Creatures of the Desolate Planet
In the planet upon which our hero is stranded, there
are two main creatures: the alien jackal and razor-tailed
mud demons. Scenes involving the creatures were shot
in part with live puppets and in part with visual effects.
Twohy explains: "In terms of creatures, I followed what
I did in Pitch Black, meaning that I would do puppet
pieces when the actor had to engage with, touch, pick
up, duck, dodge or weave the creature. But for the most
part, they're CG creatures or a combination of the two.
I try not to do animatronics anymore with things that are articulated and have eye movements and mouth
movements because they ultimately come up short on
The alien jackal is introduced early in the film
when Riddick finds it as a pup and they create a bond
as it grows into a beast. Designed by Mokko Studio in
Montreal, it was built by Tinsley Studio in Los Angeles.
The life-size jackal puppet was made of foam rubber
and fiberglass with movement mechanisms inside.
Covered in shaved cowhide with neck hair from boar
bristles, hackles from porcupine quills and with sharp
acrylic teeth, it took three puppeteers to work the beast.
Riddick discovers that the deadly alien creatures on
the planet live and thrive in water. Because the planet
is mainly dry and barren, they lie dormant under the
earth and may only be found in the odd watering hole.
That is, until the rainy season comes, and they awake
and wreak havoc. In the thriller, Riddick must pass by
one of these creatures living in a giant mud hole, a
scene that proved to be one of the most challenging
for the puppeteers to film. Recalls puppeteer ERIC
FIEDLER: "The mudflats were one of the most
difficult places we worked in because we were in mud
up to our waists for about two weeks. It was sticky and
hot and sweaty and bubbly."
To breathe life into the
puppets, Twohy chose to work
with one of Canada's top-notch
VFX shops. "Mokko Studio is
this great house that was ready to
step up and do a significant 3D
character animation," he says.
"They proved themselves with
the jackal and the other creatures
in this movie."
Production wrapped, Diesel
reflects upon his dream for what
is arguably the most personal
chapter in the epic series that
the team began so long ago: "Any artist hopes that he
affects people. With this film, I just want audiences to
escape for a couple hours." As for Riddick's next move?
"He just wants to go home and discover his identity. A
lot of people that come out of the movie feel like it's
an homage to Pitch Black, and yet, keeps the question
alive: Where is Riddick from, and where is he going?"
One thing we do know for certain: It's time to once
again fear the dark.
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