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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  1. You know, it takes a special kind of anti-hero for me to like. I am a fan of the tortured loner archetype, but I don’t think that’s exactly the same thing.

    On the other hand, I just finished writing an anti-hero, so my tastes must be diverse.


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