Monday, October 08, 2007

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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Movie marketing is a funny thing, take Spiderman 3, all Summer long we were bombarded with posters of Spiderman face down with his dark alter ego (Venom) staring back at him. Come the actual movie and 2 hours in everyone started to wonder where on Earth the prickly tongued villian had vanished to. Sure Spiderman’s black suit did feature prominently but it was one example of a time when movie marketing can lead you down the wrong path and totally destroy your opinion of a movie (had the posters featured Sandman or New Goblin people would have been far less disappointed).

By comparison Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ran with posters not only showing the core four, but also with the Silver Surfer taking up an equal amount of poster space. Luckily this movie campaign was one that paid off, and thanks to a trailer which only showed one scene from the movie, audiences were more than impressed with the final result. By keeping hype (and expectations) low the end movie seemed far stronger for it.

Sure there are flaws, the reappearance of Dr Doom is generally weak (‘Let’s trust the bad guy, he’s our only hope yada yada…’) but the overall ending more than makes up for that. There’s also a rather interesting development with the foursomes powers which you’ll either love or hate, and every appearance of the Silver Surfer more than makes up for any problems with the script.

Visually FF:ROTSS is everything you’d want from a typical summer blockbuster. Whilst the Silver Surfer may at first glance look no more advanced than the villain in Terminator 2 you’ll soon spot some great lighting effects, and the way various backdrops are reflected off his body and board is handled very well. Clearly realising he’s the best part about the new movie there’s an in-depth documentary on his origins on the DVD even if you opt for the 1 disk version.

As with the original there are some elements of heart to the new movie, mostly revolving around the marriage of two heroes and their desire to leave the world of butt kicking behind them. Thankfully unlike the original this doesn’t act as baggage that drags down the action and instead functions as a nice arc to the story by staying away from being anything too serious or soppy.

Whilst it may not be the most visually impressive summer movie (that would be Transformers) or action packed (Bourne Ultimatum) it’s also not the most bloated (Pirates) or over the top (Spiderman 3) and as such it sits up there with the Simpson’s movie as one of the true unexpected treats of the Summer. Rent it or buy it and enjoy a super hero movie with heart but without having to tread through the intestines and stomach to get there first…

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