Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) - The Power Cosmic Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Science Fiction
Fox || PG13 - 92 minutes - $34.98 || October 2, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-09-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Tim Story
Writer(s): John Turman and Mark Frost (story), Don Payne and Mark Frost (screenplay)
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher


Theatrical Release Date: June 15, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Director Commentary
  • Crew Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Extended & Deleted Scenes
  • Family Bonds: The Making of 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer'
  • Interactive Fantasticar
  • 5 Featurettes
  • Still Galleries
  • Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, as sequels go, was surprisingly better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, since the original “Fantastic Four” wasn’t that good to begin with, it’s not too hard to improve from bad. “Rise of the Silver Surfer” doesn’t have much going for it except indifference. Jessica Alba still can’t pull off the Sue Storm roll off that well and once again, the story isn’t that interesting and the villains that menacing. Despite the return of Julian McMahon as Doom and the inclusion of what is arguably a great all-powerful rogue in Galactus, the entire movie was, at best, average. My second viewing now on DVD hasn’t changed my mind one bit. Sometimes movies that falter on the big screen can find redemption at home. Plenty of movies were actually slightly better on the small screen, but “Rise of the Silver Surfer” is not one of them. I’ve reproduced my original (condensed) review here as my overall opinion hasn’t changed:

Original Review:
You can call me a glutton for punishment, but I actually voluntarily went to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer without a gun to my head. After the debacle that was Fantastic Four, the latest entry into the Marvel movie universe can be summed up in three words: It didn’t suck! Classy, right?

I’ve said this time and again for other comic book-to-screen adaptations (mainly Marvel ones), and that is I have never read a single issue these films are based on. The same goes for the “Fantastic Four”. I bring this up again only because I know many “FF” fans are both horrified and angry by the treatment “Galactus” received. Therefore, I can only speak as an outsider, that while I couldn’t give a hoot, I can see how some could get pissed.

"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" opens with our four heroes now living the celebrity life. Tabloids weekly report the latest on the planned nuptials of Reed Richards (Gruffudd) and Sue Storm (Alba), who have tried a few times to get hitched only to be interrupted with their superhero duties. The fourth try gets interrupted when a cosmic being dubbed “Silver Surfer” comes to earth in advance of another force known as “Galactus”, something -- though it’s never explained what it is -- goes through the universe devouring all energy to keep itself alive.

The United States government, headed by a snobbish General (Braugher), enlists the help of the Fantastic 4 and in particular, Richards, to track this being and capture him. The General also, though, receives help from the Fantastic 4’s old nemesis, Victor Von Doom, aka Doctor Doom whose own encounter with the Surfer made Victor whole again and removed the effects that plagued him at the end of the first film.

Alright, enough with the “plot” as it’s not only an issue with the sequel, but it also was a problem with the original and perhaps the franchise as a whole. I realize Fantastic Four isn’t a comic book franchise that can hang with the best like Spider-Man, X-Men (save for #3 on both accounts) and Batman Begins and stating such, this sequel is actually in the middle of the pack. The fact is, however, the plots for both movies never go beyond a single layer. Yes, they try and humanize the four, yet it is still all too superficial. For instance, in this one, Sue is about the walk the aisle and her brother gives her a hug and says, “Dad would be proud.” OK, that’s fine, but what about mom? I guess this is something for the fans to know and the rest to just either ponder or ignore. But I digress, this is actually a minor point...

The biggest fault of this, and the franchise, is the casting of Jessica Alba. Yes, she is hot and more than easy on the eyes, but she was entirely miscast in the role. In the first film, I tolerated her since a good portion of the movie, we were getting to know the four as they discover their powers. In Rise of the Silver Surfer -- and sporting a new due reminding me of Halle Berry’s transformation in X-Men 3 --, she is just not up to the task of overcoming dialogue that if I were to call it “cheesy” would be an understatement.

Julian McMahon as Doom isn’t bad, but for crying out loud, throw the guy a frickin bone. His character has nothing to do and even when he’s onscreen, I never once felt threatened by him. In fact, his entire presence just felt unnecessary more than anything.

Where the film does succeed is simply that it was a good 15-minutes shorter, had enough over the top action sequences -- no matter how ordinary they might be -- and was just an entertaining summer flick that thrived on low expectations and a comparably weak summer.

