‘Rise’ Falls Fantastically

‘Rise’ Falls Fantastically

Film Review

According to this summer’s Hollywood super hero flicks, there are two things that super heroes do with their powers: fight crime and impress people with their wicked-cool dance moves.

In "Spider-Man 3" it worked – sort of – so you can imagine how truly and totally fantastic it is when Mr. Fantastic himself gets on the dance floor in "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (Rated: PG; Running Time: 92 min.) and uses his amazing stretching ability to shake his groove thing at the beginning of the movie.

Oh, that’s right: It isn’t fantastic at all. It’s pretty much downhill from there.

Not entirely; after all, there is the Silver Surfer part of the title and he is a silver bullet of cool (Where’s the Coors tie in?). The Surfer comes to Earth to prepare it for the planet eating Galactus, who it turns out, is not a man in a goofy looking helmet but a giant cloud. As is standard issue with comic book heroes meeting for the first time, they fight, realize they’re on the same side, fight the bigger bad thing and then go off into the sunset.

There’s also a subplot about Sue and Reed getting married but, and this is the real problem with the FF in the world of film, their characters just aren’t that interesting and Jessica Alba is the worst casting choice since Arnold picked up a freezing ray. Mixed in with this is the cliché storyline about the terrible burden of having superpowers, which would have been an OK attempt at a plot if it hadn’t already been done, and far better, in practically every super hero sequel that’s come out.

Are you telling me that the FF has any right to complain about living in a palatial skyscraper in New York when Spidey is across town sleeping on a cot? They’re the Paris Hiltons of the super hero world, and Sue Storm is worried about bringing a child into the harsh lifestyle of being rich and famous?

All the while, The Thing and the Human Torch get turned into punch lines and eye candy (in that order, unless you like rock creatures). At one point, The Thing actually loses his rock-like exterior; instead of exploiting what should be a momentous occasion for him, the screenwriters turn it into a lame gag.

Give the filmmakers some credit though for some pretty impressive action sequences, even if a good chunk of their special effects look no better than Roger Corman's original Fantastic Four film in the 1980’s that was never truly released. The Human Torch's chase scene, which everyone has already seen from the trailer, is even better on the big screen and the battle at the end of the film, though marred by some horrible writing and incredibly bad location shooting, is pretty— dare I say it—fantastic.

But you can get good action all over the place during summer and it really isn’t worth it to have to sit through the majority of this movie, continually slapping your head because you’re dumbfounded by the idiocy of the film.

Unless you’re into watching the slow destruction of one of Stan Lee’s greatest super hero teams, or you just need to see a film with an inter-galactic surfing alien covered in metal, avoid "Rise" as best you can.