Archive for March, 2012

Chronicles of Riddick: ‘You Keep What You Kill’

March 20, 2012 | Writing

Greetings Vin Diesel, Riddick, fans. I got caught up in NCAA, March Madness. Watched Norfolk State do some damage. VCU did well and maybe saying goodbye to their awesome coach, Shaka Smart, if University of Illinois, Champaign have their way.

But now back to The Chronicles of Riddick and the end of his hero’s journey. Riddick arrives on Cremetoria, much to the displeasure of the guards. The mercs don’t trust the guards and thus Riddick has the perfect opportunity to see them turn on each other. Riddick’s plan is to rescue Jack and escape. Campbell writes the hero enters a Special World “a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials.” That’s Cremetoria alright. He’s been in a lot of prisons and escaped from each of them, but this world is dangerous.

Which leads to Stage Seven: Approach to the Inmost Cave. Two places where Stage Seven occurs in The Chronicles of Riddick, Cremetoria and Helion Prime. Campbell writes the hero will encounter supreme wonder and terror. First Cremetoria’s prison is underground since the surface is close to a thousand degrees. Riddick is attacked by inmates when he first arrives, he defeats each except one. Jack saves him. She’s pretty lethal with a long, heavy iron chain. When Riddick follows her, their reunion is anything but sweet. Jack, the actress Alexa Davalos (soon to be seen in Wrath of The Titans), openly challenges Riddick. They trade dialogue from Pitch Black.

Jack/Kyra: “How do I get eyes like that?”
Riddick: “First you’ve got to kill someone.”
Jack/Kyra: “Did that, couldn’t find anyone for twenty menthol cools.”

At this point Riddick hoists her up against the bars. And she asks: “What are you going to do? Go for the sweet spot?” She slashes Riddick’s cheek and tells him her name is Kyra now, Jack couldn’t cut it and she’s a new kind of animal. Later Kyra is surrounded by guards and almost killed. Riddick comes to her rescue and kills one of the guard with his tea cup. The other guards flee. Kyra then fills Riddick in on how she left Helion Prime looking for him, signed up with mercs, was slaved out and sentenced to Cremetoria. Riddick is furious. He tried to protect her and she signed up with same ‘fake badges’ he’s been running from. After a gun battle between the guards and the mercs, Riddick seizes the opportunity to plan an escape. Campbell writes that this is a time for information gathering or getting ready for an ordeal. He says ‘gunfighters check their weapons’, Riddick tells the inmates he plans on outrunning the fire inferno rolling across the surface of the planet. ‘Don’t step up if you can’t keep up’, he informs them. The stakes are higher, but Kyra will follow Riddick so they along with four other inmates leave. As they race across the ground, the guards who are traveling underground toward the hanger where the ship is docked, take shots at them. One inmate is killed. They have to climb a mountain as the fire inferno bears down on them. Kyra is stranded and she pleads for Riddick to save her. He douses himself with water, swings out and reaches her just in time. Another inmate dies.

As they reach the hanger, Riddick senses the Necromongers have arrived. The hanger door opens, the guards meet the Necromongers and a battle between them distracts them from Riddick. Riddick, Kryra and the remainig two inmates fight a bloody battle. Riddick is shot by Vaako and left for dead. In the Director’s cut, as Riddick is about to be shot by Vaako, a Furyan warrior woman reappears and tells him he must avenge his people but first it’s going to hurt. She holds out her hand which appears to be burning and imprints a glowing hand on Riddick’s chest. Kyra has no choice but to escape with the Necromongers.

Stage Eight: The Ordeal deals with death and rebirth. “Heroes must die so that they can be reborn.” Riddick is left for dead, but he’s not alone. The Purifier remained behind. He pulls Riddick to safety and has the knife Riddick pulled from the back of the Necromonger that killed Imam. When Riddick comes to he knows Kyra has left the planet. The Purifier informs Riddick that The Lord Marshal wanted to strike a deal. If Riddick stays away from him, he’ll leave him alone. The Purifies reveals that he’s a Furyan. ‘We all began as something else.’ He wants Riddick to return to Helion Prime and defeat The Lord Marshal. The Purifier walks out into the blazing inferno to atone for all the evil deeds he’s done ‘in the name of a religion not even his own’ and burns up.

In Stage Eight, Campbell says the hero witnesses death. Riddick picks up the knife determined to return to Helion Prime. The villain also dies. Riddick returns to Helion Prime disguised as a Necromonger. Dame and Lord Vaako are surprised and frightened. Lord Vaako reported Riddick dead and was promoted. Whoops, a slight hitch in Dame Vaako’s plan. But hey she’s resourceful woman. She suggests they give Riddick a chance to kill The Lord Marshall. Her reasoning: The Lord Marshall is weak and should be eliminated. She adds that this should be done for the Necromonger faith.

