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Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer


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He said it "enhanced" the coins to make them "commemorative," as it did a few years ago when it added images of Elvis Presley to millions of Tennessee state quarters. . . .

Riiight. And the fact that the Elvis quarters just happened to coincide with Elvis's much-ballyhooed Comeback Tour had nothing to do with it. I'm suure.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Question for my fellow critics: Are there any press/preview screenings of this film?

I just got an invite to a screening on Thursday night. The movie opens Friday afternoon (or earlier?). And as we all know, preview screenings the night before the release date "don't count".

I'm getting Ghost Rider vibes here.

Incidentally, the press release indicates that this film will be only 92 minutes. And Evan Almighty is in that range too (Lou Lumenick reported in his blog that Evan is 89 minutes, and the BC Film Classification board's website says it's 96 minutes; I forgot to check my watch when I saw it last Friday.) And you'd think a fair chunk of BOTH of these running times would be consumed by the end credits, and all the pop songs and/or special-effects crewmembers listed therein. After the bloated approaching-three-hours mega-blockbuster-wannabes of last month, it will be interesting to see how these uber-expensive-but-easily-digested "event movies" do.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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You know, I have to hand it to the marketing department for this film. Except for the weird quarter thing, the trailers and advertising have left a remarkably good impression on me. I'm absolutely convinced that the film will be just as terrible as the first, but the marketing almost makes me think otherwise, which surely must be worth some sort of Machiavellian praise.

Nathaniel K. Carter

www.nkcarter.com

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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That's precisely why we have to get the word out about the lack of proper press screenings!!!

(Seriously, it has been very rare in my experience, in the last few years, for Fox to NOT have a daytime screening for professional critics. There are studios that normally invite you to evening preview screenings, and studios that normally invite you to daytime press screenings, and Fox -- until recently, at least -- is the latter.) (Then again, hmmm, a number of Fox movies haven't been screened here AT ALL lately, e.g. Epic Movie and Pathfinder, and some recent films were screened in the evening, e.g. Borat -- which, perhaps more than most comedies, works a whole heck of a lot better with an audience -- and Night at the Museum, which was not only screened at night but in some far-off suburban IMAX theatre that was so remote I almost missed the screening thanks to the clogged highway traffic.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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His second 'Fantastic' just had to be ... better

Director Tim Story left no stone unturned and almost no criticism unheard in trying to build a bigger blockbuster. . . .

To find the right tone for "Silver Surfer," Story says on this November day, he is tapping into why the first "Fantastic Four" was so successful. He had originally thought that movie was for comic-book-crazed teenagers and twentysomethings. "The film actually played younger than we thought. We found that 8-year-olds and 9-year-olds and even 6-year-olds were able to go watch this movie and have a ball," he says. "And because it's younger, we also found that we also got people on the other side of the 25 range because they have to take their kids."

That's how it played out even with some of his cast. Says Michael Chiklis, who plays Ben Grimm/the Thing and has two young daughters, "When we go to the movies, the kids win. And this was great because 'Fantastic Four' was a movie that I could bring my kids to but I wouldn't be sitting there in a coma going, 'Oh, my God, I can't wait for this to be over.' I could go for the ride and be a kid and enjoy it with them."

With that type of audience in mind, Story will again rely on the teasing banter among the superheroes that kids find so funny but will be adjusting his approach to McMahon's villain. . . .

Los Angeles Times, June 10

- - -

A "bigger" blockbuster... that is 14 minutes shorter than the original... or, if you prefer, 130% the cost of the original film and 87% the length of the original film...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Justin Chang at Variety:

At a time when tortured superheroes like Spider-Man, Superman and Batman would benefit from some serious psychotherapy, it's almost refreshing to see a comicbook caper as blithe, weightless and cheerfully dumb as "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." Faithfully mining one of the Marvel franchise's more intriguing mythologies, the sequel proves every bit as disposable as its predecessor, with even less character definition and several tons more poundage in the f/x department.

. . . the Fantastic Four themselves have even less dramatic stature this time around, as scribes Mark Frost and Don Payne fail to develop them beyond the requisite one trait apiece. Thus, Gruffudd's Reed is still a lovable geek. Evans' Johnny is still a self-aggrandizing horndog. Alba's Sue is still, um, pretty. And Chiklis' Ben, the only figure who showed any semblance of a soul in the first place, is here reduced to belching comic relief.

To some extent, the noncommital perfs, lazy dialogue and retro-cheesy visual effects could be chalked up to the pic's refusal to take itself too seriously; one would be hard-pressed to recall the last time the apocalypse was treated this breezily onscreen. But at a certain point, even the most popcorn-hungry moviegoers may find themselves craving something in the way of real dramatic stakes. To defend "Fantastic Four" on the grounds that it is unpretentious is to make too generous an excuse.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Speaking of Fox hating Vancouver...

If the listings at the Georgia Straight's website are correct, it appears that FF:RotSS is not playing in ANY Vancouver theatres... EXCEPT for the Van East Cinema, an old neighbourhood theatre which until recently was pretty much exclusively second-run. It is NOT playing in ANY of the downtown theatres, not even the new-fangled stadium-style-seating Scotiabank and Tinseltown multiplexes; if you want THAT kind of environment while watching this popcorn movie, you have to go all the way out to the suburbs.

I don't know what, if anything, that says about this film's demographic intentions or prospects. (Yes, I know it grossed over $20 million yesterday, so obviously, whatever the studio's trying to do, it IS working, from a revenue point of view. But still...)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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:spoilers:

Saw this last night. Few things I didn't get.

