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07 September 2013 @ 05:18 pm
Picoreview: Riddick  

I would write a picoreview of Riddick, except Ursula has already pretty well nailed it.

Every time I watch a Riddick film I want to write a character like him (only female, because me). The whole baddest bad guy who is the lesser of two evils in a bad situation kind of character. I love that character (okay, *especially* when growled by Vin Diesel), and frankly I’d love to write whole Chronicles story my own way. (I’m actually hugely relieved they didn’t get to make another Riddick movie immediately after Chronicles, because there’s almost no chance they’d have done it right (ie, the way I think the story should have been told) and this way they didn’t even (have to) try.)

I do kind of wonder if it’s more difficult to pull off that kind of character in books than on film (and of course there’s the whole problem with a jerk or bad guy or a stone cold killer female being instantly an irredeemable bitch whereas a jerk or bad guy or a stone cold killer male is just a jerk or a bad guy). I know exactly the character I’d be writing, but the story scenario–I mean, Pitch Black and Riddick are Bad Man Against Ravening Monster Aliens, and Chronicles is (1. arguably the wrong story to have told, and 2.) Bad Man Against Evil Empire, the latter of which is probably easier to maintain for a book and the former of which is kinda necessary to establish the sheer outrageous badassness of the character. So it’s maybe a bit harder to set up in a book than film, I donno. Not impossible, just harder.

Because, you know, I have so little to do in my copious free time. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Mary Anne: pixelpers1stence on September 7th, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
I loved Pitch Black and was not terribly impressed by Chronicles, so I'm vaguely hopeful based on the bits I've seen that maybe they're going back to more of what made PB interesting. Suspense, tension, more narrow cast, less Cast Of Dozens.

kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Riddick is basically Pitch Black with different aliens. :)
Mary Annepers1stence on September 7th, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
oh good! :)
UrsulaVursulav on September 7th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
UrsulaVursulav on September 7th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
Also, to actually come down from my testosterone high, I think it works on film because we can't tell what Riddick is thinking.

In a book, I suspect you need either tight first person on a sidekick ( suddenly I'm thinking of Number Ten Ox, oddly enough) or else you lose either respect for them or the hope that they really do like puppies.

You might be able to do it if the character's internal monologue is funny as hell, but let's face it, the inside of Riddick's mind is either boringly efficient or a nest of rabid spiders.
Chrysoulachrysoula on September 7th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
...Riddick and Avengers-Loki team up?
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)

i think i love you forever. :)
anthony_lionanthony_lion on September 7th, 2013 07:54 pm (UTC)

Riddick and Cohen the Barbarian!
(Who knows where Cohen went after what happened in 'The Last Hero' )
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
It's possible his mind is both boringly efficient and also a nest of rabid spiders.

So: Jack is my POV character?
Chrysoulachrysoula on September 7th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC)
I think one of the things that makes Riddick interesting (I am not going to get to see the new film until digital download, I suspect, although... maybe....) is that too often in fiction (novels, at least) he's a supporting character. He's the nearly sociopathic badass the protagonist turns to for help. I know anytime that kind of character has shown up in fiction I have always wanted MORE MORE MORE. Like Kincaid in Dresden Files, off the top of my head. I know it's my personal goal as a writer to provide more of those characters, and give them more of a starring role, because I do always want MORE MORE MORE. But it _is_ hard to do it, especially from inside their head because yes, you don't want to discover they don't love puppies.

I do think a sidekick character can even make a female version of Riddick work, because the sidekick character could have the emotional human elements so many consumers demand from their female characters. I'm thinking of how stoic Xena seemed to be so often, for example. It's kind of how like in Disney's Aladdin the monkey represented all of Aladdin's hypothetical negative character traits and made mistakes for him.
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
I never noticed that about the monkey. Huh.

Possibly it'd be a story that needs two POVs, so Riddick's actions and perhaps honor can be seen from the outside as well as the ruthless motherfucker inside his (her) head. It's certainly an interesting exercise in consideration!

I also always want more of those characters, too. Hence Janx and Daisani. :)
UrsulaVursulav on September 7th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
Well, it's how I'd do it. *grin* Which only means that. You might make rabid spiders engaging!

Although I am struck, for no reason, that Riddick remembers and uses everybody's names. Huh.
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
People like the sound of their own names. It's his fucked-up way of soothing them before he causes them to be dead in some exciting and previously un-considered way.

