Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer (The Power Cosmic Edition, 2-Disc Set)What would your favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters look like if they were to be recreated in a live-action feature? The answer is abundantly clear in the sequel to this critically panned, PG-rated, Fantastic Four sequel. Right from the start, it’s clear why critics – for the most part – couldn’t abide this sequel, or the original for that matter: the plot is paper thin, the acting is over the top, and the CGI, though impressive, is a bit cartoony. The real question with this film though, is whether it’s entertaining or not… and any audience member would have to admit that it is.

From the very beginning, viewers have to accept the cartoony, questionable world that the Fab Four live in. Sue Storm, a slightly creepy Jessica Alba with blonde hair and blue eyes, is more concerned about her wedding date than the end of the world, while her fiance, Reed Richards, an unimpressive Ioan Gruffudd, would rather deal with complicated science projects than his relationship with Sue. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm, an even more one-dimensional Chris Evans than in the first Fantastic Four film is starting to realize the importance of settling down… at least according to the plot. And last, and decidedly least, Ben Grimm, a somewhat less interested Michael Chiklis is dealing with… well, nothing actually. These things must all be accepted, or at least jovially enjoyed, or the movie itself is a total bust.

Unlike other recent superhero films, such as Batman Begins, Hellboy, and even the Spiderman trilogy, which have attempted to establish their heroes in some sort of reality-based world, the Fantastic Four films don’t even pretend that anything real is happening. Nonetheless, amidst all the overacting and plot contrivances, an enjoyable film emerges. As the Silver Surfer threatens to destroy the entire Earth through some form of CGI-annihilation, the Fantastic Four, of course emerge in some kind of classic comic-book force to be reckoned with. Surprisingly, an engaging, yet ultimately shallow, story-line emerges. Viewers who are prepared to laugh at themselves as well as the film will find the most enjoyment here.

There’s too much questionable action happening here to even confront: everything sounds like an episode of any Saturday morning cartoon you could name. But viewers willing to suspend disbelief… and I do mean suspend disbelief… as in allowing a scientist to design a state-of-the-art flying machine in a pristine laboratory with no testing… will find some entertainment. The CGI is cool, the story is fun, and the Silver Surfer is definitely interesting. Viewers just aren’t really allowed to think the entire time. Remember that one note, and you’re on your way to a night of entertainment.

The second disc features more bonus footage than even the most enthusiastic viewer could hope to get through. There’s some pretty interesting interviews with Stan Lee about the Surfer’s origins, as well as in-depth explorations of the sets, the cast, and the story. For fanatics, this is everything you’ve dreamed of, but for most viewers, it’s a bit much.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Spiderman/Batman/Hellboy fan’s rating: D
Saturday morning cartoon fan’s rating: A-

To purchase Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer (available 10/2), visit Amazon
For more information, and to view the trailer, visit the film’s homepage

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