Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer continues the adventures of Sue Storm, AKA The Invisible Girl (Jessica Alba), Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing (Michael Chiklis), and Johnny Storm, AKA The Human Torch (Chris Evans). However, in this go round they want to get right to the action so rather than give us the impending wedding between Richards and Storm, we see that Reed's mind is elsewhere. Apparently, a comet is coming towards the planet that is causing all kinds of problems for everybody. There are blackouts, power failures, tidal ranges and just about everything else one might expect when things are going hinky in the atmosphere. Well, it turns out that this isn't a comet but rather The Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) who seems bent on destroying Earth. No real reason is given for this except that The Silver Surfer has done this before and he plans to do it again. Also facing the Fantastic Four is their old nemesis Victor Von Doom (Julian MacMahon) who made his hatred of them so clearly known in the original big screen fable.
While one could jump all over this movie for being extremely short on plot (it seems they might have gone too much in the other direction this time), I would be hardpressed not to say that if action is what you want than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer more than delivers.
There are two commentary tracks on this release. They are:
- Commentary by director Tim Story
- Commentary by producer Avi Arad, writer Don Payne and film editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy
I was really happy to see a track that just featured the director by himself and that is why I chose to listen to it. Basically, Tim Story explains that in with the first movie they maybe spent a little too much time building up to the effects and eventual confrontations that people wanted to see. With this movie they wanted things to be different. (What he doesn't mention is that he left a great deal of the plot points out!). He then talks about the production, working with the actors, what it takes to pull off these kinds of visual effects and just about everything else. While I am sure that the second commentary has it's share of nuggets, I felt that I got more than enough only going with Tim Story.
Extended / Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary by director Tim Story)
Family Bonds: The Making of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Documentary
I hadn't meant to watch this mainly because I felt like a "Making Of" piece on a release of this nature would be of the puff variety. That said, I clicked the wrong button and once it started I just figured I'd let it play. Also, having already listened to one commentary that was sure to cover a lot of the same ground, I felt that there was bound to be some overkill. There was but it was cool to hear from the cast, director and other creators about what it took for them to bring this project off. Their is talk of character development, effects work (which we see in parts) and basically this segment plays as an extended EPK for this film.
Interactive FantastiCar Concept Images Gallery
If you want to see the FantasiCar in all it's glory than this section of the DVD is for you. We are shown this machine's early origins from scratch paper-like photos to what the finished product eventually became. While I wouldn't say that this was some must see section, I will say that if you think the FantastiCar is cool you should definitely give this thing a look.
Sentinel of the Spaceways: Comic Book Origins of The Silver Surfer Featurette
They have put four other featurettes on this disc. They are:
- The FantastiCar: State of the Art Featurette
- The Power Cosmic Special Effects Featurette
- Character Design With Spectral Motion Featurette
- Scoring the Fantastic Featurette
Due to time reasons I couldn't take all of these featurettes down but having visited the actual location, I decided to first watch the Character Design With Spectral Motion Featurette. This is such an interesting place because it's where they design the characters that inhabit this world. It is amazing how these effects are often put together in parts (like the character in The Thing suit) and then reworked digitally to appear as one on screen. You can actually read more about my Spectral Motion visit here.
After this, I decided to do something I don't normally do and that was watch a featurette about the music from this movie. Titled Scoring the Fantastic Featurette we get to hear from members of the Music Department about why this movie has the score that it does. They talk about trying to give the director what he wanted, giving the characters their own scores and trying to utilize the music to further create a big screen experience.
Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Aside from some reservations I might have about this movie being devoid of a plot, I would be lying if I said that it didn't look good on this release. There is a richness to all the images and a clarity that I don't think I have seen on too many other Standard releases. In fact, about halfway through this film I couldn't help but wonder what this movie might look like on Blu-ray disc. I found that the CGI shots were seamlessly integrated into what was being presented on screen. Also, the images didn't shift in their color ranges during the action or during the interior or exterior transitions.
Dolby. The biggest mistake I made in watching Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was that I didn't do it on a better system. I know you are probably wondering why I would do that, but let me just say that I didn't have the time to get to where I can screen DVDs in their best possible way. So I was forced to go with my 13", one speaker TV and while the audio sounded good, I must admit that I don't think I can give a true description of the sound without rescreening this movie on a better set up. However, things did sound good for being all put out through the same speaker.
This packaging is very fancentric and even though I wouldn't call myself a fanboy, it is very cool. It is almost black, except for the lights of the city behind it and it features the Silver Surfer zooming along. The back of this cover gives us some more shots from the film, a description of what Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs. All in all they have made this 2-Disc release something to economically fit in your collection.
Okay, this is going to be the portion of the review that I vent a little bit. I didn't think that the original Fantastic Four was that great, but I felt that for what it was it made its point. I think Tim Story feels that he has a handle on these characters and this is why he makes the movies that he does. This is fine...
Now, why in the world did they feel that they needed to continue the franchise with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? This movie doesn't seem to know what it wants to do except if you count employing loads and loads of CGI as a goal. I think that too many times people try and make more out of these comic book movies then should be the case. These things are fun but aside from Batman Returns I really can't say that I have seen a property that had a great deal of depth.
At its best Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is a fun sequel that tries to establish these characters as being basically what we thought they were in the first Fantastic Four. There is nothing wrong with that, I just don't know that Fox really needed to be belabor the point again.
Dont't forget to also check out: Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer