There's a lot to be said for the 'switch off brain and be entertained' type of movie, and the latest in the 'Riddick' franchise certainly falls into that category.
After all, a sci-fi action feature about a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy is unlikely to deal out many life lessons along the way.
But consider for a moment the creativity and thought that goes into creating the backdrop for the latest installment featuring our favourite muscle-bound alien.
Action man Vin Diesel teams up with writer and director David Twohy once again to appease fan boys and girls who lapped up 2000 original ‘Pitch Black’ and the epic follow-up ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’.
‘Riddick’ franchise  aside, Twohy is also well known as the man who co-wrote Kevin Costner box-office flop ‘Waterworld’. That $175 million movie, set in a post apocalyptic, flooded Earth, has since won over film fans and become a cult classic. Largely in part to Twohy’s imagination and writing. Although ‘Riddick’ is not set on earth, Twohy didn’t need to look too far for inspiration. He just gazed at the sky.
“I begin with real astronomy and astrophysics because that’s one of my passions,” he notes. “For this film, one of the things that caught my eye was putting a brown dwarf star in the sky, which is like a very big Jupiter. I try not to get too fanciful; the universe is strange enough out there that you don’t have to add strangeness to it.”
Certain UAE film fans might find the set naggingly familiar - a familiar part of the world helped shape the desolate planet’s landscape. Designer Joseph C Nemec explains: “We decided to take our influence from Petra in Jordan. The idea was that in a great deteriorated mountain, some ancient civilization would have carved out a shrine or ceremonial place that gave homage to the creatures on the planet. We felt the burial ruins had to be an architectural environment.”
The franchise also boasts two popular video games and an anime DVD - not to mention millions of fans worldwide, the reason why Diesel and Twohy have reunited once again.
Twohy, 57, explains: “We never stopped hearing the drumbeat from the fans. Of all the movies that I’ve done, they ask most about Riddick.” Diesel, with a staggering 46 million facebook followers, adds: “People wrote, ‘When are we going to get more Riddick? You have to make this movie.’ It was comments like this that made us feel like we had to make it at all costs.”