Hm. I think ... well. Hm. *thinks, interestedly* The problem with Jack being the POV character is that, well, it kinda makes it Jack's story. Not that Jack isn't a good character (and indeed would be well worth developing, because it'd be nice to see her develop into a Furian, instead of going from "small child" to "almost-ruthless killer" with no middle ground), but I think my goal would really be pulling Riddick off as the POV character.

I kind of tried that with THE QUEEN'S BASTARD (the main character there is the protagonist, not the hero), with, I think, a certain amount of success...but I never imagined people would *like* Belinda. I wanted them to be fascinated and/or compelled by her, but she's not likeable. So I donno if I could pull it off with a ruthless killer POV character I wanted people to like, too. Hm. :)
UrsulaVursulav on September 7th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
The theory (more or less born out by backstory) is that Riddick is weakly precog and that's how he's so damned good (plus all the kill-you-with-my-teacup moments.) That's the part I think would be really neat to write in a character POV, but it'd be hard to sustain long-term.

Maybe I should go write fan-fic or something, *grin*
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah? I hadn't come across that theory. Do I need to go collect all the Riddick movies/animated films/etc and examine them for this backstory?

I always wanted to do a comic character who had precog bursts of things that happened 24 hours in advance, but nothing sooner, so avoiding (or getting to) them is not easy...
ruford42 on September 9th, 2013 03:11 am (UTC)
Wait...We weren't supposed to like Belinda?!? Yes, she does plenty of reprehensible things, but I could sympathize, partly because of the severity of her childhood, and also because I was viewing her through the lens of a spy or intelligence officer -- Someone who does horrible things, not because they necessarily enjoy being a horrible person, but because they believe it serves a greater..well if not a greater good, at least a greater purpose.

That and when we learn more about Drake and his cohorts, I kept expecting to see a heel turn develop and have her and J become the anti-heroes. Alas...not that the rest of that story could be a *cough*Kickstarter*cough* or anything :)
kit: inheritorscyclemizkit on September 9th, 2013 06:34 am (UTC)
*laughs* that's really not where the rest of the story was going, but I like the idea. :)

Believe me, I have thought often of doing a Kickstarter to finish the series...

And if you liked and sympathized with Belinda, I'm delighted. That's how I viewed her as well--loyalty, I always thought, was her one redeemable trait--and I *love* her as a character, but I figured she'd be very, very difficult for people to empathize with.
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!fengi on September 7th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
I agree with the tight first person and what you wrote about Xena and Gabrielle. There's also the distant and limited third person Elmore Leonard used. Even when he described character's thoughts points it seemed like there was this detached journalist reporting on what they were probably thinking. Kind of tight first person, but an invisible person. That's also what Lee Child does.

Now I really want to read this book / see this movie / no, read this book more. The only current thing I can think of that comes close is Rucka's Lazurus, but she's a ronin, a comic and written by a dude, so not really.

Edited at 2013-09-07 09:58 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on September 7th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
I'd really like to write this book. In my copious free time. :)

It'd be interesting to see if anybody noticed I was ripping off Riddick, too. :)
A large duckburger_eater on September 8th, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
I just watched THE MAN FROM NOWHERE on Netflix and was wondering the same thing. How do you portray the incredibly deadly action hero who's main draw is that you have no idea what's really going on inside them?

Confession: I haven't seen RIDDICK yet.

I think it would be possible to write it like one of Richard Stark's Parker novels, where everything is described but you get very little internal dialog.
kitmizkit on September 8th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Now I have to go read some of the Parker novels, which I don't think I know...
A large duckburger_eater on September 8th, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
As soon as I wrote that comment, I went to get ready for bed. As I was brushing my teeth, I thought: "That wouldn't work at all."

Parker (if you're going to try him out, I'd rec THE OUTFIT. They're short novels and read very quickly, even for me) has very few emotions of any kind. He's a marvel of ruthless momentum and the books build powerfully while remaining very spare.

For something like THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, (a movie I recommend, if you can handle dark crime thrillers) the main character has an Unbearable Tragedy In His Past, and part of the thrill is that the viewer is not really sure what's going on behind that blank expression.

So, hmf. Hopefully by the time I'm ready to tackle a fresh project I'll be mindwormed with something more approachable.