Friday, June 15, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Who's Hotter?

I've written almost two years ago that I adored the movie adaptation of Fantastic Four, despite many out there who hated it to the core. Back then, what I found was right about it was its spot on characterization and its capture of the spirit which was FF, the bickering amongst its members as well as its theme on unity and family. I'm surprised that I actually predicted the coming of Galactus, though some would be disappointed with his big screen appearance.

Don't kid yourself if you say that you didn't see Galactus coming. As its herald, no Silver Surfer story is complete without the arrival of the master wanting to devour planets to keep itself alive (kinda reminds me of the other Transformer animated movie with Unicron). However, purists would go up in arms at the depiction of possibly one of the largest being in the Marvel Universe, which I thought was a better alternative in the movie without making it look too stupid with its ridiculous purple tin helmet.

And what is a Silver Surfer story without Victor Von Doom showing interest in its immense power? While you might think that the movie might have too many villains, with Galactus, Doom and the Surfer (well, for the most parts), and with 4 heroes in the fray, Rise of the Silver Surfer managed to maintain a breezy pace without getting too deep into its themes nor suffer from having to introduce in detail its characters. We've already established most of that in the first movie, and the details of the Surfer and its master was just enough to enlighten new fans, while keeping older fans happy enough with its accuracy.

So it's much like the comic book again, with our family of four having to deal with first of all, the rock star like atmosphere of the marriage between Mr Fantastic and Invisible Girl, before the Silver Surfer's rude arrival causing major climate changes in cities around the world, and of course, trusting the USoA army to wanna play world police again.

This movie is not without obvious flaws though in continuity and logic in its narrative. For one, while its big action scenes take place in busy parts of the world, the crowd usually gets dispersed in record time. I believe some parts of the action were chopped off to prevent it from being overly draggy, but therein some logic and crowd magically disappear. Some parts too will make you wonder why doesn't the Invisible Girl just knock everyone out with her invisible projectiles, or groan that the make up artist managed to make Jessica Alba look like a fashion disaster with her unnaturally dyed-blonde hair. She looks hot when it's all tied up, but when it's let down, I tell you it's time for some shampoo ad to do some major corporate sponsorship.

But I still got a kick out of its humorous moments (not that it was so funny, but they had charm), and I can't get enough of the banter between the Thing and the Human Torch. One thing's for certain, while the acting might not be first class, the cast of Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis (with the help of the suit) sure looked their parts. And that in itself, is movie magic bringing comic book panels to life. Look out too for Stan Lee, whom I think for the first time in the recent slew of Marvel movie adaptations, actually play himself!

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer brings back the best elements in the first movie, and provides an avenue for more of such adventures with the familiar quartet. It's a popcorn movie, and one which entertains throughout its relatively short 90 minutes duration. And I'll stick my neck out and say it again, this is probably one of the better movie franchises that Marvel has put out so far. Given the way things are set up, if this movie still proves to be a box office success, may I now say that we can expect to see the Mole Man next?

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