Despite a cool surfer, a not so ‘Fantastic’ sequel
If “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” were someone’s introduction to the beloved Marvel Comics franchise, there’s a distinct possibility no one over 10 years of age would be a comic book fan, given the film’s childish treatment.
With animation effects that are only average-looking, a script full of harmlessly routine comedy, and an uninspired story outdone only by cataclysmically superficial acting, this sequel is far less interesting than the 2005 original and is for kids only. That might suit parents who long for inoffensive material (the film is rated PG), but post-pubescent comic book fans will find this adaptation silly and bordering on heretical.
That said, youngsters are sure to delight in the antics of stretchy scientist Reed Richards (Iaon Gruffudd), fiery Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) disappearing beauty Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), and witty walloper Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) as they try to save Earth from being swallowed by Galactus. His destructive ambitions are precipitated by a dutiful servant named Silver Surfer (voiced by Lawrence Fishburne), a noble force who whips around earth wreaking climatic havoc. Our fearless foursome is sent to stop the Silver Surfer, but it also must contend with Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon), who may or may not be double-crossing them. (Can you guess?)
This second installment lacks much of the sarcastic punch that made the original at least tolerable, and is recommendable only with a host of “iffy” disclaimers. If you are willing to overlook the cheesy dialogue and wedding sub plot that nearly sink any potential for tension, if you’re willing to ignore a level of acting in a film where Jessica Alba’s talent-free presence doesn’t stick out, and if you are willing to wait almost 90 minutes for some worthwhile effects, then by all means see “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”
There’s one noteworthy gag where an accident causes the Fantastic Four’s superpowers to be temporarily interchanged. But the inspiration found in this disappointing sequel (an all-too-common occurrence lately) begins and ends there. So should this series. Parents longing for entertaining and intelligent family superhero fare would be much better served renting 2005’s “Zathura” or “Sky High.”
As for 2007, is anyone else super-heroed out yet?
Rated PG for violence and innuendo.