FANTASTIC 4 2: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER 1
Man, I don’t know how this works, but somehow just putting a silver guy in a movie brings me in. When FANTASTIC 4 PART 1 came out I had no interest, but when they started advertising part 2 I thought, oh, who am I fooling? Nobody can resist a silver guy. So I rented part 1 to catch up. And I gotta say, as bad as I pictured that movie being, it was actually alot worse. Definitely in the lower tier of comic book movies, which puts it in the lowest tier of movies overall unless you include immoral material like child porn, snuff, crush videos or TRANSFORMERS.
Basically the first one is the story of four unappealing dorks who get in a space accident that gives them magical powers so they put on shiny blue scuba suits, make bad puns in a big cheesy laboratory set and fight some prick that shoots lightning. The makeup on “The Thing” looks stupid, the digital effects are surprisingly terrible for a big budget movie and any attempt at turning this ridiculous shit into actual drama or excitement is immediately undermined by the constant stream of groan inducing “jokes.”
The whole thing feels unfinished and kind of brain damaged, I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with the people who wrote this thing. They don’t seem to care about making one line of dialogue or scene have any connection to the next one, or for anything to evolve or develop throughout the story. Their approach to storytelling is to have a character announce their conflicts at the beginning and then at the end to announce that they have grown. They leave out the middle part where stuff happens.
Let me tell you about the craziest scene to give you a taste. Michael Chiklis plays the grunting tough guy who in the accident becomes an orange rubbery marshmallowy rock monster called The Thing. And he’s not cool like the monster in the movie THE THING, so don’t get your hope up. In this scene, I forget how it happens exactly but The Thing is standing in traffic on a bridge and he causes some kind of terrible accident. But then he rescues the people involved. So a crowd forms to applaud him as a hero. Okay, so already this is making no sense. Then his wife shows up in her bathrobe. She looks at him in disgust, takes off her wedding ring, kneels down and places it on the ground.
I should specify that they have not yet discussed his accident. It just happened recently. He revealed himself to her briefly but they haven’t talked about it. No “Oh my God, what happened to you?” No “Are you okay?” not even a “Will the orange ever go away?” or a “Let’s be realistic, I’m never gonna get over this rock monster thing, so let’s not try it.” So this is not a mature way to end a relationship. But the biggest thing for me is: who the fuck takes off their wedding ring and gently places it on the concrete to represent the dissolution of a marriage? Is that a real custom I’ve just never come across? No, it’s just a set up for the orange, rubbery pathos of The Thing not being able to pick up the ring with his silly, blubbery, fake looking fingers. They came up with that tragic/hilarious image and said Now all we gotta do is come up with some explanation for why she would put her ring on the cement. If there’s time. If there’s not time, just have her do it for no reason. Who cares? It’s a comic book! It’s fun!
Well, RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is the same type of “comic book fun.” It’s clearly made by the same boobs that made that first horrible piece of moronic garbage, but the silver guy is actually kind of cool. The result, I am happy to report, is a slightly more tolerable piece of moronic garbage. See, that’s all it really takes is a silver guy, it turns out. You get alot of mileage out of a silver guy.
In this one Mr. and Mrs. Fantastic Four (played by Jessica Alba and some guy who got white spraypaint in his hair on accident) are trying to get married but the wedding keeps getting interrupted by a comet that freezes lakes and turns off the power. Johnny the Fire Guy chases it and later describes it to the gang as a silver guy riding something that looks like a surfboard. Mr. Fantastic 4 then refers to it as “this silver… surfer” and his fiancee rolls her creepy blue-contact wearing eyes.
That’s a mild example of that audience-insulting phenomenon I’ve been noticing. The movie is called RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. The advertising is all about the Silver Surfer. The box doesn’t even show the Fantastic 4 on it, because who wants to see that shit? It only shows the Silver Surfer.
Hey everybody it’s the Silver Surfer. Don’t you wanna see the Silver Surfer? Come pay us to see the Silver Surfer!
So you say, hey, that’s pretty cool, a Silver Surfer, I’ll see that. And you go see it and you’re sitting there in your Silver Surfer t-shirt they convinced you to buy, sipping your Silver Surfer Slurpee, all excited to see this Silver Surfer, and then when they finally utter the words “silver surfer” they’re embarassed. The movie looks you in the eye and says, “Pffffttt… ‘Silver Surfer’? What the fuck? What kind of moron takes that shit seriously? Jesus.”
Despite that, the Silver Surfer comes out smelling like a rose in this thing because he is the only character, including extras, who has any dignity whatsoever. He’s from space, he’s here to help something called “The Destroyer” suck the life out of Earth, he says he has no choice because he made one o’ them Faustian type bargains to save his girl. He doesn’t mention if she’s silver too, or gold or what exactly. He doesn’t have to explain that shit because he doesn’t have to talk much. And more importantly he doesn’t have to deliver any of those terrible jokes. When he does talk he has the dignified voice of Laurence Fishburne.
