Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer AKA 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
R1 - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (27th October 2007).
The Film

It had to have been in the contract. When 'Fantastic Four' opened to scathing reviews and lukewarm fan reaction, nobody expected anything close to thoughts of a sequel. So, when director Tim Story and company announced a sequel, everybody, and I mean everybody, was scratching their heads. The fans were happy to know that the movie would include the Silver Surfer. Indeed, the filmmakers had a hit handed to them on a silver platter, as the Silver Surfer and the Galactus Trilogy is one of the better arcs in the Fantastic Four mythos. The Silver Surfer is, in my mind, one of the better heroes in the Marvel Universe.

The movie has the Silver Surfer coming to Earth and making big holes in various places, while the Fantastic Four - Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), Human Torch (Chris Evans) and Thing (Michael Chiklis) - have to try and stop him. At less than 85 minutes (without the credits), the movie really moves. Whether it's important or not, the movie speeds through plot points and logic, rarely staying anywhere for more than a few minutes.

Oh, what logical and factual flaws there are. I won't go into the wacky science this movie enters into and I'm sure Intuitor would go insane watching the movie, but even within these strange laws of physics, there are still some problems. For example: if the Silver Surfer disrupts all power and renders every piece of machinery dormant, how can Doctor Doom film his encounter with the Surfer? The army is also portrayed as ignorant, stupid and ultimately pointless. Everybody has been trusting the Fantastic Four for years, but now, for some reason, the army thinks they can solve everything, even when the Fantastic Four and their super powers can't seem to handle things after one measly encounter? Give me a break.

These kinds of flaws aside, the movie actually works pretty well. From start to finish, there are special effects galore and they're incredibly well done. From the helicopter crash in the beginning, to the Ferris Wheel sequence in the middle to the (scientifically impossible) climax, the excitement and energy in these scenes make the movie something better it should be. The budget is bigger and the creativity is higher, making for stunning setpieces.

That's too bad, though, because, emotionally, the involvement is somewhat lacking. The characters haven't seemed to change much since the first movie, other than settle down. These guys are just about as silly or cookie-cutter as they were before. They don't change, either, in the movie. None of these four have any kind of arc or transformation. The Silver Surfer (played by Doug Jones, voiced by Laurence Fishburne) is the only character that has any kind of emotional change, and he hardly says anything, and has no facial expressions.

However, as in the first movie, there's not really time to get bored. The movie never loses momentum. It's just that there are problems with what you're seeing. However, this time the filmmakers didn't have to introduce the group, and instead focused on the plot. Unfortunately, this is a fascinating plot that could have made the movie longer, and ultimately better. As it is, it succeeds better than the first part, but it still needs to work on its science. However, there's one big disappointment, and I won't say what it is, for fear of giving away too much. I will say that it had to do with Galactus, but I will say it seemed to be a bit of a cop-out. Otherwise, the movie is entertaining and is a good comic-book movie.


2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. As may be expected here, the movie looks fantastic. Colours are accurate and natural. The contrast is great and there’s little to no noise in the entire movie. Even in the darker scenes, there picture is smooth and natural. There no other compression artifacts, as well, and pixelation and edge enhancement are not seen. The detail is incredible and every line is sharp and accurate. Comparatively speaking, the picture is as impressive as the Blu-ray transfter.


There’s an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and two dubs, French and Spanish (both Dolby Digital 2.0 surround) to choose from. As may be expected, Fox spent some time on this track and the results are pretty nice. In the very first shot of the movie, with the exploding planet, directionality and positions are very accurate. The subwoofer gives out some nice lower frequencies to help things out. Throughout the movie, things stay that way. Given there are not very many quiet spots, the dialogue scenes don’t have to be talked about much. The dialogue is clear, though, and the volume levels are very nice. The mixing job in this movie should please anybody.
English and Spanish subtitles are provided.


Fox was nice to this movie, providing two full discs of extras.

On the first disc, you get two audio commentaries. The first is with director Tim Story. Mr. story is proud of his movie, even if his enthusiasm doesn't seem to show it. He does talk about every important thing, like the effects, the actors, the characters and the comic book. He goes into a lot of detail about artistic license and the changes he made between the comic and his movie. He also talks about the nice little nods he made to the first movie and to the comic book. He has a lot of dead air, but it's an okay track for fans of the film. The second is a bit better and has creator/executive producer Avi Arad, screenwriter Don Payne and editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy. They give out more stories from the set and provide more laughs. They seem to be more relaxed and are generally more interesting than Mr. Story. There's also less dead time with four people on the track.

