Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Much like the first Fantastic Four movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer isn't aggressively terrible. It's just dull and doesn't seem to have its priorities in order. For a brief, 90 minute movie, way too much time is spent just dealing with these characters that I don't think anyone is that attached to. I don't mean the four themselves, I mean these actors' renditions of them. Michael Chiklis is hammy enough as The Thing and Chris Evans has a bit of charisma as Johnny Storm, but Jessica Alba is just totally out of place as someone like Sue, I still can't even remember the guy who plays Reed, and none of them have any real chemistry together. The movie's supposed to be about the biggest threat the world has ever seen in the form of a powerful presence that is coming to literally eat the planet, but it seems like half the movie is about how hard they can try to make us laugh with and like these characters. Ben's still with his blind girlfriend! The Human Torch is often outrageous! Uh oh, Reed and Sue's wedding was interrupted at the last possible second by a world changing destructive phenomenon!

There's just too much time dedicated to humor that falls flat and character drama no one cares about for the real issues to get their due attention, which leaves them feeling weightless and unimportant. It doesn't matter how much money you pour into animating your scary cloud Galactus (I actually don't have too much of an issue with this design decision because if they did what he really looks like it would come off as ludicrous), it still hardly registers as a threat. Of course Victor Von Doom is back and causing trouble, which does little other than add twenty minutes to a film that seemed to desperately need it. Of course they thought the Silver Surfer was important enough to put in the title so he must be important... and he sort of is I guess. He's the thing they chase after for pretty much the whole movie, and really the only thing keeping it from being totally lifeless. Doug Jones provides his body (seemingly pointlessly) and Larry Fishburne provides his voice (less pointlessly I suppose), and the whole film sort of rests on his shoulders. He's a somewhat interesting presence, although it's one that's handcuffed by some of the lazy plotting in the script that doesn't let him do a whole lot. Just like the first movie, there's a strange lack of action, with only a couple scenes that even approach being describable as exciting, and maybe one actual fight. If there's one thing I don't understand about these two movies its their total failure to actually have action in them. Lots of super hero movies seem to have this problem actually, even the good ones, but when you don't really have anything else, it's pretty disappointing when you can hardly even deliver on that front. So like its predecessor, this film is a well-meaning but disappointingly boring and unremarkable failure.