Jaq's Review: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

June 16, 2007

Do you ever get the feeling that people making superhero movies have never read a comic book? With the exception of Sam Raimi, it seems to me that all these directors and writers being hired to bring the men and women in tights to life on the big screen treat the job offer as a paycheck assignment and entry into a big budget world as opposed to the sacred trust it really is. When you are brought on board to make a film based on a spandex-clad icon, you have a responsibility to the fans, to the people who grew up with these characters. Director Tim Story, in his second go around with these characters, almost gets it right.

Slimming down this production to a mere 92 minutes, you’d think there would be no wasted time on screen. You’d be wrong. Story and Don Payne and Mark Frost, his writers, could still have tightened things up, or, better yet, added a bit more depth to the story of the super-powered team fighting off a threat from outer space. Maybe some of that time could have been used to build a deeper connection between the characters or possibly to explain Doctor Doom’s return from his destruction in the last film. Hey, maybe there’s a reason we get Doctor Doom back instead of a new terrestrial villain (the Fantastic Four did fight more than one earth-bound bad guy).

Johnny Flame chases the Silve Surfer in a scene from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Review

What we do get is a very nice re-imagining of Galactus, eaters of worlds (although, I will freely admit, I was waiting for the huge humanoid in the purple helmet) and an amazing take on the Silver Surfer himself. Ignore anything you might read to the contrary, if you grew up with the character, you couldn’t picture him coming to life on the big screen any other way.

The effects are top notch - no doubt about it. Ten years ago, the characters in this film wouldn’t have been possible and today they are perfectly plausible. We believe Johnny Storm can "flame on" and Sue Storm can vanish before our eyes. It’s a shame, then, that the effects overtake the performances of the actual flesh and blood actors. Ioan Gruffudd and Jessica Alba as Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl, the first couple of fandom, are both as stiff as store mannequins. They walk through their roles as if they are afraid of letting any real emotion show through. Even during the big set piece wedding scene, Alba’s facial reactions look like something out of an old "I Love Lucy" episode and Gruffudd shows more love for his gadgets than for his fiancé, the "hottest woman on the planet" (his words, not mine).

When all is said and done, though, despite the silly dialogue and the poor acting, it could have been worse (it was, see the first Fantastic Four). So, instead of the dark justice of a Batman or the teenage angst of Spider-Man, we get the homogenized and bland of The Thing and company. It’s harmless fun, even if it is a bit vanilla.

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Doesn't Reed love his gadgets more than anyone else? Reed Richards has always been more about his own brilliences then anyone else. That's why Reed and Dr. Doom are enemies; their egos.

christopher goudos on Jun 17, 2007


When the trailer is better than the movie, what does it says about the movie? That is how Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer turns out to be. I’m going to be wicked. The filmmakers should rename the sequel to 2005’s Fantastic Four to Plastic Flaw: Fall of the Silver Surfer. Get the rest of my review here:

andydreamseeker on Jun 17, 2007


Did you see the same movie I did? Wait you did cause we were in the same theater...... I still can't believe you guys can run a film site... and like this movie.... the only good thing about this movie was that it was better than the first one... but that is not saying much. Also did you see Gala.... wait... Cloudactus?

CSpuppydoog on Jun 24, 2007


im glad they did galactus like they did. galactus is only seen as the people of the planet he is want to see him, so therefore, humans see him as a giant human, just as the skree see him as a giant skree or the skrull see him as a giant skrull. and because no human a actually saw him in the movie(the human torch doesn't count because he never actually got the middle of the storm) then there was no way anyone could have seen him as a giant human with purple antlers.

Leif DeWolf on Jun 28, 2007


This is just a mindless, fun, pop corn flick that will take your mind of things for 90 minutes.

Peter on Nov 21, 2008

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