The second disc starts off with some Extended and Deleted Scenes. There are about 9 ½ minutes of cut scenes. They are: Full Main Title (3:50), Fantastic Store (1:10), Wedding Montage (2:01), Reed Gets Crushed Ring (1:11) and Doom Builds Arm Band & Covers His Mask (1:16). Some of these scenes are interesting. The second one adds a bit of depth to the Fantastic Four and their financial situation. The third and fourth add a bit of humour and the last one, again, adds a bit of depth, this time to Doctor Doom. Cutting them doesn't make the movie better or worse, but the scenes do offer some interesting little bits. Mr. Story also provides a commentary for these scenes, where he explains why they were cut. It's pretty obvious why, so his comments, though nice, are somewhat unnecessary.

A very nice documentary, Family Bonds: The Making of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (46:11) is next. The doc follows pre-production and production up until the last day of principle photography. Why post-production (a time where the movie is made or broken) is skipped is anybody's guess, but what you see is great. There's great behind the scenes footage of everything goofing off and working. You see Doug Jones shooting the Silver Surfer stuff, Michael Chiklis shooting his scenes with the bear, Jessica Alba shooting her torch scene and a bunch of other stuff. It's really fun and the crew seemed to have had a ton of fun on set. Nobody here seemed stressed or pissed. It may be a bit rosy in its portrayal of making a film, but it's a lot of fun to watch.

The Blu-ray disc has a couple of exclusive extras, and so does the standard DVD. Here, there's a Interactive Fantasticar gallery. This is basically a gallery of the Fantasticar. You choose the view you want to see and get the picture of that angle. The pictures are design pictures and not final product pictures.

The Featurettes section is next, starting with The Fantasticar: State of the Art (10:37) featurette is next. As you may guess, the filmmakers talk about the Fantasticar. The design people talk about working on the car from the comic book, tweaking it and putting this into the computer. Then they mention doing the physical model. All throughout these explanations, you see what they're talking about, making this a pretty nice featurette. The Power Cosmic (15:10) follows, in which the Silver Surfer in relation to the movie is talked about. The visual effects guys talk about working with Doug Jones and about the comic book and how they integrated the actor and the comic into the movie. The effects work achieved in the movie is also discussed, as you see behind the scenes footage of Mr. Jones and the effects team. It's actually quite nice to see how everything came together, and it seemed a lot more complex that it might at first seem.

Still in the Featurttes section is a terrific documentary about the Silver Surfer called Sentinel of the Spaceways: Comic Book Origins of the Silver Surfer (39:02). It basically tells you about Silver Surfer and his evolution since his first appearance in 1965. Stan Lee talks about how Silver Surfer came about, and then tells you how he dealt with the character. Then, the piece goes through each of the artists and writers that have written for the Silver Surfer. Each artist and writer says what the previous one contributed and adds what he tried to do with the character. This is a fascinating documentary for a fascinating character.

Finishing off this section are Scoring the Fantastic (4:39) and Character Design with Spectral Motion (11:34). The first has John Ottman talking about the score and the score was accomplished. He talks about the musicians and the schedule and his inspiration for some of the motifs. It's a nice featurette, but it's a bit short. The second is about Michael Chiklis and his costume. The costume guys come in and talk about how he gets ready for the suit and how the suit works. A really interesting thing is that the last half of the featurette is Mr. Chiklis sitting at his chair, getting his makeup on. It's a lot of work and it's a lot fun to watch.

Three Still Galleries follow. There is: 'Behind the Scenes' (with 21 pictures), 'Characters' (with 45 pictures) and 'Concept Art' (with 30 pictures) to choose from. These are all pretty nice galleries and there are some really nice pictures in here.

To finish things off, a few Trailers are present. Theatrical Trailer A (1:38), Theatrical Trailer B (2:03), 'Fantastic Four' (2:25), 'X-Men' (2:00), 'X-Men: United' (1:42), 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (1:34), 'Dark Angel' (1:02), 'Deck the Halls' (2:26) and 'Futurama: Bender's Big Score' Sneak Peek (2:03) have trailers. I can't wait for the 'Futurama' movie. Disc one also has start-up trailers for 'The Simpsons Movie' (1:50) and 'Die Hard 4.0' (1:18).


The Film: B- Video: A Audio: A- Extras: A- Overall: A-


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