Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Loan Gruffud, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis star in this unnecessary, yet inevitable sequel. The movie essentially follows the super hero quartet in their second outing to once again save the planet. This time the enemy is The Silver Surfer, who in reality is only an indentured servant to the real baddie- an immense, planet devouring force known as Galactus. Certainly has the makings of your typical super hero movie.

Besides the obvious super hero portion, the other story follows the impending wedding between Reed Richards (Gruffud), and Sue Storm (Alba). This character development is a moderately valiant effort, but unfortunately falls flat from the get go. Gruffud portrays the pre-occupied fiance by rote, with nearly no emotion. Alba seems to be questioning her choice of being in this movie much more than her character questions their upcoming message. Johnny Blaze (Evans), and Ben Grimm (Chiklis) fill out the rest of a the foursome. Blaze fulfills the arrogant role, while Grimm, despite being a human rock wall, is actually the deepest, most well developed character. He has the best lines, and the best scenes, but is also the most underused. It's as if Chiklis just decided to have fun with the role, while everyone else just looks at it as a rather hefty paycheck.

Tim Story is back directing the sequel, and does an ample job of it. The visual effects are the true feature of the movie, with the Silver Surfer being completely computer generated. Despite Laurence Fishbourne voicing the Silver Surfer, the character feels cold and dead, even when it's not supposed to be. Many of the action sequences are extremely dark and nearly impossible to follow. This means they were able to skimp a bit on the effects, even though they were the movie's only redeeming feature.

Honestly, I have never been a tremendous fan of the Fantastic Four. I enjoyed the comics, but felt they were always lacking something. The movie takes the hokey story lines, and absurd situations (even for super hero comics) and underlies them with a weak plot and even weaker acting, all while cushioning these weaknesses with moderately impressive, yet frequently phoned in visual effects. A third installment is also an inevitability- unfortunately.


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