The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (20th Century Fox, PG)

f4b The Silver Surfer is quite detailed and realistic; as is the opening shot of a far off planet dissolving into a burning mass of rubble and ash as it's annihilated. But other, seemingly simpler, effects end up looking cheap and silly. Reed's stretchiness, for instance, comes off as unbelievably goofy.

 

 

 

f4

Some superheroes make audiences think about the human condition. Batman, for instance, is a character filled with insecurities and broody personal issues. His adventures leave you wondering about the conflicts he faces from a real-world stance. The Fantastic Four are not those types of superheroes.

If Batman is a steak, tough and substantial, The Fantastic Four are candy. And their second film outing, The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, follows that idea to a tee: sweet, glossy and filled with empty calories.

Super-stretchy Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), force-fielded Sue (Jessica Alba), flame-throwing Johnny (Chris Evans) and ultra-strong Ben (Michael Chiklis) are in the middle of preparations for "the wedding of the century" that will see Reed and Sue finally make it legal. Their plans are stalled, however, when they realize the entire world could soon be destroyed after the arrival of the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne). But, saving the planet proves difficult when the military forces them to join efforts with their arch-nemesis, Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon).

Superhero interpretations have come a long way from the cheese-filled days of the old Batman and The Amazing Spider-Man television shows, but this film does nothing to legitimize the standing of comic book-based movies. The biggest problem here is the flat, pedantic dialogue.

A lot of modern superhero movies eschew cartoon catch phrases and corny one-liners for more realistic speech patterns, but writers Don Payne and Mark Frost have clearly decided not to take that route. They throw around so many tired lines ("You think!" "Oh, come on!") as though they're brand new that I expected to hear at least one "you go, girl" or "talk to the hand." I didn't think we'd get any Oscar-worthy writing here, but it seems they could have tried a bit harder.

The script is also filled with things that just don't make much sense. Why, for example, would the US Army depend on Dr. Doom for help? It wasn't that long ago that he was a threat to national security himself, but now the military is entrusting him with saving the world?

If you pay close attention near the end, you'll also notice that a major moment in the film relies on the writers' completely dismissing something they'd set up several times earlier.

It's hard to even give straight-ahead props to the special effects used in The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Some of the effects work is spectacular. The Silver Surfer is quite detailed and realistic; as is the opening shot of a far off planet dissolving into a burning mass of rubble and ash as it's annihilated. But other, seemingly simpler, effects end up looking cheap and silly. Reed's stretchiness, for instance, comes off as unbelievably goofy.

Because the (blissfully short) script is more interested in getting plot points across than anything else, the cast has little to do other than look good. Gruffudd, Evans and Chiklis look and feel right in their parts, but Alba and McMahon are laughably miscast.

Alba is pretty, but she doesn't really give the appearance of being smart, skilled or tough enough to be a member of this outfit if it weren't for her powers. (In all fairness, most of this can also be said for Evans' Johnny, but his character's wild confidence helps him pull it off.) It doesn't help that Alba still looks extremely young, and appears even more so with the blonde wig and blue contacts she endures for her character. As a couple, Reed and Sue seem mismatched. It's as if he's marrying the 15-year-old neighbor girl he glimpsed sunbathing in her backyard.

McMahon would have been fine in the role of Dr. Doom if it weren't for one factor: his pitiful, pretty-boy voice. Dr. Doom is a killer. He's supposed to be menacing and terrifying. The cloak and mask are perfect to shroud his glamorous façade, but his Doom doesn't sound scary at all. Instead, he sounds like, well, a plastic surgeon who hasn't gotten laid in a while. | Adrienne Jones

http://www.fantasticfourmovie.com/ 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply