Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is the second installment in the Fantastic Four series. Many of the attempts at emotional resonance fall flat but the action scenes are shameless entertainment.
Reed Richards, or Mr. Fantastic (played by Ioan Gruffudd) is set to marry Sue Storm, or The Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba) when the world is disrupted by an unknown force. Later it is discovered that the Silver Surfer (physical acting by Doug Jones and voice by Laurence Fishburne) is creating craters that are disrupting more than just what the Fantastic Four can see. The Fantastic Four — Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, Human Torch (Chris Evans) and The Thing (Michael Chiklis) — set out to save the world from the doom the Silver Surfer has bestowed upon them. They must work with the pompous General Hager (Andre Braugher) who brings with him the treacherous Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).
The acting in this sequel is kiddie pool deep at best. There are no painfully shallow scenes, but there are no scenes that stick with you either.
Jessica Alba suffers from a horrific case of the overacties! Every time she makes a force field it looks like she is trying to push it out her butt instead of through her hands. She couldn’t muster an attachment for her fiancé, brother, or long-time friend. The closest she gets to actually portraying an emotional attachment is for the Silver Surfer. I am having Jessica’s last name changed to Albarf.
Ioan Gruffundd is only slightly better. While he can’t seem to look adoringly on his future wife, he can look adoringly on his PDA and scientific equipment. He is in his element when he is discussing the science-ish stuff. He never comes across as heroic because most of his heroic scenes are done poorly, by computer generation, so you never see his face or his mannerisms.
The only actor that caught my attention as particularly good was Doug Jones. He lends his face and dare I say, tremendous body, to the Silver Surfer. The true gift Jones gives the Silver Surfer is the great stone face that only occasionally cracks but does so subtly, avoiding the pitfalls of melodrama.
Usually in movies like this the actors are stunted by the script. Don’t get me wrong, there quite a few minor issues with the screen play but it is the best part of the movie. The characters attempt complexity and in the case of the Silver Surfer, achieve it. There is a lot of funny banter between Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. Even the relationship between Reed Richards and Sue Storm attempts depth, and with better actors, might have achieved it. We aren’t talking middle of the ocean depth here, just deep end of the pool. Even so, there isn’t too much wrong with the script. It has good flow, fun action, and mostly good dialogue. Too bad we couldn’t say the same for the rest of the movie.
This movie suffers from the same problem so many super hero movies do: too many bad guys.
I don’t believe in writing spoilers but I’m going to make an exception this one time. Dodge, the car company, is the major sponsor of the movie. We know this from the repeated product placements and blatant mentions of Dodge products.
Even with all the bad acting and ridiculous product placement, the movie does have pretty enjoyable moments. I loved all the scenes with the Silver Surfer. All of his special effects are fantastic. Lawrence Fishbourne’s voice resonates wonderfully in your head.
I am not going to recommend that you see this movie, nor will I tell you to run screaming from it. If you just need a little mindless entertainment coupled with a mind coma, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer may be the one for you.
Check out another Geeks of Doom review for FF: RotSS here.