Silver Surfer has a Nice Shine

I went to see Fantastic Four: The Rise of Silver Surfer at a midnight showing at the Metreon in downtown San Francisco. I went into this movie with very low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and recommend this movie as a good summer “popcorn movie”. I was in the audience with some enthusiastic fans so that probably tipped the balance.

I did not see the 2005 movie in the theater. I waited for it to come out on DVD. I may have seen it for the first time on a 2 inch iPod screen. It too surprised me. That gave me a little hope that I might enjoy this sequel.

In preparation, I visited Wikipedia to find out who Silver Surfer was. I have not read the comic and I am not really that familiar with the Fantastic Four, let along their nemesis. I first heard of the Silver Surfer from a Marvel Comic Screen Saver that I beta tested for Berkeley Systems in the early ’90s. This was also my introduction to the X-Men. I’m glad I read up on Silver Surfer or I may not have understood one key point on the story. The movie plot line pretty much follows the origin story as told in Wikipedia,

One complaint that I have with the movie has to do with the Von Doom character’s return. It is not really explained. You see someone working on him and then he’s suddenly back. They could have done more with that character. There is a sub-plot about them working together. It starts off in the right direction and then goes awry when Doom goes against his own logic.

The comedy was good. The characters are getting more used to their powers. You got to see Mr. Fantastic stretch a lot. Invisible Girl’s powers are the most improved. At one point she describes an ability that we fortunately do not get to see. The other two characters are used well and their relationships are developing. The comedy is kept PG for the most part without being too juvenile. Invisible Girl once again gets some screen time without her clothes in an embarrassing moment. The city sent them a bill for damages after a thwarted robbery.

The special effects were top notch. The bar has been raised so high nowadays that this caliber of effects have become expected. There were only a couple of scenes that caught my eye as being original. The planet killer animation reminded me of the now 25 year old animation sequence from Star Trek II of the Genesis planet. What was state of the art then barely keeps ones interest today.

The Silver Surfer character was voiced by Lawerence Fishburne. He gives a strong silent performance. I would have like the character to interact more with our stars so we could learn more about him. We learn that he’s a he and that he has a she back home somewhere that he is keeping safe. Ultimately its a comic book movie so I’ll get over it.

Finally the movie played a little bit like a travel log. The main characters jumped from London to China to New York to Siberia almost instantly. Fortunately they now have a flying convertible to get them from place to place. Oh yeah, its got a Hemi. Look the the Silver Surfer to get a movie of his own at a theater near you. Perhaps well get some character development to give us more insight into the character.

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