1. Why are Reed Richards and Sue Storm just now discussing whether its kosher get married and bring kids into their zaney abnormal freakish world on the eve of their wedding?

2. Why does Galactus need The Silver Surfer?

3. How is it that the planet that The Silver Surfer just so happens to come upon, that there's this blonde haired babe that reminds him of his sweetheart.

4. What ultimately happened to Sue Storm's zit? I was expecting it to make another appearance. It seemed to be the high point of the movie if not her forehead.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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1. Why are Reed Richards and Sue Storm just now discussing whether its kosher get married and bring kids into their zany abnormal freakish world on the eve of their wedding?

I felt like this was an attempt by the filmmakers to echo the family themes found in Pixar's superior Incredibles movie. If you can't beat em', join em'.

I have to say, it was kind of nice that they were talking about having kids at all. The subject has rarely been broached in any live-action superhero movies; you don't hear Jean Grey and Cyclops, nor Spider-Man and MJ, talking about potentially raising a family.

Then again, Jessica Alba with a minivan full of toddlers? Like SDG said, suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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American moviegoing public, you dissappoint me. I forgive you for making the first Fantastic Four successful; I didn't pay money to see it because I had a friend working at the theater, but I was curious too. We had reviews, but we didn't know.

But how, after the sheer crippling mediocrity of the first film, does the sequel end up making more money its opening weekend?

American moviegoing public, we're officially having a spat. I expect to see some great receipts for Ratatouille if you care about our relationship (flowers and chocolate would be nice, too).

Nathaniel K. Carter

www.nkcarter.com

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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Is 'Fantastic Four' The Worst Superhero Franchise Ever?

Name one that's worse..."Superman" had a dud or two but come on. "Batman"? We're a long way from the nipple days now thanks to Chris Nolan. "Swamp Thing"? Come on, that doesn't count. And at least it had Adrienne Barbeau. Michael Chiklis, you are no Barbeau.

Nope..."Fantastic Four" is THE worst superhero movie franchise ever. . . .

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies Blog, June 18

- - -

In the comments, someone proposes the Daredevil / Elektra duo as a possible rival for suckitude, but do those two films count as a "franchise"?

I wrote:

: If the listings at the Georgia Straight's website are correct . . .

Whoops, it appears they aren't. Bad, bad Georgia Straight. (Sigh. I used to live only half-a-dozen blocks from the theatre that is showing this film.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Chris Evans Acknowledges 'Fantastic Four' Failings, But Sees Growth Ahead

Have patience, "Fantastic Four" star Chris Evans implored. Talking with MTV's Tim Kash, Evans was remarkably candid about the failings of the first two films, and equally hopeful that, given a chance, the future for the first family of crime-fighting would be a bright one. . . . "I think I'd just like to see the characters grow up. I like to see them more mature. . . . " With a more serious tone, Evans was adamant that "by round three, we really [will] be able to knock something out of the park."

MTV Movies Blog, June 21

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Sure, sure. Lots of franchises that suck for the first two films really pick up after that. Which ones? I hardly know where to begin...

Harry Potter?

Nathaniel K. Carter

www.nkcarter.com

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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Slight as they may be, the first two Harry Potter films were nowhere near as ineptly-produced as these Fantastic Four films have been. For all their blandness, the first two Potter movies were true to the spirit of their source material and featured decent performances. The same can't be said of the FF's.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Hmmm. Well count me in the minority around here that actually managed to enjoy FF2. I NEVER thought that would be the case - the first one was such a tremendously bad movie. But having grown up with all these characters in comics, I found that this movie "felt" more like it should. But more importantly, the major script & plot problems with the first film did not haunt this film. In that regard, FF2 is actually less transparent than "Spider-Man 3". Say what you will about FF2, but it holds together, and even follows the "X2: X-Men United" model of creating an uneasy alliance with the villian of the first film who then of course comes back to screw them. Dr. Doom's portrayal as a space-faring Donald Trump type was a huge problem with the first film, but it was less of an issue here. Granted, it would be great to see the diabolical Latvarian dictator Doom, who is into both science and dark magic on screen. Maybe in time, we will. But for now, this is probably the best sequel that could be had from the first FF movie.

Find my twitchin' film reviews at Twitch

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  • 7 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Masters of SciFi - An Interview With Screenwriter J Michael Straczynski

Q: Did your work on Silver Surfer: Requiem comic bring about the offer to write the Silver Surfer movie? . . .

Q: Does this pick up where Silver Surfer left off in Fantastic Four 2? . . .

Q: When do you mean when you say,"We see Galactus"? . . .

AMC Blogs, May 30

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Masters of SciFi - An Interview With Screenwriter J Michael Straczynski

Q: Did your work on Silver Surfer: Requiem comic bring about the offer to write the Silver Surfer movie? . . .

Q: Does this pick up where Silver Surfer left off in Fantastic Four 2? . . .

Q: When do you mean when you say,"We see Galactus"? . . .AMC Blogs, May 30

Straczynski????

Whoa. All of a sudden, a Fantastic Four spin-off movie might... not suck. It might actually be... cool.

FWIW, I say that as one who didn't care for Straczynski's run on FF... though I really, really liked his work on Amazing Spider-Man.

At least a Straczynski script won't be as rampantly intelligence-insulting as the last two FF movies.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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  • 7 years later...

Since this covers both films, I'm putting this in the sequel's thread.

 

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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