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The Fantastic Four has always my favorite Marvel comic book; the characters are exceedingly interesting and have tremendous potential for storytelling. However, that potential remains untapped by FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER ($35). Still, FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is an enjoyable enough sequel to 2005ís first installment, but instead of offering more depth, now that the filmmakers are freed from the need for tons of exposition, this movie goes the Saturday Afternoon matinee route and delivers nothing more than mindless popcorn entertainment.

The premise finds our heroic quartet fending off a threat to the entire planet, one that comes in the form of a galactic force that devours worlds. In advance of that devouring galactic force, comes its herald, a cosmic powered being, who is dubbed The Silver Surfer. The arrival of The Silver Surfer causes Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm AKA The Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm AKA The Human Torch (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm AKA the ever loviní blue eyed Thing (Michael Chiklis) to join forces with their old enemy Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon) to find a way to save the planet. The threadbare plot and scant running time only allow the movie go from from one action/special effects sequence to the next. Not only does this installment in the franchise under-serve its heroes, but character of The Silver Surfer, not to mention Galactus, who is rendered as nothing more than a cloudy special effect. The cast of FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER also features Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher, Laurence Fishburne, Doug Jones, Beau Garrett and Brian Posehn.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that have been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Since I was sent a computer burned promo screener and not a final production disc (or even a check disc), I really canít comment on the video quality, as this disc looks like utter crap. The transfer has potential, but this screener is so soft, and so poorly compressed and looks worse than a bad Direct TV feed. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel is also fairly unimpressive; coming across as slightly muffled and lacking dynamics. If Fox should choose to grace us with a final production disc, Iíll be in a better position to assess the video and audio qualities.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one features two running Audio Commentaries, the first is with director Tim Story and the second includes producer Avi Arad, writer Don Payne and film editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy. Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. Starting things off are Extended / Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary by director Tim Story). Next is the documentary Family Bonds: The Making Of Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer. Featurettes include Sentinel Of The Spaceways: Comic Book Origins Of The Silver Surfer, The Fantasticar: State Of The Art, The Fantasticar: State Of The Art, Character Design With Spectral Motion and Scoring The Fantastic. Interactive FantastiCar Concept Images Gallery, Still Galleries (Behind the Scenes/Characters/Concept Art) and Theatrical Trailers close out the supplements.

Like Spider-Man and X-Men, The Fantastic Four are characters that have a potential for greater depth on the silver screen- something that could be exploited by a thoughtfully written screenplay. The producers of FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER instead overlook the charactersí potential, by delivering fairly mindless popcorn entertainment. I canít judge the quality of the presentation, as the utterly worthless screener provided for this review looks and sounds like crap. This is the last time I will review or even look at this type of disc. Should a final production disc come my way, this review will be amended.



Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer (The Power Cosmic Edition, 2-Disc Set)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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