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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)


I think I only saw this one once or twice before tonight. I remembered the plot - but only vaguely. I remembered Judi Dench being an elemental. I remembered delighting in the design and the "world building." I was correct about the design but the world building? It felt more like a really detailed plan my friends and I would come up with for a roleplaying game in college. We knew all the nuances and backstory and lore but if anyone else ended up sitting in for a session they would be confused and probably surprised to learn that hours of thought had gone into it.

Not to say that it's bad! I mean, kind of. But there's so much to love in the passion for the thing. The unbridled enthusiasm that clearly went into making this. David Twohy and Vin Diesel clearly geeked out over this concept. You can feel the love for it in every nonsensical frame. You can almost hear the can't-wait-until-morning phone calls to gush through ideas that were just had. The napkins with hastily scribbled details. The glazed over looks on loved ones' faces as they once again hear about the nuances and intricacies of this world. Truly, if I could have one wish granted it would be that we all had the money and time and chutzpah to make our own personal Chronicles of Riddick.

And gosh, there are some fabulous elements at play here. The idea of the necromongers is fascinating. They have WILD technology and CENTURIES of religion and the movie cares not for that information. They are cyberpunk Rococo goths and I love them.

Say what you will about Vin Diesel (I'll say, "family"), but it is fun to watch him do stuff in his prime. His physicality is mind blowing. Realizing that he had to spend time training on aerial silks for some of his stunts? INCREDIBLE. That he speaks, like some kind of action movie sphinx, in naught but quippy one liners? In this world he helped painstakingly create?? AMAZING. That he makes me want to unironically dress like him when I am nowhere near his physique and know what a doughy little midwesterner I'd look like in an A-line tank and cargo pants? Hang it in the Louvre and don't look too closely at my Amazon basket.

Thandiwe Newton was another part of this movie I remembered. I remember thinking both "yowza who is she?" and "boy is she wasted in this." Watching today, I found myself hungry to see her Lady M, especially if she was opposite Karl Urban again.

Other notes: great music, terrific cloak design, ever present gilding that never failed to surprise me, a growing curiosity that maybe I don't need to own Pitch Black, but I definitely need to revisit it.

Sculpture, I guess.

Tea cup & saucer, epoxy, mica dust, paint, hot glue.

"I'll Kill You With My Tea Cup"


-This started as, "I should do something with a tea cup." Then, "I should learn kintsugi (Japanese art of mending broken pottery with epoxy and gold dust - highlighting the imperfection and creating a beautiful metaphor) and do it on a tea cup." And then, "what if I painted it black?" And then, "WHAT IF I USED BLACK 3.0 (a non-proprietary Vanta Black)!?" And so on. I worried, briefly that I was straying too far from the movie and I should add some necromonger imagery, but then I thought, this is exactly what Chronicles of Riddick is all about. Lots of ideas and, more importantly, lots of enthusiasm.

-Turns out you cannot "just pick up" a centuries old art form. I've struggled so long with confidence but NEVER when it comes to trying something creative. It's a great thing but sometimes I catch a glimpse in the proverbial mirror and think, "golly what happened there??". Anywho, trying kintsugi ultimately worked but there was a moment when I was covered in epoxy and mica powder, the tea cup was *wonky* and I was bleeding because I accidentally punched the table when I was trying to put the cover on the epoxy, slipped and, well, punched the table.

-I was so stoked to make this project work, I actually redid parts of it, which is not always like me. Very often I just plow ahead because of time and resources but this one I made time for. I initially did the drips in hot glue directly on the cup, creating the drips in space which was HARD. It worked (yay!) but also looked really lumpy so I ended up pulling them off and creating the drips flat on wax paper which wasn't quite right either (I really should have sculpted it in clay) but a big improvement and I'm glad I took the time.

-I love Black 3.0. It absorbs 99.something% of light and is ultra matte so it has an unnerving void-like quality to it. I also enjoy it politically because it was created out of pure spite when the creator of Vanta Black (the blackest black paint) made it legally impossible for anyone else to use. But I really struggle with using Black 3.0. The concentrated pigment is really grainy and it's difficult to get a smooth application. I even tried to be extra patient this week (not my strong suit) and did several thin layers but it still ended up a little lumpy looking. Sigh. Still, it's pretty cool. I wanted it to look like 2D in 3D, liquid shadow, and I think it accomplishes that.

-Part of my brain, the narrative loving part, keeps trying to assign meaning to this piece. Something something something broken being made whole but darkness is still present. Blah blah blah filling from an empty cup. And while those are true and a little on the nose, ultimately it's not about anything but a cool idea I had. Just like Chronicles of Riddick.

Next week! Hopefully I'll be watching GREASE 2 (no I don't own Grease 1 stop asking) for Movie Club with Andy but being an adult (the worst) means that lining up schedules can be a real pain. If not this week, we'll be C-O-O-L to watch it soon.

It's going to be a real scorcher here this week but wherever you are stay hydrated and take care of yourself. Give in to a really neat idea you have and see where it goes!!I bet it will be awesome.

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