Riddick attacks The Lord Marshall and discovers he’s turned Kyra into a Necromonger. The Lord Marshall offers Riddick a new life with Kyra. Riddick refuses, throws the knife and for the first time in a long time, The Lord Marshall bleeds. A fight to the death between them leaves Riddick at the mercy of The Lord Marshall until Kyra stabs him in the back. Wounded but still strong, The Lord Marshall throws Kyra against a spear. Vaako jumps down, ready to kill The Lord Marshall, who shifts out of Vaako’s reach, but materializes right in front of Riddick who stabs him in the head with the knife.

Riddick holds a dying Kyra, the last person who has sacrificed her life for him. As he sits on the throne he is surrounded by Vaako and the other Necromongers. He looks up expecting to die. Instead Vaako says: “You keep what you kill.” Everyone kneels. Riddick is now the Necromongers leader. Stage Nine of the hero’s journey is the hero reaping his reward. Riddick didn’t look too happy about his reward. Apparently we’ll have to wait for the sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick Dark Fury which is a working title, to see what Riddick faces.

There are three more stages in the hero’s journey according to Campbell. Stage Nine, Reward. The hero has overcome the Ordeal and for a moment at least savors victory. For Riddick he doesn’t have this opportunity, at least in this movie. Campbell writes that once the hero survives the Ordeal he is recognized as different, ‘part of a select few who have outwitted death.’ And Riddick has done this. So the question is: Now what?

Stage Ten: The Road Back. The hero has to decide whether to remain in the Special World or return to the Ordinary World. The movie ends on this question. What is he going to do with all these Necromongers?

Stage Eleven: The Resurrection. The hero is suppose to change. Has Riddick changed? Stay tune to the third movie.

Stage Twelve: Return with the Elixir. Campbell writes now that the hero has survived all the ordeals, the deaths of those he trusted and loved, they either return home or continue the journey. They move forward believing they are beginning a new life. So at the end of Chronicles of Riddick yes he’s about to begin a new life. Again stay tuned for what that new life will be.

Any dialogue any one want to share? Or comments? Cause this has been fun and next month I’ll pick another movie. Any suggestions?

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Chronicles of Riddick: Is He A Hero Or Not?

March 15, 2012 | Writing

Christopher Vogler writes “…an Anti-Hero is not the opposite of a Hero, but a specialized kind of Hero, one who may be an outlaw or a villain from the point of view of society, but with whom the audience is basically in sympathy. We identify with these outsiders because we have all felt like outsiders at one time or another.” Richard Riddick definitely fits this description. He’s a murderer, an escaped convict, he’s dangerous, and really, really hot. As I wrote in a response, Riddick is someone you don’t want to run into in a dark and cold alley late at night, or even during the day, but if you’re going to walk down a dark and cold alley late at night he’s the man you want right by your side or leading the way. However you don’t plan on turning your back on him. Even the Elemental Aereon says in her voice over at the beginning of the movie, evil needs to be fought by another type of evil. And Riddick is the evil this world needs to save itself. Convincing Riddick that he’s the one to fight The Lord Marshal is a problem My favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart is the perfect anti-hero. The Big Sleep, Casablanca, and The Maltese Falcon, (yeah I can quote the dialogue from all three).

Vogler cites two types of anti-hero: the first behaves in a regular way but has a wounded or cynical quality and the second is not admirable or likeable. Riddick is a wounded anti-hero, he gets our sympathy and our lust, but to society he’s an outcast. Vogler writes they are rebels, like James Dean or Marlon Brando (another lust inspiring male).

Okay so now back to The Chronicles of Riddick, his hero’s journey, and snappy dialogue. The Fourth Stage of the Hero’s journey is the introduction of the Mentor. I don’t consider Aereon as Riddick’s mentor. I think Imam serves this purpose. Riddick showed ‘trust’ to this one man and when he believes Imam has betrayed his trust he goes looking for him. In Pitch Black Imam at one point asks Riddick if he believes in God. Riddick says he does, just not the way Imam does. Vogler writes that sometime the Mentor must give the hero a push to get him started. Well I think Imam’s death is a hard push. While Riddick is trying to save Imam and his family, Imam sacrifices his life to save them. Riddick finds Imam’s dead body and remembers that the Necromonger who kills Imam has a knife in his back. Those Necromongers are crazy.

