DVD Review: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 1, 2007, 18:33 GMT
Marvel\'s first family of superheroes, The Fantastic Four, meets their greatest challenge yet in "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" as the enigmatic, intergalactic herald, The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. ...more
The Fantastic Four face their greatest threat – the Silver Surfer? No, it’s the marriage of the century as Reed and Sue try and tie the knot.
Well, actually the Silver Surfer is a pretty big deal as he heralds the arrival of a being that will devour the planet Earth (though CNN is more interested in the wedding it seems).
Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards (Ioan Gruffud) and Sue “Invisible Woman” Storm (Jessica Alba) have finally set a date and are to be married in a lavish ceremony atop the Baxter Building. As is apt with superheroes trying to live a somewhat normal life, an intergalactic traveler called the Silver Surfer (voice of Laurence Fishburne and Doug Jones in costume and CGI effects) interrupts the ceremony.
The Surfer is the herald of a devourer of worlds called Galactus who is arriving eight days after the arrival of our silver friend. Several enormous craters have opened across the globe in preparation of our destruction and General Hager (Andre Braugher) has enlisted Richards to stop the Surfer and find out what these anomalies are for.
Johnny “Human Torch” Storm (Chris Evans) actually battles the Surfer and finds that his molecules have been scrambled an when he touches another team member he swaps powers with them, much to the delight of Ben “Thing” Grimm (Michael Chiklis) who gets to be human again for a short time.
The team also finds out that Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) has also been recruited by Hager and has actually discovered the Surfer’s weakness. So now all parties have to team up and find a way to stop the imminent digestion of the planet that we all hold dear.
The first Fantastic Four was a worldwide success, grossing 300 million worldwide, so it was no surprise that a sequel was put in the works. I guess that the DVD sales must’ve been good. I thought the original was okay, but it seemed to be missing something. The only characters that seemed well cast were Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans.
Chiklis still exudes heart in his limited scenes in the sequel, but there’s not enough of him. Chris Evans gets more screen time as the cocky Johnny Storm, but it’s the interplay between he and Chiklis that makes good cinema. Although there’s some of that interplay in the sequel, it has been cut in favor of the Surfer.
I thought the plot about Evans’ product promotion seemed funny, and also liked the parts where the molecularly unstable Evans causes the team’s powers to be swapped around. I happened to like the inclusion of the Surfer and thought that the character came off well.
He’s vocalized with the proper nobility by Laurence Fishburne and constant “creature suit man” Doug Jones does great in bringing him to life as well (both in makeup and in CGI effects).
Ioan Gruffud seems a little better this time around and Jessica Alba is nice to look at but I never see her as Sue Storm - who seemed more motherly in what I recall about the Four. She also seems just a bit too young to be hooking up with Gruffud.
Julian McMahon returns as Doctor Doom and although he makes a good villain, I don’t feel that he quite reaches the height of villainy I’d imagine Doom rising to. He also seems to be shoehorned into the film, although the character tried his scheme in the film in the comics.
The inclusion of Doom jettisons some of the potential interplay between the Surfer and Galactus since the latter is portrayed much differently than in the comic. I will say that I enjoyed this sequel much better than the first film.
I wonder if director Tim Story took notice of the critical backlash from the first film and applied himself more this time around. I also think that the first film had a rushed production schedule and suffered from having to meet the release deadline. Maybe it was the Surfer, but this one seems to outshine the original. I would’ve given the first feature 3 stars and 3.5 for this sequel.
Rise of the Silver Surfer is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The single disc edition is dual sided with fullscreen on one side and widescreen on the other. The special features on that disc replicate disc one of the two-disc set that I’ll detail below. A two-disc “Power Cosmic Edition” is available separately.
Disc one’s special features include two commentaries. The first is from director Tim Story. The second has producer Avi Arad, writer Don Payne, and film editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy. Disc two contains 9 minutes of deleted or extended scenes with an optional commentary by Story.
The best of which are more interplay with Chiklis and Evans helping out with the wedding and Evans finding out that Chiklis’ action figure outsells his in the Fan4 store. The scenes are presented with what you’d see in the film in black and white with the new bits being in color, so don’t fret that your DVD player has broke. The “Interactive Fantasticar” feature allows you to look at different angles of the vehicle.
The 46-minute “Family Bonds” takes you behind the scenes of the pre-production and production of the film. The 10 minute “The Fantasticar: State of the Art” looks both at the vehicle in the film and the comics.
The 15-minute “Power Cosmic” looks at how the Silver Surfer was created for the film. The 38-minute “Sentinel of the Spaceways” looks at the history of the Surfer in the comics and interviews the story men and artists responsible for his adventures.
This feature (38 minutes doesn’t seem “ette” to me) is worth the cost of the disc alone for the comic fans. The 11-minute “Character Design with Special Motion” covers how they got Chiklis into the Thing suit. The 4-minute “Scoring the Fantastic” sits down with composer John Ottman.
The Rise of the Silver Surfer was a better film that its predecessor in my opinion. The two-disc set offers some really great extras for comic fans and I’d suggest that’s the way to go to get the true fantastic experience.
Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer – The Power Cosmic Edition is now available at Amazon. It is available for pre-order at AmazonUK for an Oct. 8th release. Visit the DVD database for more information.