The summer of rehashing franchises continues, this time with a movie that audiences were on the fence with as it is. When the first Fantastic Four film came out back in 2005 fans of the comics were already hesitant due to director Tim Story’s comedy background and the direction of the cast members. This time the original cast returns to introduce a new character, one that is a fan favorite and is geared up to possibly receive his own film, but keeps the story as lifeless as the last.
The original Fantastic Four, consisting of Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) are finally acclimated to their powers and their celebrity way of life. While Johnny, the Human Torch, loves his life filled with women and endorsements, Reed (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue (Invisible Woman) are trying to settle down and get married. On the day of the impending nuptials a strange entity enters Earth’s atmosphere and Reed is called into duty. After a disastrous wedding the group learns that this new villain, the Silver Surfer, has been sent to Earth to destroy it. While the Four fight against each other they must unify to save the planet.
First, to describe what I actually enjoyed about the movie. The Silver Surfer himself is amazing to watch. On seeing him for the first time, coming out of a building like a liquid, I was blown away with the effects. The story also moves pretty quickly and is incredibly family-friendly, for the most part.
I didn’t have incredibly high expectations for this super-hero sequel. The original film was hokey but loveable so I didn’t expect this to transcend the first. I did, however, want it to be as good as the first no matter how low the first rated. If you looked above then you probably realize I didn’t enjoy Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. First, the Surfer is very reminiscent of the second Terminator in Terminator 2. While I was amazed by the Surfer’s look, I did think it was a rip-off of the Terminator. While the movie moves quickly it is incredibly boring. The film deals a lot with Sue and Reed wanting to live a normal life against their very Brad and Angelina lifestyle. While that is all well and good, there is very little action in the first half of the movie. The dialogue is also incredibly hokey; it’s almost jarring how bad the writing is in this film. I also have to ask, when did the Fantastic Four use their powers for such stupid things? Reed uses his stretching ability to do a ridiculous dance sequence in a bar, while Sue uses her invisibility to mask a zit. I would have expected that from Johnny, since he is the superficial character in the franchise, but not from the voices of reason. Since the movie is PG the movie also has to cater to the adults in the audiences, and they go about it the wrong way but doing way too many sexual innuendos. It really got tiring after awhile, although not as tiring as Johnny constantly trying to get more product placement in their lives.
As much as I enjoy in the actors in other fare, there is nothing redeeming about their performances in this movie. Ioan Gruffudd, who is a great actor otherwise, is still the same wooden Reed from the first film. I would have liked his character to be a little more fun this time around and I don’t know if it’s because of Gruffudd’s acting but he is still as boring as ever. Jessica Alba tries to really prove she’s a woman of non-ethnicity in this film with incredibly lightened skin, stick-straight platinum blonde hair and horribly blue contacts. I spent so much time looking at her that I think I lost track of the movie. Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis pretty much play the same characters as they were in the first movie, while Julian McMahon seems to be phoning in his performance.
Now, I wasn’t expecting art but for the price of a ticket I would have liked to enjoy the hour I wasted. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer had a good idea going for it by introducing the Silver Surfer; the film is just all over the place in terms of whether it’s a family drama or a comedy. While the needless sequels don’t seem to show any signs of abating, hopefully the Fantastic Four franchise will lie over and play dead.