Saturday, June 16, 2007

Not So Fantastic

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Directed by: Tim Story
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Doug Jones

God save us! Another sequel this week! This summer has quite turned out to be the summer of sequels. Hope this one is the last!
Move aside, Spider-man, here comes the Fantastic Four. Who wants to see one single superhero fighting his inner demon, or whatever? Here’s four of them, each with their unique powers and a supervillain, who is equally fantastic, and there’s also Fantastic Four’s perennial nemesis Dr Victor Von Doom.
But first, the Fantastic Four. For the uninitiated, the story began in the 2005 original film, which was based on Stan Lee’s comic book heroes, where a scientist Reed Richard, along with his two friends and ex-girlfriend, and Dr Doom, goes to space looking for some clouds of cosmic energy. The cloud soon engulfs them, turning into superbeings. How they return to earth and try to negotiate with their newfound powers formed the crux of the first film, which really did not set the box office ringing.
That did not deter director Tim Story and the producers to come up with the sequel. The highlight this time is the Silver Surfer, who himself is quite heroic in the comic book world, having starring roles in quite a few Marvel publications. Without going deep into his genealogy, he is an alien and a servant of the fearsome cosmic entity known as Galactus. Now, this G-guy eats planets, and our surfer (complete with a surfboard that can fly anywhere) provides them to his master. Predictably, the next delicacy happens to be our dear earth, and Fantastic Four must get their act together to save the world.
But there are problems galore in the quadrangle’s life as well. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and his girlfriend Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) want to get married. But it’s not easy for superheroes to get married without getting public attention. The other two Johnny Strom (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) has two their share of women-related problems.
But the major problem occurs when the surfer appears and Johnny Strom aka Human Torch has an encounter with the surfer and all his powers seemed to be disintegrated. Now, how does the foursome save the world without having their powers in place? Will they join hands with their nemesis Dr Doom?
The highlight is certainly the silver surfer, with a metallic body and the voice of Laurence Fishbourne. How he moves and swishes is awesome, despite the fact that it’s all CGI. And for a change, instead of fighting over city skylines (they do that too), they go to the space for the showdown.
And unlike Spider-Man, the film retains its comic book flavour. It does not go all hyper about realism, and in their own why their the superheroes impress, not to mention a beautiful Alba! And, thank god, they have got a good sense of humour, if not a strong plotline, despite the director being called ‘Story!’
You are disappointed with Spider-Man because you expected much more from him. Don’t expect much and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Rating **1/2 (Good, Well almost)

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