Monday, June 18, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Never underestimate the value of lowered expectations.

The first Fantastic Four movie was bland, medicocre and unfocused. Most of the blame falls at director Tim Story's feet who, if the dvd extras are any indication, is the least effective director this country has ever seen. There is footage of set designers, stuntment and cg effects heads literally telling this guy what to do. Explains all that product placement.

There's no way to know if he's gotten more serious this time out but the story has and everyone else knew what to do with it. This film is an adaptation of Lee and Kirby's peak on the book, borrowing heavily from both the famous Galactus trilogy and the Dr. Doom/ Silver Surfer saga that followed a few issues later. It would be hard to screw this up and for once, Story doesn't. There are no dalmatians covering their eyes here. When the Surfer arrives he is serious and otherworldly. The rest of the film falls into place behind that tone and we get a cosmic tale, a scary Doom and a smart Reed Richards. It's about time.

The cg effects are wonderful. There are fights in London, Latveria and Tokyo that actually feel like the epic clashes of the book. Yes, Galactus is a giant cloud but he's still frightening (I like to think the classic Galactus was IN that cloud. Helps me sleep at night.). The Silver Surfer himself is handled perfectly. I particularly love how when he was weakened, the silver tarnished into a dull grey. And on the prosthetic side, Doom and Thing are tweaked to emanate their classic looks more accurately.

The movie is lean at a mere 90 minutes. That keeps it from getting bogged down in subplots like Spider-Man 3. And unlike that movie, I'm looking forward to seeing this one again. Even in a comic book movie, less is more.


RG Daniels said...

Superman would've been a nice addition as well. I'm just sayin'...

kelly said...

Renee and Jon:

Just wanted to let you know that me, mom, dad, robb, carrie and the girls have send you guys something and we hope you enjoy it. Give little Ben a kiss for us and we can't wait to see you in October!