Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The Power Cosmic Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Tim Story

Cast

Ioan Gruffudd Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards
Jessica Alba The Invisible Woman/Susan Storm
Chris Evans Human Torch/Johnny Storm
Michael Chiklis The Thing/Ben Grimm
Laurence Fishburne The Silver Surfer (voice)
Julian McMahon………Dr. Doom/Victor Von Doom

DVD Release Date: October 2, 2007
Rating: PG
Running Time: 92 Minutes

The Movie

In what can only be considered the wedding of the century, Sue Storm and Reed Richards are all set to get married. When put like that, it doesn’t quite seem like a wedding that the entire world would be waiting for. But knowing it is the holy matrimony of the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic, then it’s a different story altogether. It doesn’t help to have the Thing and the Human Torch as your wedding party either. Still, the problem of being part of the world’s greatest superhero team has spurred some calculated risks and impeded their wedding before so Sue is hoping this time will be different.

She was right as this time was different but not in the way she had hoped. During their ceremony, a huge electromagnetic shock shuts down the power in all objects within a good couple mile radius. Sue and the team can ignore it of course, but soon must try and save their guests from imminent death. Shortly after their heroics, a being that would come to be known as the Silver Surfer zooms over the top of their wedding and takes off in a blast of cosmic energy.

Upon doing some research, Mr. Fantastic learned that the Silver Surfer has been creating deep craters all over Earth. They must do all they can to stop him and learn that his reasons are for appearing on their planet. One problem persists and it’s that the Fantastic Four can’t quite stop him on their own and they’ll need the help of an even greater mind. That of their arch-enemy, Dr. Doom. Doom has volunteered his help to save the planet although his ulterior motives are to steal the Surfer’s board and gain complete power.

When the Fantastic Four finally do stop the Surfer and Doom has taken off on his board, the team learns that the Surfer is nothing but a messenger for a far greater power. He has come to Earth in order to save his home planet and his people from being destroyed. The craters he has been leaving are getting the planet ready for the coming of Galactus. Galactus is a devourer of worlds and aims to destroy Earth in order to harness its energy as his own. The team must do everything they can to survive but they may have finally met their match in a being that is like nothing they have ever seen.

The first Fantastic Four was ripped to shreds by critics far and near, but it made enough money at the box office and in DVD sales to merit a sequel. It wouldn’t surprise me if a third or possibly a fourth film is made because again the sequel surpassed its budget in total box office sales alone. I just don’t get why the films have to be so hard to hate and so easy to dislike.

Filmmakers seemed to veer off of a consistent story from the comic books and just take random parts from here and there to put together a full length film. Check out Spider-Man or even the original Superman franchises and you’ll see that a similar storyline is followed in each film and even connects all of them. The only thing that is carried over from the first film to Rise of the Silver Surfer is the characters of the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom.

Seeing the film and knowing nothing about the history of the team would make it a truly enjoyable experience. It’s a gorgeous film with special effects due to blow your mind and some battles that will make you “ooh” and “ahh.” The characters are fun and bring about seriousness along with a good bit of comedy to keep things light for a much more intense second half of the film leading the climax. The opportunities are there, but there just aren’t enough people completely ignorant to the Fantastic Four in order to garner this type of audience.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all with the film is the form of Galactus. For months leading up to its release, discussions had been going back and forth as to whether he would show up in his gigantic robotic form that is seen in the comic books. And don’t think I’m spoiling it for you here, but come on, a giant cloud? That was just really weak and turned me off in a big way. From what I’ve heard, he didn’t show up in his giant form because the filmmakers thought it would be laughable and too unbelievable. It’s a comic book movie for the love of God. What could possibly be believable about it at all?

The Video

The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it looks simply amazing. All special effects are first rate and simply blow your mind. One of the best scenes in the entire film is when the Human Torch chases the Silver Surfer and you’re able to witness the two CGI characters one-on-one. Rise Of The Silver Surfer is beautiful and filmmakers should take notice.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and also does a great job with the music and special effects sounds such as energy blasts or the Surfer gliding through the air. One problem is that the noise and music does overpower the dialogue in some scenes and makes it quite hard to hear.

