Monday, April 26, 2010

Archive: "Fantasic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer" (2007)

Like the first one, "Fantastic Four" still remains a movie that fries your brain with its mind-numbing silliness, and in that way, it's passably enjoyable. Although the same errors exist, they are much less apparent in "Silver Surfer" due to the several things that this one gets right. Less time is focused on the origins of the dynamic group, and an actually threatening villain is introduced. 2005's Dr. Doom wasn't all that threatening back then. Still far from any descriptor nearing "fantastic," this sequel is a small step up from the first film. At this rate, perhaps by the fourth or fifth installment it can reach the level of fantastic, but then again, probably not; it doesn't seem like these superheroes have that kind of potential to begin with.

The movie doesn't waste any time, and as the movie opens, we're shown a bay in Japan solidifying and Egypt having an unusually wintry climate. This is from a mysterious silver streak that shoots across the sky. Although it's a headline on the news, the main story is about Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman tying the knot. They're calling it the wedding of the century and it's a nice hit on our celebrity-obsessed public. The wedding has been postponed numerous times now due to, well, having to save the world. The foursome's newest threat is this ominous silver streak now dubbed "silver surfer" after Johnny Storm follows it for a more detailed description.

After scientific observation and pressure from some shockingly mean U.S. military leaders, the group begins to unravel the mystery of this Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne). Whenever this creature flies to a planet, eight days later the planet dies. And so, in melodramatic seriousness, the Surfer explains that he has been flying from planet to planet under control of something called Galactus. The crisis is really kicked up a notch from last time now that the fate of the entire earth is in the balance. It's a good thing that Johnny Storm received an adverse effect from coming in contact with the Surfer, and now whenever he touches any of his pals, he gathers their powers. This isn't merely just a distraction from the thick-headed plot, but actually a key element; more on that later.

The Silver Surfer is actually a pretty neat villain, except I liked him better when I knew less about him; he's more threatening before his ridiculously absurd origin is revealed. Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon) makes a return this time, too, causing more chaos, as he pretends to be helpful, but of course, has plans of his own. Once the action starts picking up, the plot gets pretty obnoxious. The special effects, however, are a big improvement with quite a few sequences that are pretty cool to look at. Overall, it is just big, loud, dumb comic book stuff, but we already knew that coming in.

Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) are all getting along better this time. They're not doing anything new with their superpowers: Reed is still the stretchy Mr. Fantastic, Sue still can vanish and make force fields, Johnny is still the self-explanatory Human Torch, and Ben is still the rock solid Thing. Aside from some occasional quipping back and forth, they're done bickering, and not only have come to better terms with each other, but also themselves. The actors playing these superheroes seem more comfortable, as well; that is, aside from Alba who still seems completely out of sorts. For the most part, it seems as if this time everybody is done trying to convince us of the crap we're watching, and are finally just letting us go with the flow.

The first "Fantastic Four" plodded along with its running time of just over 2 hours. It felt too long, so it's a good thing this one barely touches the 90-minute mark, making for a much more stream-lined experience. The PG-rating, as well, doesn't subtract anything away from the experience aside from a few careful word choices. There are still plenty of suggestive one-liners and quick innuendos to scoff at. The rating is just there to help broaden the targeted audience because I doubt anybody only over 13 was thoroughly enjoying the first one to begin with.

No comments:

Post a Comment