Dark Fury is an anime set piece that bridges the gap between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. It really is a shame that it was only 35 minutes long. I will admit, the storyline is pretty straightforward and somewhat trite, but I was beyond caring because of the incredible animation. Peter Chung has brought the characters of Pitch Black to animated life in his distinctive style, but without losing any of their own distinctive characteristics. They really nailed the way Riddick moves, fights, and reacts. The ship carrying the first movie’s survivors is picked up by what at first appears to be just another merc ship but turns out to have a much weirder, more original, and more interesting nature; also brings into play some visually astounding alien lifeforms. It is a nice companion piece to own, expescially if you want to add more anime to your collection.
Apparently soon after Riddick and his cohorts leave the planet from Pitch Black they get captured by a ship full of mercs, controlled by some lady who has a thing for killers. The plot itself isn’t so bad, but the way they execute it doesn’t meld as well. The whole film is very well an anime but contains a mix of cel animation and computer animation and I must say the CG side of things is very much lacking. Not only does it stick out like a sore thumb it looks dated… as in what you would expect years ago. The cel animation, on the other hand, is great and very dynamic. I wasn’t overly thrilled with the way the main characters were drawn. The characters that crossed over bore some resemblance to their live action counterparts.
Even in cartoon form, Riddick, is the man. It features the voices of all the original cast members, including the girl who played Jak in Pitch Black. Since I am a fan of the Riddick character I am glad to own it, but in truth it offers nothing special beyond another Riddick story. I might have enjoyed it more if the film were longer. Also present is Toombs who plays a bigger role in the 3rd installment. Even though the movie is short, I consider it essential if you liked Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. This is more adult oriented, and sticks well with the two movies fel and premise. A good and somewhat beautifully animated filler for the two movies.
So why all the praise? Certainly one gets the gut feeling that Dark Fury could have been a lot worse. The action scenes are generally well done with a little violence thrown in for good measure. The advantage of this is that there is no time wasted on anything that does not add to the story itself. It will keep you interested and entertained all the way through. In the end it is an interesting story for what it is. Anyone who has seen the two Riddick films should check this out. I had a chance to scoop the physical DVD of this and I should report that Dark Fury includes a featurette that gives a look at the making of, an interview with animator Peter Chung, a preview look at The Chronicales of Riddick, and a sequence of moving storyboards that illustrates how Dark Fury went from paper drawings to final product. Neat little anime film!