Monday, January 21, 2008

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I finally saw this movie on DVD recently. Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like this. I am a fan of the Fantastic Four comic, and with special effects reaching the point where we can actually see these superheroes do their their thing, you can't help but have high hopes for a movie like this.

But. Um. Wow.

Not just bad. So bad. Bad writing, really ludicrous story. Ridiculous plot holes (such as bringing Victor Von Doom back from the dead with the explanation that... oh wait, there was no explanation. At all).

And the acting? Where do I begin? No one acquits him or herself that well, but the standout awful performance comes from Jessica Alba. I keep wondering how this woman has become a star. All of her dialogue is delivered as though she's reading from cue cards.

I can't really state it better than Cinematical reviewer James Rocchi did in his review of Good Luck Chuck: "Has Alba ever given a performance of any note? Or is she just a well-proportioned mammal where fate and the insane nature of modern fame have mysteriously plucked her from a life of car shows and county fair product demonstrations?"

Yes, James. Precisely. Could not have said it better, my friend.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed. The Galactus/silver surfer storyline is the one really epic moment from Marvel's Lee/Kirby years. The Marvel comics stories from this era were often dedicated to the everyday psychology of the hero in an unheroic world, so I hoped that they wouldn't screw this up--but they did. I'll still go on record as saying that the Silver Surfer has the coolest superhero design ever (both in the comics and in the film), but the film was a big piece of blech.
Q: Victor Von Doom was one of the first villians to have a social vision beyond mere megalomania, so why does he get reduced to idiocy and megalomania in these films?

A: Because the people who make Hollywood Big Budget films always see themselves in the villain.

1/22/2008 7:08 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

The epic nature of this story and its importance in the Marvel canon is partly why I wanted it to be more... significant.

You're so right about Doom, too. What's NOT interesting about a foreign dignitary of a small country having powers and being ruthlessly supportive of his own nation? I think that makes him infinitely more interesting than the pretty-boy version in the movies.

None of the characters have any weight or heft here. They're all pointless stereotypes. Sad.

1/22/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. I think that FF would work best as a TV series like Buffy, Heroes, or Lost. It's a comic about a family--and they all happen to be superheroes--so it's conducive to the serial form. It's suited to showing how relations change over time and in the face of long-term plots and problems. Movie--not so much.

1/22/2008 9:39 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

I could see that working, because you could play up the "family" nature of the story (the smaller observational moments, sly comedy, etc.) on some occasions and the larger battles on other occasions. It would balance better, and allow you to develop the arc.

Kind of like, I don't know... a comic book?

1/22/2008 5:31 PM  
Blogger The Medievalist said...

I haven't seen the film, but the trailers, though glitzy, didn't show much promise. Alba is a very attractive mammal--see Sin City--but that is usually not enough to save an incredibly bad actress. It sounds to me like they made a typical Hollywoood error: forgot they needed a plot.

1/30/2008 9:44 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

I think there's a plot, Medievalist, but I'm not sure it makes sense with the changes made to the characters (from their comic book counterparts). The Silver Surfer/Galactus cycle of stories in the books is a pretty significant one, and here, I couldn't muster up enough energy to care at all. Neither could the characters in the movie.

At least we had Spider Man 3... oh, wait--

1/30/2008 9:47 AM  

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