been the way each one managed to craft a living, breathing and believable (at least in the realm of science fiction) world. That goes a long way in anything that’s got some sort of fantastical setting. I’ve seen too many movies that, regardless of the circumstances, never felt real. Take Dungeons & Dragons, for example. On paper, that should have been an easy movie to nail. I couldn’t begin to tell you how much lore and history that they could have pulled from to make a movie work. Despite all of this, D&D really just felt like a bunch of dudes hanging around the local Renn Fest. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it never really drew me in.
Of course there are a boatload of other problems to consider with D&D, including (but not limited to) a wonky script, little attention paid to the source material (guards using Beholders as sentries? Riiiight…), and Marlon Waynes screaming like a freshly-snipped eunuch. But I digress.
Anywho, Chronicles of Riddick had some source material to pull from, that of course being Pitch Black. But those movies were two totally different beasts all together. Despite this, the world crafted in Chronicles felt very much like a part of the mythos of Pitch Black. Now I admit I’m not totally a fan of the whole Necromonger thing, but the world at least felt real. Same thing goes for The Fifth Element. It really was about the little things, and after watching the movie you could notice fashion trends of the future, as well as futuristic pop culture. Things that seem familiar to us today, but at the same time are so out there that and unique that it totally fits into the setting. I mean, everyone thinks that Ruby Rhod was totally out there as a character. But isn’t he just a futuristic version of Lady Gaga? I’m just sayin’ =)