Fantastic for 4-year-olds
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer might be a great movie if youre under 10. Theres plenty of brightly-colored but not-too-intense action, and tons of nonsensical catchphrase moments (like oh, crap!) that youngsters can repeat ad nauseum to the consternation of their parents. But to any one outside of that demographic, the plot proves too dumb and uninteresting, and the action and effects are too watered-down to elicit any sort of genuine reaction.The first movie was a hack-job superhero flick that aimed for teenagers but missed if anything, this one seems deliberately aimed at youngsters with loads of sub-Spongebob throwaway jokes and barest attention paid to story. We rejoin the Fantastic Four Mr. Fantastic aka Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), The Invisible Woman aka Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), The Thing aka Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) and The Human Torch aka Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) as theyre trying to come to grips with the fame of being superheroes. Some revel in it, like the spotlight-seeking Johnny, while Reed and Sue lament their need to cancel their nuptials because of press overexposure or some pesky world crisis popping up.Right on cue, seas start freezing and holes are bored into the earth as a mysterious silver bolt streaks past picturesque landmarks of Earth. Disaster cancels Reed and Sues wedding, and the Fantastic Four have to spring back into action. The blot ends up being the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne), a mysterious interplanetary being who locates planets and prepares them to be devoured by Galactus, a gigantic, intergalactic, glowing cloud-like thing. Wheee!
A callous U.S. general gets involved, as they always do, and Dr. Doom reappears from the first film, at first to help and then, of course, to betray. The Silver Surfer surfs through buildings, the Human Torch blazes across the sky, Thing lifts, er, things, and Mr. Fantastic stretches his limbs some but mostly fiddles with his hyper-PDA. The Invisible woman goes invisible from time to time, but usually Jessica Alba blows time by looking confused and concentrating really hard to create her unconvincing force fields. Her dinner-plate size fake blue contact lenses certainly dont help: They make her look like a dazed-and-confused kewpie doll from beyond.Albas never been a strong actress, but this is among her worst work same goes for almost everyone involved. Chiklis has a few nice moments from beneath all that orange crud, but thats about it. It doesnt help that the script by Mark Frost and Don Payne contains howlers like, Your encounter with the surfer has effected your molecules. It could cause you to temporally switch powers. Of course! Better turn on the hi-tech device with the all-important spinning lights to make sure, though…On the brighter side, this movie is PG and appropriate for kids too young to handle the darker forays of Spider-Man or Jack Sparrow this season. Parents might have a good time, too, if they can just let their eyes glaze over and take it for the overblown Saturday-morning cartoon it is. The Silver Surfer is interesting to watch as he glides in mid-air and carves perfect turns down the sides of buildings. Hes a cipher with nothing to him, but his slick moves might make you pine for snowboarding season dead in the middle of summer.Arts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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