Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer:

Written by Hombre Divertido

If you found yourself looking forward to the first film two years ago, you might have been disappointed as it was nothing more than a lengthy introduction to our characters, and their respective origins i.e.: We’re going to tell you this story for the sole purpose of telling you another in two years.

If you appreciated the lengthy intro, and are looking forward to the second installment, than you may enjoy this outing, but many will be disappointed. Since the writing, acting, and special effects, are inconsistent, it should be no surprise that the final result is hit and miss throughout.

Up until the third installment, Spider-Man seemed to be the only comic book brought to the big screen by writers who understand the basic principal of keeping it simple. The story of the Silver Surfer, what he is doing here, and the havoc he is wreaking, is unexplored and contains more holes than the giant ones he is creating around the world.

On the plus side; the special effects used to generate the Silver Surfer are some of the more enjoyable in the film. Much better than those used to create Reed Richards aka: Mr. Fantastic. The lack of quality in the effects used to display his ability to stretch his body are only out done by the lack of quality in the performance of Ioan Gruffudd in the role. He appears miscast and awkward throughout the endeavor. This is unfortunate as the other three members of the team give fine performances and have developed chemistry that only makes the poor performance of Mr. Gruffudd seem obviously less fantastic than the rest.

As mentioned: The chemistry between Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), works well. The performances are good, the relationships are developed, the respective motivation is clear, and the dialog is fun. They manage to create some enjoyable moments in the film.

So, we get to see our heroes trying to deal with fame, responsibility, unusual powers, and forces attacking the earth. Not a lot of new ground covered here, but Johnny’s enterprising escapades, Ben’s dealings with his new look and it’s impact on relationships, Sue’s desire to have a normal wedding, and the fact that they are trying to be a team, do create some freshness. Unfortunately, the action sequences in Europe reach a fromage factor the likes of which have not been seen since Superman IV.

There are some enjoyable moments in this film, and with some good popcorn and a cold soda, you could certainly find worse movies to spend ninety-two minutes sitting through. Nonetheless, the first two Spider-Man movies set the bar for comic books on the big screen, and this just comes across like an effort where less time and money has been expended.

Recommendation: Wait for it to come out on DVD, and watch the two Fantastic Four films together with your children.