In closing, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer didn’t suck. That is exactly what I thought walking out of the theater. It didn’t suck. Looking back, I don’t think I should’ve enjoyed it as much as I did. The writing is lazy and the story is even worse as, like the first one, it wasn’t very interesting. Jessica Alba is hot, but given the PG rating, you’re not going to get the same kind of eye candy; and the rest of the cast just go through the motions. It succeeds, for the most part, in the CGI department and does have a certain humor that makes this one tolerable.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Fox has released a 2-Disc “The Power Cosmic Edition” and like most other Marvel 2-Disc sets, it’s on par with the rest like “Ghost Rider” and “Daredevil”.

Disc 1 only features two commentary tracks. The first is with director Tim Story, this time flying solo. I normally prefer commentaries with at least two, but Story does a good job on his own on explaining various storylines and filming the sequel.

The second track features producer Avi Arad, writer Don Payne and editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy. Elliot and Hoy’s portion are together while Arad and Payne’s are spliced in making for an encompassing commentary covering many aspects of the film.

Disc 2 has a good amount of features to keep one, whether a fan of the movie or not, occupied and interested.

Extended and Deleted Scenes (9:37) - 5 scenes are included and for the most part, they’re superficial. One graciously cut sequence has Johnny and The Thing helping Reed prepare for the wedding (shopping for a cake, flowers, etc). The only one that I’m surprised wasn’t saved for an inevitable “extended cut” was an alternate opening credits (much like the one for the original’s extended cut).

Family Bonds: The Making of ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ (46:18) - Whoa, long title... Split into two parts, Pre-Production and Production, this ‘making-of’ featurette once again shows how these kinds of features should be done. While I expected more in terms of cast interviews, it does take you from the first to last days of filming. You get to see the crew scout locations and stunts by the Fan 4.

The Fantasticar: State of the Art (10:28) - Don’t know why, but this featurette interest me more than some, getting to see the making of the Fan 4’s car from foam molding to electronic hookup and filming on the set. Although it could’ve been longer and more detailed, it’s still a neat little featurette.

The Power Cosmic (15:03) - Featurette focusing primarily on The Silver Surfer, taking him from on the set (played by Doug Jones) to making his silver skin in the computer. The crew talks about the challenges on bringing the character to film, getting his exterior just right so it could reflect emotion. They also expand more on the Fan 4 when they switch powers, but the focus is more on The Silver Surfer here.

Sentinel of the Spaceways: Comic Book Origins of The Silver Surfer (38:43) - One guess what this one is about... Like other Marvel DVDs, you get an in-depth look at their character’s comic origins providing interviews with writers and artists who have worked on the comic over the years and showing how they have evolved through the years.

Character Design with Spectral Motion (11:27) - This featurette covers Michael Chiklis’ new The Thing suit that is more breathable than the original. A good part shows the face make-up process he must go through to become The Thing.

Scoring the Fantastic (4:32) - The weaker of the featurettes, but for those interested in scoring, you get some insight from composer John Ottman.

The disc is rounded out with a collection of still galleries (Behind the Scenes, Characters and Concept Art), an Interactive Fantasticar where you can look at all angles of the Fan 4’s mode of transportation plus a collection of trailers.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Fox sends out special screeners for critics which include a small watermark that appears onscreen every 15-minutes or so (and only are onscreen for about a minute). I paid close attention and didn’t notice anything off at first, but while working on screen captures, I did notice some pixilation. I assume this is the copy and will not be present with the final product. Once I have a chance to review that, I will append it here.

The audio, on the other hand, sounds great. No DTS track this time, unfortunately but the Dolby 5.1 mix is just fine and has a nice quality to it.



.::OVERALL::.

“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” the ‘Cosmic Power Edition’ is a nice set and it’s good to see Fox releasing the best now rather than later. That said, I would be cautious that an extended cut would be on its way at some point. DVDs make so much for these studios that double dipping this title is almost certain. I hope that the next round will include a full cast commentary (I’d also like them to use the full opening credits next time). But, if you can find this under $20, it’s certainly worth it for those who appreciate features.