Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

"What have you got against capitalism?"

Written By: Don Payne & Mark Frost

Directed By: Tim Story

Starring: Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Doug Jones

My rating: 3/5

With expectations for this franchise at almost minus level, it's fair to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the level of campy entertainment to be had from this pointless sequel. To be fair, 90% of the entertainment comes from the wonderful Silver Surfer character. Leaving any expectations for interesting characters at the door from my knowledge of the first film, I was pleased to see that the writers had created a sweet, simplistic character arc for what is certainly the coolest-looking comic-book character of the summer.

Otherwise, the plot is fairly typical. There's little to point out. The Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic attempt to get married, but once again work gets in the way of their union, with the titular Silver Surfer coming to Earth to herald the coming of an alien force that will destroy the planet. The Fantastic Four must combine their powers (quite literally, it turns out) to get the Silver Surfer to aid them in destroying their enemy before it destroys us. Thanks to Jessica Alba's skin-tight "uniform" and pouty, glossed lips the Silver Surfer suffers a moral crisis.

To see the involvement of former Twin Peaks mastermind, Mark Frost, in the writing of this screenplay disappointed me so much that I was tempted to take away a whole rating mark, just out of spite. However, one must judge films for what they are and this is a run-of-the-mill summer sequel that actually surpasses expectations and somewhat entertains us for 95 minutes. Extra kudos must go to any film that can stick to the 90 minute mark these days. It seems impossible to tell any sort of story in less than three hours anymore. The pleasing brevity of the story and the surprisingly welcome vacuousness of the film actually makes for a decent popcorn movie. Not that I'll be running off to see it again, or to recommend it to people, but if you only want to sit back, close your brain, and give another €10 to Hollywood, then maybe give this a try. It's shorter than Pirates of the Caribbean and, for my money, the Silver Surfer has at least 20% more coolness than Jack Sparrow.

- Charlene Lydon

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