Monday, June 18, 2007

Sleestak reviews: Rise of the Silver Surfer

A friend told me to bring along a cat with me to the theater when I went to see the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie, because the urge to kill something out of fanboy rage might possibly turn upon myself if a victim was not otherwise readily available.

While I didn't think it was that bad I have to agree with most reviews of the film:

- The sequel was better than the first, which isn't saying much.
- It's a fine 90-minute babysitter for eight year olds.
- The CGI was pretty good.
- The FF mostly stood around or ran away.
- The FF and Doom were the Eddie Murphy to the Silver Surfer's Golden Child.
- The film is almost good (a la' any Golan & Globus production).

I often gauge a science fiction or effects-driven film by how much story remains after the special effects are removed. The measuring stick I use for is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Story wise, Raiders has more plot and characterization crammed into 2 hours than most trilogies. Even mentally subtracting the F/X leaves you with a movie that is full and entertaining. Not so the Fantastic Four.

FF: RotSS
is typical of Hollywood productions of late, a thin story that won't confuse too many people and a few neat-o CGI effects thrown that someone much smarter and with far more wit and talent than the committee that produced the film could envision. FF: RotSS joins other films like Ghost Rider in being a shallow series of vignettes connected by a loose plot designed to sell toys and video games and justify the product placement licensing opportunities.

As a guy, I have to comment on Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. Wig and contact lenses aside, she is becoming more attractive as she ages and it is a pity that she does not posses a greater acting talent. As Alba matures she is probably destined to become the next Terri Hatcher, someone who is pretty enough for television dramas and Lifetime Channel movies but not much of a challenge for the viewer.

I also did not mind the V'ger-ish Galacti-smog as much as some fans, though I can't believe a scene like this one from Thor #167 (August 1969) would not have worked in the right context. If not even Vince Colletta were able to ruin this scene, then Hollywood couldn't.
The hint of the face of Galactus at the center of the cloud in the film was enough for me, but I would have liked to have seen the Surfer emerge from the cloud into the calm eye of the cosmic storm, confronting Galactus as it stands stands on the world ship operating Kirbyesque machines. The film makers could have even thrown in the "Galactus appears as whatever the observer can accept it to be" thing and show differing representations of Galactus as the Surfer battles for the life of the Earth. One of them could have been the classic Kirby space-god. That would have been cool.

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5 comments:

  1. I haven't seen it, I haven't seen the first one, I can't but Jessica Alba as Sue Storm.

    I'm also on a message board of sci fi and comic fans and it's disapointing to hear those who said it say "Eh, it was good enough."

    We shouldn't have to settle for "good enough" in our movies. Spiderman and Batman Returns were better than "good enough."

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  2. That should say "I can't BUY Jessica Alba as Sue Storm."

    There is a possibility that I could but her.

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  3. Kudos, Slee, you pinpointed exactly what's been bothering me about the recent string of comics films (haven't seen enough of Hollywood this year to make a greater generalization): where films such as "X-Men 2" or "The Incredibles" strove to tell a story, more contemporary examples such as "Ghost Rider", "X-Men 3" and "Fantastic Four 2" are really just chains of special-effects sequences (I imagine them being conceived along the lines of "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if..."). Emotional investment is impossible, and that's precisely what's needed to sustain a fandom.

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  4. How did you let Vinnie get so far in your butt? WOW! You should see a proctologist right away. Also, don't make comments about our comments, we'll tell you how dumb you are and you just sit there and take it.

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