Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

Review and Media by Stu

Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Original Release Date - June 15th, 2007

The enigmatic, intergalactic herald, The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope is lost.

Credits
Written By: Don Payne and Mark Frost
Directed By: Tim Story
Music By: John Ottman
Starring: Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Julian McMahon, Doug Jones, Kerry Washington, Lawrence Fishbourne

Review: With the (financial) success of the original Fantastic Four movie, FOX quickly announced that a sequel would be forthcoming and the smart money was wisely placed upon the Silver Surfer and Galactus making an appearance. It was rushed into production (arenít all FOX films?) in the summer of 2006 and released the following year. The general consent is that itís much better than the original but still doesnít come close to matching the top tier superhero films, such as Batman Begins, X2: X-Men United or Marvelís finest effort, Spider-Man 2.

I personally had my doubts about this one. After the lacklustre first one, I knew not to get my hopes up because the same imbeciles behind the original were back and they clearly didnít have a grasp on any of the characters and lacked any ambitions beyond making a dumb Hollywood movie in an effort to make more people eat popcorn over the summer. I knew Iíd see it of course Ė I dig my superhero movies and make every effort to see them, despite how bad I hear/believe they will be. Except Elektra of course - I knew that would suck so terribly that even I, who has spent countless hours making websites about cartoons I donít like wasnít going to waste my time on that crap. Imagine my surprise when I sat down in the theatre with my big tub of popcorn and actually really enjoyed Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer!

This film actually has something of a story this time around Ė strange events are happening all over the planet Ė oceans freezing, pyramids covered in snow, Stuís bedroom is tidy and the military discover that a strange UFO has been spotted near the aforementioned incidents and look to Reed for help, who of course discovers that itís The Silver Surfer causing the problems and they look for a way to stop him. Researching further shows them that the Surfer does more than make the Weatherman look foolish Ė 8 days after this appearance on various other worlds, the planetís all die. The Surferís appearance on the planet has also mysteriously reawakened Victor Von Doom who now seeks the shiny manís powers so he can take over the world or something.

As with the first film, Doom is wasted again here. I never really saw the need for him to return Ė itís not like they continued his story at all like they did with Magneto in the X-Men sequels Ė given the short running time and lack of focus on Galactus, I think the film wouldíve greatly benefited from simply cutting Doom out of it all together.

The film is one of those rare sequels where they take everything they had from the first one and make it better. The characters are better developed (but not so much defined beyond the odd glimmer), the action and effects are improved and the score is just as spectacular as the first time around. Some actual effort appears to have gone into this one and the film is a lot more fun throughout, much like Spider-Man 2 was compared to the original. The Silver Surfer turned out to be a lot more entertaining than I thought he would be Ė heís not featured that much due to the short run time but he looked amazing, one of the few characters to be visually translated from the comic book to the big screen perfectly. Heís a character I can give or take in all honesty but he did impress me here. I would actually look forward to seeing him getting his own film is JMS wasnít involved in itís production. Iím not usually one for boycotting anything but if his name is mentioned you can pretty much confirm that my interest isnít there. Itís kind of a shame Ė this is of course assuming that the Silver Surfer movie actually gets anywhere close to production.

Let me reiterate again that I did actually enjoy this film, enough to pick it up on the day it was released and (eventually) add a section for it to this here site, so for those of you who havenít seen it, I would recommend you do.

However.

Part of me is still incredibly disappointed in the film. Not so much with the aforementioned use of Dr. Doom, but the fact that this couldíve been Marvelís biggest on screen epic like the original Galactus trilogy from the comics. With an extra half hour and obviously a bigger budget (and perhaps a more competent director) this had the potential to be one of the biggest movies of the decade. A being that destroys entire planets? Can you get a bigger villain? So what did they do? They turned him into a cloud. I remember when this was first rumoured that I thought they were taking the piss. Even these hacks couldnít do something so stupid to the Fantastic Fourís greatest villain. Their incompetence surprised even me. Itís horrifying as a fanboy to watch one of your favourite villains ruined but as someone who just wandered in with little expectations, I thought the ending of the movie was one of the dumbest things Iíve ever seen in the history of cinema. That shouldíve been an epic fight between the sentinel of the spaceways and a giant devourer of worlds, not a 30 second light show.

Overall, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer is an entertaining blockbuster which oddly enough, is still a waste of a fantastic opportunity.

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