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  Publicity Stills of
"Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Comics/Action
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.fantasticfourmovie.com

Opening Day: 14 June 2007


Marvel’s first family of superheroes, the Fantastic Four are back in this sequel to the 2005 blockbuster. The superhero team includes: Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic, who can elongate his body; Susan Storm / Invisible Woman, who not only can become invisible at will but can render other objects invisible; Johnny Storm / Human Torch, who can shoot fire from his finger tips and bend flame; and Ben Grimm / The Thing, a hideously misshapen monster with superhuman strength.

The Fantastic Four meet their greatest challenge yet 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, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope is lost.

Movie Review:

Forget Spidey, Captain Jack and that bland green ogre. The coolest dude to literally surf through this year’s summer blockbusters is The Silver Surfer. And upping the cool factor is how he sounds just like the zen Morpheus from the Matrix series.

Providing the voice for this intergalactic herald is Laurence Fishburne, and the actor playing this Marvel Comics creation is Doug Jones. The underrated actor is a favourite for hiding his face behind masks – he played the odd aqua creature Abe Sapien in 2004’s Hellboy and the creepy Pale Man in 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth.

This seamlessly CG-created character has to square off with Marvel Comic’s first superhero family The Fantastic Four. Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles were probably inspired by them, thought they differentiated themselves with a red-themed costume,

Just as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) thought they could settle down to lead normal lives (they even want to have kids), along came The Silver Surfer on his cool surf board, wreaking destruction wherever he goes. Trouble also comes in the form of Dr. Doom – No, the filmmakers did not kill him off in the 2005 movie.

What exciting lives superheroes lead, we hear you say.

This popcorn flick provides 92 minutes of lightweight, harmless and unsurprisingly, juvenile fun. Remember how Jessica Alba’s Invisible Woman made male viewers drool with her naked wardrobe malfunction? You’ll get that in this sequel. Remember how Chris Evan’s Human Torch irritated mild-mannered viewers with his irksome egoistic behavior? You’ll get that in this sequel too.

But repeating the fun formula is exactly what this movie is all about. And returning director Tim Story has given us just that.

Michael Chiklis still makes us wonder how he managed to survive the hectic shooting schedule behind The Thing’s bulky orange outfit. And Ioan Gruffudd still looks kind of bored playing Mr. Fantastic, despite the mindlessly entertaining fun going around him.

With a plot involving world destruction, the filmmakers jumped at the chance to utilize the effects created by the computer animation unit to blow up skyscrapers and turn oceans into wastelands. Other than Mr. Fantastic’s awkwardly uncomfortable stretching, the other effects do not disappoint.

So you see, for a popcorn flick like this, no one really cares about intense character developments, how climatic crises are detected by sophisticated machines, and all other attempts by the scriptwriters to insert themes of responsibility and nobility into the story.

If we have Alba’s perfectly toned skin in place, Evan’s cheeky one-liners littering the movie, Chiklis’ amusing performance inside his orange suit, creator Stan Lee’s obligatory cameo, and not forgetting the uber-cool surfer dude, then we would be duly satisfied.

We know how you money-raking financers and distribution companies are already planning this: Bring on the next sequel!

Movie Rating:

(The Silver Surfer will coolly breeze you through one and a half hours of mindless, entertaining fun)

Review by John Li

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