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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Where once creativity and originality were the bywords of Tinsletown, it now seems sanitised remakes/sequels of former glories rule the day.  Rather than take a risk, the norm is to go for the safe option.  That philosophy is in plentiful supply in this sequel, featuring inoffensive heroics amidst a backdrop of earth’s destruction the whole family can enjoy.
On their wedding day, Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and Susan Storm (Jessica Alba) are interrupted by a silvery alien being. Dubbed The Silver Surfer, he reveals himself as the herald of Galactus, destroyer of worlds.  Along with Johnny the Human Torch (Chris Evans) and The Thing (Michael Chiklis), it’s up to the fabulous foursome to battle the triple threats of the Surfer, Galactus and a resurrected Dr Doom (Julian McMahon).
If that synopsis sounded threadbare because that’s all there is to the plot.  One of the edicts handed down to the filmmakers was to deliver a PG rated extravaganza for the broadest possible audience.  The corny dialogue, numerous plot holes and shoddy script attest this.  The screenplay fails to capture the essence of the comic book with the cosmic magnitude of events erased in favour of yet another earth bound battle against Dr Doom.  The villains generate no menace and the imposing benevolence of Galactus in the comics is reduced to a display of GCI pyrotechnics.
The main quartet of actors don’t gel as well as they should, seemingly going through the motions.  The lame and childish script gives the feel of a morning cartoon.  It’s a shame that this franchise has been successful because it gives the other genuinely interesting ones a bad name. The real ’star’ of the show is The Silver Surfer whose depiction stays true to his comic origins.  The colour and special effects are up to comic book standards, but the script seems like a string of spectacular stunts in search of a story.  
With the strictures of the ‘family friendly’ rating, Rise of the Silver Surfer becomes confined to being a dumbed down version of what should have been an exciting film.  With the characters defanged and no bite to the script, this film feels more like a ‘product’ than an actual movie.  This mediocre entry plays like an extended advert for a Silver Surfer film, which naturally enough is currently in the planning stages with a script written by sci fi maestro J. Michael Straczynski.  It can only be hoped that it improves on this very vanilla effort.
Rating out of 10:  3

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