He’s CGI at the beginning (not as bad as the rest of the CGI in the movie) but then when he falls off his board and loses power he becomes a guy in makeup. Specifically, the same guy that plays the monsters in PAN’S LABYRINTH. I honestly thought that was really cool, he becomes a creepy unpolished statue man with weird eyes. Actually, he looks like Vin Diesel mated with an Oscar. And let’s be honest, we all have our suspicions about Vin Diesel. I’m not saying Vin Diesel did mate with an Oscar, I’m just saying I’m almost positive that he did, even if I can’t prove it in a court of law, although I probaly could prove it in a court of law, I’m just not saying for sure I could until I have done it, which I will soon. Anyway if I’m wrong I shouldn’t be. It’s not like he’s gonna get an Oscar, so it’s the next best thing. He might as well hit that and have a baby and teach it to surf and catch missiles and shit.
The other characters could learn alot from Silver Surfer. Shut the fuck up, look cool, don’t be in the movie all that much. If the other characters would follow that example, especially the part about not being in the movie very much, it would be a far better movie. Poor Andre Braugher, playing a general, can’t carry them. Jessica Alba, let’s be honest, is not an actress. They hire her for her looks, and then in this one they paint her up so you don’t even get that anymore. She looks so much like a porn star with that fake blonde wig and blue contacts. Especially when she’s in the lab, they put glasses on her so she looks like one of those secretary themed pornos, or somebody from the Specs Appeal series. But we know she’s not really a porn actress, because in SIN CITY she played a stripper who never takes her clothes off. Man, even the parole officers in that movie are naked for most of their scenes, she plays a stripper on the job and keeps her clothes on. An actress who doesn’t act playing a stripper who doesn’t strip.
And once again they have that “point A to point C but let’s not bother with B” type of writing. I am angry that I saw you dancing with some hoes at your bachelor party, I am not angry that I saw you dancing with some hoes at your bachelor party. I am hitting on you, you hate it when I hit on you, we are in love now all the sudden. We have to give up being super heroes so we can live a normal life, we don’t have to give up being super heroes to have a normal life. etc.
I’m not sure who these movies are for. They’re clearly not aimed at adults who eat any food more solid than applesauce. But I’m not sure they’re for kids either because don’t kids prefer Spider-Man and X-Men and other movies that don’t act like they’re stupid? I don’t know how to really explain movies like this. It would clearly be better for our society and culture to make movies that are, like, good. If you are a studio executive and you have a choice between giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a guy who might make a good movie that will make billions of dollars, and giving it to a guy who definitely will make moronic garbage that will also make billions of dollars, wouldn’t you pick the first guy? The only reason to go the FANTASTIC 4 route is if you are some kind of sociopath, trying to give a big orange rubbery middle finger to the values that our civilization was built upon.
Thanks guys, we appreciate it.
Respectfully, Human Civilization.
I don’t know if they plan to continue this charade or not. I do know that the world does not require another Fantastic 4 movie. I would watch a movie about the silver guy, provided that nobody from the Fantastic 4 is in it, nobody who worked on the Fantastic 4 movies is writing or directing it, and is not allowed in the building while they are filming it, and as long as he’s still silver and they don’t change him to gold to try to prove that they are breaking new ground.
But there is one circumstance that I might consider watching another Fantastic 4 when it comes out on DVD if I have a coupon or if somebody else pays for it or if the money goes to an anti-Fantastic 4 charity of some kind. I had forgotten about this until now, but when RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER was playing last summer I went to some other movie at the multiplex and on the way in I overheard a little kid asking his dad “What would happen if the Fantastic 4 went to Jurassic Park?”
Now, that’s a weird question to ask, and a stupid idea for a crossover movie. But I could not help but imagine how great it would be to see that asswipe Mr. Fantastic 4 get eaten by a t-rex. He would stretch his arm out of the mouth, pathetically trying to grab hold of something solid. But the t-rex would just keep swallowing, and he would keep stretching. The more the arm stretches the more the t-rex swallows. Eventually he would run out of stretching energy. He would lose physical integrity and turn all gooey like a bad batch of taffy where they fucked up and put too much liquid in there and it just drips off the stretching machine. For the rest of the movie his clothed porn star wife would try to clone him out of dinosaur shit but then right before she succeeded she’d get eaten by raptors or sat on by that fat guy that stole the embryos in the shaving cream can. Did you ever notice that Pete Postlethwaite’s dinosaur hunter character in part 2 was supposed to be gay? That is just a side note that really has nothing to do with this topic.
anyway, my point is that ONLY if one or more Fantastic character gets eaten and shitted out by a dinosaur will I watch part 3. Bring it on hollywood, let’s make magic happen.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.