Sunday, June 17, 2007

Movie Log: Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

First impression: that was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe the bar for superhero movies is much higher these days then I'm used to (I don't see PG-13 action movies much, since my sons are too young for them, my wife doesn't care for them, and I'm not all that interested myself), but this was a perfectly adequate, entertaining movie with almost completely believable effects and only one mildly cringeworthy performance (from the pretty but apparently vacuous Jessica Alba). My boys have wanted to see a lot of movies that ended up PG-13, but this one ended up on the safe side of the line, so the three of us went to see it at a very early show (11 AM) yesterday.

The critical consensus on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is pretty much "dumb but better than the first one," so I guess the first one was notably dumber or made less sense. But, still -- this is a movie about people in tights hitting each other, folks. It's not going to be that good no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig. It's a reasonably entertaining movie, in which most of the actors seem to be at least borderline-plausible human beings (except Alba, of course), even while spending most of their time emoting in the direction of the spot an effect will be added six months later.

Since I went to see it with my kids, I'm part of that demographic whose reaction to a movie is only about half "did I like it myself" and the other half is "did the kids enjoy it/get scared by it/learn words or ideas I rather not have to deal with in coming weeks." If I'd seen it with The Wife, or some other adult, I imagine I would have been much tougher on it. But, since the sexual innuendo was kept to a minimum and the movie moved quickly enough to keep my boys from squirming too much, it wins on points.

(I note that this is the first Marvel movie since Howard the Duck to get a PG rating. I saw it because it had a PG rating -- my boys are 9 and 6, and I'm old fashioned enough to think that means they're too young for a "PG-13" movie" -- so, if people like me are a demographic Marvel wants to hit, more PG movies would be a good bet. Also, it's quite possible that Howard the Duck was the last Marvel movie I saw, though not purely because of ratings...)

I'm not a huge FF fan, but there seemed to be a lot of plot points (the Reed-Sue wedding, the whole Surfer plot, etc.) and touches that were aimed straight at boomer-age fans who read the Lee-Kirby issues in the '60s, and I found that interesting, especially since big action movies are proverbially aimed at an audience that wasn't even born until after John Byrne's run on FF. I'm also pretty sure that those people -- the audience which this movie is obviously trying hard to please -- will focus on how Galactus isn't a big, talky guy wearing a purple Eiffel Tower on his head, or that the Surfer's dialogue was shamefully changed from the real, true words from FF #48, or similar tommyrot. But that's life, and I imagine the moviemakers will be quite happy if people complain after they pay for their tickets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, Jessica Alba, still vogueing for Truth and Justice.

I was watching the premier of Dark Angel and she was so awful in that that my ex, who was sleeping on the couch, grabbed the remote and changed the channel. What made it impressive is that Jasmine didn't actually wake up to do that.

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