Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sounds Fancy: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Sometimes I wish I were a comic book nerd.

No, scratch that.

I'm a nerd of many things, but I often wonder what I would be like if I added comic books to my repertoire.

For the most part, my nerdism factors around my movie knowledge, videogame prowess, and DVD collection, as well as my predilection toward expensive gadgetry.

My interests in movies (and the review of said items) sometimes means that I see this new craze of turning old comic-book heroes into silver screen saviors as something of a fad.

And when have fads ever been a good thing? I mean seriously, do you remember Tamagotchi?

But some movies have really stood out in this genre. Spider-Man, X-Men, and even some sleepers like The Punisher really changed the way we think of comic book superheroes.

Batman Begins revived a nearly dead series, recasting it in a new, darker image into which fans eagerly sunk their braces-covered teeth.

But sometimes things don't really work out that well. Sometimes, directors don't quite bring the source material to life.

In the original "Fantastic Four", director Tim Story decided on a faster pace for the characters and a generally cartoonish style of action. This made the movie fit in better with the old animated series than the original comics.

For those of you who don't know much about comics (I'm looking at you, Wyoming), allow me to put in my two cents.

Stan Lee is a genius.

This man created so many of the seminal characters of comic fandom that he has been proclaimed by many to be a god.

Not THE G-d, but a lesser diety.

He had his own TV show where people made asses of themselves in order to please the great Stan Lee.

Granted, it all fit in so well that the show is heading on to its second season. I guess when you have people doing super things instead of eating bugs or dating prostitutes, you get good television.

The Fantastic Four, and really all the Marvel comics, were dark and humerous at the same time. They had super villains but mundane troubles in the same bubblegum-smelling pages.

In the original movie, writer Mark Frost brought the original BAMF of villainy, Dr. Doom.

Let's just say that together, class.

Dr. (as in man who possesses a PHD in some subject) Doom (the end of all things).

Played by Julian McMahon of "Nip/Tuck", Dr. Doom kicked much in the way of Fantastic ass on the screen. His lines were cornier than a Sylvester Stallone "dramatic moment", but you still loved to hate the guy.

The characters weren't very interesting, though you did care a little for Michael Chiklis as the Thing. The Human Torch (Chris Evans from "Cellular") was a fine comic relief, and Jessica Alba was really hot.

I didn't think the original movie was that great. I think the effects were too cartoony to be taken seriously with the rest of the film. I thought the dialogue was about as bad as could be managed with actors speaking their own language.

Still, I was willing to give the sequel a shot.

Enter Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Again, the special effects seem a little too cartoonish, though the magic wizards at Spectral Motion certainly aimed a little higher than the last film. Though Mr. Fantastic still looks pretty bland stretching to and fro, the rest of the film has a darker mentality.

The story focuses on a few small details all coming together.

Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are trying to tie the knot, but things keep getting in the way. Being celebrity superheroes isn't easy on matrimonial life.

The Human Torch is starting to recognize his position as a loner. The Thing is...well, he's a giant rock. What do you want him to do?

Meanwhile, a silver man on a surfboard arrives to herald the end of Earth via the super-galactic being of Death, Galactus.

So basically it's same old same old for the Fantastic Four.

While I did enjoy the humor of the movie, the serious moments never pan out. In fact, I often wonder why they tried to put them in here in the first place.

The wedding is a fiasco, and the future Mrs. Fantastic can't stop those tears from welling. Torch boy has his moments of pondering whistfully while staring at the moon. People make faces that are meant to convey sorrow but really only border on bad sushi.

The humor, on the other hand, works more often than not. Chris Evans has great timing when delivering his lines. My favorite was his question to The Thing about his relationship with Alicia Masters. "I'm just worried I'll wake up and she'll have died in a land slide."

While the main players haven't changed much, the new arrival is quite something. Doug Jones, the rubbber man from such suits as Pan's Labyrinth performs the body works while Lawrence Fishburn (you know where he's from, don't mock me) voices the mercurial menace.

The Silver Surfer is awesome, with his stony face and structurally questionable physique. His movements are smooth and fit well with the characters around him, while at the same time making him appear otherworldly.

Now, I don't really want to spoil much for you here. This film has flaws, and in fact is about as average and underwhelming as I expected, but in a world where Jessica Alba is willing to put on spandex and prance around for us all, why are we asking such questions as "did they really just charge me $10 for popcorn?"

This movie won't win any awards. And I mean any. But give it a try and see if you can look past the poor dialogue and corny acting.

And cartoonish special effects.

And lackluster ending.

And lack of more Jessica Alba.

And...oh hell, just see it and judge for yourself.

For myself, I give this movie a solid five stars.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to watch "House."

It's simply a marvelous show.

Watch carefully.

1 comment:

My celebrities blog said...

yes, Jessica Alba is really hot. The only problem, that "fantastic four" should be about her boobs and buttocks.

And by the way, "Fantastic four" sequel seems to had big success - even better that original.