Thursday, June 14, 2007


By Reymundo Salao

Reed Richards and Sue Storm are about to get married, but their plans for a normal wedding are interrupted when the Fantastic Four must face a menace that threatens Earth. The enigmatic Silver Surfer, who is the herald of Galactus, the devourer of worlds has come in order to prepare for the destruction of the Earth. Forced to have an uneasy alliance with their former nemesis Dr. Doom, the Fantastic Four must find a way to stop the destruction of the planet. But Dr. Doom has his own plans.

Known as Marvel's first family of superheroes, the Fantastic Four is best defined in the comic book genre as the most wholesome comic book series. Faithful to that concept, the movie was able to keep it just as light and wholesome but not going as low as making it too goofy and childish, just like what happened to Spider-man 3. This sequel gladly contests other Marvel adaptations that have come out this year. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer had well-balanced elements for a superhero movie. It was able to inject confrontational action scenes as well as rescue scenes at the same time. It had just the right amount of mushy romantic elements that compensated with the cheerful humor. It was even able to present a menacing villain without having to radically darken the tone of the movie. Well-balanced as it should be, the film is both simple and extravagant, mixing eye candy sci-fi action with perky humor and lively character elements. The FANTASTIC FOUR was created by writer-editor (& comic book living icon) Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby (who is also a comic book icon) in 1961 and it has since never simmered down its mass appeal among comic book fans.

Staying true to the comic books, Fantastic Four has always been the superhero group that doesn’t delve into too much dark dramatic elements. It focuses more of either its heavily-detailed outlandish science fiction storylines or the character elements that make this superhero group more of a family than just an ordinary superhero team.

The movie manages to make its heroic characters lovable and charming. Their likable qualities make them look as if they are the "Friends" (as in TV series Friends) of the superhero genre. Ioan Gruffud as Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards still maintains his oftentimes funny nerdy character, Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman Sue Storm balances well as his beloved partner, playing a fiancĂ© that doesn’t resort in predictable clichĂ©d character, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm the Human Torch shows more layers of character than his cocky boyish personality, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm, The Thing, is ever so cool as the clobbering, lovable blue-eyed thing. Also returning is the character of Dr. Victor Von Doom played by Julian McMahon, who is now a scarier, more intimidating villain who always seems to be keeping something sinister hidden under his sleeve. The story introduces Silver Surfer, physically played by Doug Jones & voiced by Lawrence Fishburne. This new character was brought to life with the aid of some very impressive special effects.

Just as good as the first Fantastic Four movie (2005), this sequel is directed by the same director Tim Story. And this time, he brings forth a more exciting action-packed storyline. Having dispensed with the obligatory introduction phase on the first movie, this sequel easily jumps into action mode. And indeed this movie has superior action sequences that will definitely please its fans. So much so that thinking back about those action scenes makes me want to go watch this movie again this weekend.

Like every other big blockbuster event movie, this one has an extra scene in the middle of the credits. That means that when the end credits start rolling; don’t go straight out the theater just yet till you’ve seen that extra scene. (You can skip the next paragraph because it may have possible unintentional spoilers. Jump to the next paragraph if so)

The only tiny disappointment I have is that Galactus is not shown in this movie. Not even when his presence is felt. Perhaps it was done in order to play safe with the possibility of not having to work with a third movie. But I very much doubt that because this movie is so excellent that it is inevitable that they would surely be working on a third movie.

I think what makes it a great movie is that it strives to be just true to the content of the source material. It does not attempt to cram itself with needless action scenes. It does not venture to invest in needless romantic elements as well, neither does it try to pretentiously dilly-dally all too much on the scientific mumbo-jumbo. In other words, it does not try to be something that it is not, just to score some more ticket sales or to please a certain audience. It just goes to translate the fun and action of the Fantastic Four comic book experience on to the silver screen. Just plain and simple, take it or leave it. This simplicity makes it a movie adaptation that really works. FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is plain action packed, family-friendly, sci-fi fun. Spectacular and simply entertaining, you do not want to miss this.