Special Features

Audio Commentaries – There are two commentaries presented on this special edition. The first is from director Tim Story all by his lonesome. The second comes from producer Avi Arad, writer Don Payne, and editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy. As much as I’m against solo commentaries, Story’s is by far the superior one here. He gives so much information about what he would do differently, what he had to leave out, and how far back in the comics he went. It is truly enjoyable to listen to and makes it seem as if he was hoping for the final cut of the film to be well over three hours long. The second commentary is rather boring and mostly consists of the editors and writer complaining what they couldn’t do. Just isn’t that good and I would have personally enjoyed having Avi Arad sit with Story for a commentary together but it wasn’t meant to be.

Extended And Deleted Scenes – Five scenes with a little extra stuff here and there but nothing really noteworthy. These scenes wouldn’t have helped the film any by being in it and didn’t hurt it at all by being left out. Tim Story provides optional commentary on each of them.

Family Bonds – Story and the crew get everything together in this forty-six minute feature showing all the steps needed in order to get the film ready to shoot. It details everything from finding locations to film, creating props, and just anything needing to be done for the ball to get rolling. It is a fun watch seeing how the director pulls everyone together in order to make them work as a team.

Interactive Fantasticar – A comprehensive look at the team’s hover car from different angles in drawn images.

The Fantasticar: State Of The Art – A close to eleven minute feature with not only the history of the car dating back to the comics, but a look at how the designers got it off the ground for the film. It’s a nice little feature with insight on the modernizations put into the comic version and just everything that went into creating it.

The Power Cosmic – The creation of the Silver Surfer himself took lots of special effects and plenty of motion capture work from actor Doug Jones in order to get Galactus’ herald as real looking as possible. This fifteen minute featurette is an inside look at how the shiny guy with a board came to life.

Sentinel Of The Spaceways: Comic Book Origins Of The Silver Surfer – Forty minutes of interviews with such greats as Stan Lee and Ron Marz as they fill you in on all things Silver Surfer. It is nice to see that background information wasn’t needed as much here for the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom since they already were featured in one film by themselves. A lot of DVD sequels will carry over stuff from one film to the next in the special features and create overkill. Here the history of the Surfer dating back to the comics is showcased. It gives a lot more information on why he feels the way he does about Earth, Galactus, and his people. A fantastic (pardon the pun) feature.

Character Design With Spectral Motion – Coming in at close to twelve minutes is a feature that I truly enjoyed. It shows the creation of The Thing and how Michal Chiklis was transformer from his brawny self into the bulky rock monster.

Scoring The Fantastic – John Ottman sits down and gives a brief five minute discussion on the music used in the film. He discusses themes created specifically for certain characters and other uses of music from the first film into the sequel.

Theatrical Trailers

TrailersThe Simpsons Movie, Live Free Or Die Hard, Fantastic Four, X-Men, X-Men: United, X-Men: The Last Stand, Dark Angel, Deck The Halls and Futurama: Bender’s Big Score

The Inside Pulse

You won’t be able to hate everything about this film and you simply won’t be able to like much about it either, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll watch it more then once if you buy it. Rise of the Silver Surfer had so much potential just as Fantastic Four did but they blew it. Yet I couldn’t help but find myself enjoying parts of it and geeking out because Dr. Doom had come back and the Silver Surfer had the Human Torch by the throat. I’m not sure if they realized the film wasn’t the best thing in the world or not either, but they really made up for it in the special features. Not including the commentaries, there is close to three hours of extra stuff to do and they are very informative and a lot of fun. If you’re planning on picking up the film, do yourself a favor and spend the few extra bucks for the two-disc set to get all the special features or you’ll be extremely disappointed. And if you truly hate the franchise so far, be prepared because you’re bound to see another film or two before all is said and done. FLAME ON!

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
The Power Cosmic Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

5.5
THE VIDEO

10
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

4
OVERALL
7
(NOT AN AVERAGE)