Imam’s death pushes Riddick into Stage Five of the hero’s journey, crossing the first threshold. “A villain may kill, harm, threaten, or kidnap someone close to the hero, sweeping aside all hesitation”. Riddick is about to enter the new world, the world of the Necromongers.

In a great hall the inhabitants of Helion Prime have been gathered to meet The Lord Marshal, actor Colm Feore, and The Purifier, Linus Roache, who went on to play DA Cutter on Law and Order. The Purifier says: “We all began as something else.” The Lord Marshall tells them this is their last chance and when one of the leaders challenges him, The Lord Marshall rips out his soul. Everyone bows and the camera focuses on Riddick who refuses to bow.
Anybody got any dialogue?

Once Riddick dispatches the Necromonger, who killed Imam, and keeps the knife, ( a very important tool) he is taken to The Lord Marshall’s interrogation cell by Dame Vaako, the actress Thandie Newton. She reminds me of Lady Macbeth, willing to do whatever is necessary to put her husband, Lord Vaako, Karl Urban on the throne. The Purifier accompanies them. It’s a trap, but now Riddick has entered the Special World of the Necromongers and he sees how Necromongers are created. Of course Dame Vaako leads him into a trap and The Lord Marshal discovers that Riddick is one of his most feared enemies, a Furyan. The Lord Marshall gives orders to kill Riddick, but The Purifier releases Riddick so he escapes. As he’s chased, guess who shows up? Toombs. Toombs shoots down a ship chasing Riddick and recaptures his prisoner.

Riddick: ‘A five man crew this time?’

Vogler’s Stage Six: Tests, Allies, Enemies. Riddick has passed the first test. Now his enemy Toombs rescues him and in some sense becomes his ally by taking him off Helion Prime. What they don’t realize is they are Riddick’s pawns. The dialogue on Toombs ship is pretty good. Riddick persuades Toombs to take him to Crematoria where Jack has been incarcerated.

Riddick: “I don’t know about this crew, Toombs. Maybe you should have told them what happened to the last one.”

Tomorrow we’ll finish Riddick’s journey. Looking forward to seeing you here.

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Chronicles of Riddick: Day Two Riddick’s Hero Journey

March 13, 2012 | Uncategorized,Writing

“One last question, merc, and you better get this one right? Whose ship is this? Riddick asked Toombs.
“Mine,” Toombs answers.
Then Riddick shoves him out of the vessel and takes off.

Stage Two of the Hero’s journey is: The Call to Adventure. According to Vogler, the hero is faced with a challenge, problem and can no longer stay in his Ordinary World. Although if it were me, getting off that frozen planet would be a no brainer. But for Riddick he now knows the bounty was placed on his head by Imam, one of two he rescued off the alien planet. Someone he ‘showed trust.’ Vogler states: “The Call to Adventure establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero’s goal: to win the treasure or the lover, to get revenge or right a wrong, to achieve a dream, confront a challenge, or change a life.” With Riddick it looks like he’s out for revenge, because since he’s a wanted man he’s not really righting a wrong unless he turns himself into the authorities. Yeah right.

Once on Helion Prime, Riddick breaks into Imam’s, (the actor David Keith) home and cleans up, physically. And he’s looking really good. When Imam comes home, Riddick quietly and deadly confronts him. Imam, worried about his wife and young daughter, tells Riddick that if it weren’t for the threat of invasion he would have never revealed where Riddick was hiding. Imam’s daughter, Ziza, isn’t afraid of Riddick and asks him: “Are you going to kill the new monsters this time?” Imam responds: “Such are our bedtime stories.” Riddick wants the pay day off his head. So Imam summons three clerics who come to try and persuade Riddick to help them stop the Necromonger invaders. Then Aereon, (actress Judi Dench), an Elemental who was the one who placed the bounty on Riddick’s head. She explains her reason is because he’s a Furyan, the one race the Lord Marshal fears. As she explains the situation, Riddick says “Maybe you should pretend you’re talking to someone educated in the penal system, better yet don’t pretend.”
Judi Dench

What’s your favorite line from this scene?

Stage Three of the Hero’s Journey as written by Vogler is: Refusal of the Call – The Reluctant Hero. Riddick is indeed a reluctant hero. He tells Imam, after he beats the crap out of the soldiers, it’s not his fight. Imam challenges him by telling him that young Jack never forgave him for leaving her and she left looking for him. Vogler says: “The hero has not yet fully committed to the journey and may still be thinking of turning back.” Riddick leaves looking for way off the planet, but witnesses the invasion.

Imam flees with his family and they are separated. Riddick saves Imam first and then his family.
Any lines from this scene?

Wednesday I’ll get to the really good stuff. Lots of Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, and the adventure begins.


The Chronicles of Riddick – Dialogue, Story, and The Hero’s Journey

March 12, 2012 | Writing


Welcome Richard Riddick fans and writers. Of course you might be both and that’s fantastic. Last week a writer friend of mine Jenna Howard and I traded favorite dialogue from The Chronicles of Riddick. I have several other friends who love the movie, or is it Vin Diesel, or both, and can quote dialogue scene by scene. So as I ease my way back into writing in 2012 I thought it would be fun to discuss our favorite dialogue, the scene it’s from, and how the movie fits into the Hero’s Journey as so well written by Christopher Vogler in his book, The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers. Vogler’s work is based on Joseph Campbell’s most influential work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Beginning today Monday, March 12th I’ll post a scene and you can respond with your favorite dialogue from that scene. Then I’m going to briefly describe what stage Riddick is in The Hero’s Journey. Vogler in his book writes the following. “A hero leaves her comfortable, ordinary surroundings to venture into a challenging, unfamiliar world. It may be an outward journey to an actual place; a labyrinth, forest or cave, a strange city or country, a new locale that becomes the arena for her conflict with antagonistic, challenging forces.” Vogler goes on to write that the journey can be an internal journey and that the hero “grows and changes, making a journey from one way of being to the next; from despair to hope, weakness to strength, folly to wisdom, love to hate, and back again.”

Before we delve into The Chronicles of Riddick I think a short review of the first movie, Pitch Black is needed. I originally wanted to see this movie because Claudia Black was cast in it and at the time she was on Farscape, another scifi favorite series of mine. But once Vin Diesel came on the screen as the captured convict, Richard Riddick, I was hooked. In Pitch Black a passenger transport vehicle crash lands on a planet. Riddick is being transported to a penal colony. He is a murderer with shiny eyes that can’t tolerate light or sunlight. The captain is killed, and the docking pilot, Carolyn Fry is about to jettison the passengers to save her life when the navigator stops her and he is killed leaving her in charge. As the remaining passengers try to find a way off the planet they discover that the geologists died when the planet was plunged into darkness 22 years ago and it’s about to happen again. The alien creatures come out looking for food and will kill the small group. Their only chance of survival to use the old ship’s power cells and use a small craft they’ve found. Riddick is determined to get off the planet and if he has to kill or leave the others behind he will. His one soft spot is, Jack, who everyone assumes is a boy and really a teenage girl that idolizes Riddick. Finally there are only four left, Imam, a holy man, Jack, Carolyn, and Riddick. Forced to leave Imam and Jack in a cave Carolyn and Riddick make their way to the ship and Riddick tries to persuade her to desert the other two and leave with him. Carolyn refuses even engaging in a fight with Riddick. She says ‘I’d die for them.’ Riddick returns to the cave with her and rescues Imam and Jack. Jack says she never doubted him. As they near the ship, Riddick is attacked. Carolyn goes back for the injured Riddick and is killed. Riddick yells “Not for me.” He returns to the ship and is about to take off with Imam and Jack when he powers down the engines and waits until the aliens crawl over the ship. Then he fires up the engines and kill many of the aliens as he pilots off the planet. He tells Jack to tell people he died on the planet.

So now we come to The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel. The movie begins with a narration by Aereon who explains who the Necromongers are and their leader The Lord Marshal. The Lord Marshal is determined to convert the universe to the undead by destroying planets. She says that in ordinary times evil would be fought by good, but this time evil should be fought by another type of evil. Richard Riddick is not your regular hero, he’s an anti-hero, hero. And we’ll talk about this more this week.

The first stage in the hero’s journey is: The Ordinary World. According to Vogler you show the hero in his ordinary world. Riddick for the past five years has been living on a frozen planet, hiding from ‘mercs’ who are trying to collect the bounty on his head. This isn’t my idea of a normal, drab existence, but for Riddick it must be. He’s deflecting the mercs from Imam and Jack whose lives would be in danger if he’d stayed with them. So the story opens with Riddick being chased across the frozen tundra by a spaceship commanded by Toombs, portrayed by Nick Chinlund. Riddick lures Toombs into a cave and dispatches one by one Toombs’ crew.

One of my favorite lines is Toombs when one his crew suggest the cave is too tight to follow Riddick. Toombs says: “So throw on a fresh pair of panties and let’s get this right.”

So what’s yours?


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