Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Now w/ Shiny!)

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

On a scale of 4...

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DVD 4 Ever!
5
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Total votes : 23

Postby Chilli on Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:47 am

The Good

Silver Surfer in general. Shame he's only on screen for a minimal amount of time. The subtitle is really, really misleading in that regard.

Action scenes are fun.

Reed is less of a dickhead.

The Bad

Doom is absolutely pathetic.

Product Placement is laughably bad.

The Ugly

Reed dancing will lead to a lot of children getting very wrong ideas of how to impress the opposite sex.

6/10
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Postby Fried Gold on Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:24 pm

I saw "4 - Rise of the Silver Surfer" this afternoon. Generally okay. Better than the first one. Still not quite there, but you could tell something decent was in there trying to get out. It was far superior to Pirates 3. Overall, a fairly enjoyable movie.

The Very Good
Silver Surfer (Doug Jones, Larry Fishbourne, the whole package)

Good
Galactus (The representation worked for me. Not revealing the entire physicality - For those in the know, only hinting occasionally. For those who don't, they can make up their own minds)

Okay
The film overall
The acting of the three
The Fantastic Car
The VFX seemed amazing one minute, then a bit ropey the next.

Bad
The carry over of the first film's lameness.
The weak inserts of comedy and general silliness at inappropriate times.
Jessica Alba's acting.

Really quite awful and unnessary
Julian McMahon & Von Doom
The supposedly blind Alicia.
Last edited by Fried Gold on Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ribbons on Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:17 pm

I saw ze FF2 this weekend as well. I think I agree mostly with what Cha-Ka said. When I saw the low freshness rating on RottenTomatoes and when several major papers didn't even have a review on the first weekend because they didn't screen for critics until the last minute, I was sure it was gonna be awful. It's not, really; it's just that it's not very good either. But if you liked the first film, you will probably like this one. If you didn't, you still might, depending on what you didn't like about it.

For me it was an improvement over some aspects of the first film, while a step back in others. Some of the things that really bugged me about the first one, like the awful product placement and the pandering to teenagers like when Johnny snuck out to go motorbiking --which I guess magically he knows how to do in addition to snowboarding and piloting ships -- are still there in this one, but they're cannier about the way they're approached. Although I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, at least it was less distracting. Reed's bachelor party served no real purpose other than to make the movie a little "cooler" for the kids who didn't really have an interest in the property, but it made sense within the context of the film. Same with Johnny's date with an MTV VJ, although her one line of dialogue was pretty bad (what you need to date Johnny Storm: "flame-retardant lingerie and a lot of aloe"). Besides for the Dodge commercial in the middle of the film, the product placement was left alone save for one scene, where image-conscious Johnny shows up with a "prototype" for a new suit, which is plastered with (real) company logos. So I liked how they got that done while simultaneously sending it up, I guess. It was "slicker" of them.

Come to think of it, slicker would probably be an appropriate adjective for the entire film, if I had to sum it up with one word. It moves at a much faster clip, the faux-scientific gobbledygook is kept to a minimum ("your encounter with the Surfer has affected your molecules"), the jokes are more voluminous, the effects and cinematography are much better, and in general it's a bit more self-aware; how the media perceives the Fantastic Four is a bit of a subplot in the film. And when things click, it's entertaining, but it's incredibly forgettable. There were two really nice moments in the film: Johnny telling Sue that their dad would be proud of her right before her wedding, and then Ben and Johnny talking about how they'd like to die. I do kind of like the fact that they tried to make this franchise fun, but I wish it were a little more substantial. Even the things that the characters do and say seem meaningless; Reed ruins his wedding after building a satellite to track the Surfer after he promises Sue he won't, and she's upset for like a minute. Johnny's contact with the Silver Surfer indeed "affected his molecules": anytime he touches another member of the group, they switch powers until they touch again. Then Johnny overhears the two of them talking about breaking up the group in order to lead saner lives, and he's upset for like a minute. Not only that, but at the end of the film they're all sort of like "Oh yeah... I guess we're a group again!" But there's no time spent actually grappling with any of these decisions. It's like the filmmakers figured most of the audience they were courting didn't want to hear about it anyway, so they just crammed the film with jokes and special effects. As clunky as the first movie was, at least it wore its heart on its sleeve.

I do have to compliment Tim Story on his direction though; I think it has improved quite a bit since the last go-'round. The action looks a lot better, and so does the film in general. I was actually impressed by one moment where Dr. Doom steals the Surfer's board that was a direct visual quote of something Dr. Doom did in the last film. I didn't think Story paid attention to stuff like that, but apparently he does.

Speaking of Dr. Doom, I guess now would be a good time to discuss the Heavies. Fans will probably be a lot more satisfied with Dr. Doom this time around. For those who are wondering how he managed to come back after being frozen solid in the last film, well, it's done in a way that makes as much sense as anything else. The chip on his shoulder doesn't need to be explained and so he gets right down to business. Although like burl said, his plan doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Once he gets the surfboard he basically just flies around blowing shit up. Also, the army seemed to not realize that he terrorized New York in the last film, which I thought a bit odd. They put the Fantastic Four into custody after the Surfer is captured, but then they let "Victor" waltz right into his holding cell. I'm not sure how he managed to remain anonymous after going Godzilla in downtown Manhattan, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The Silver Surfer was pretty cool. In fact his storyline was probably the thing that the film pulled off the best. The effects have been polished since the first teaser, and the aura of mystery surrounding the character is slowly revealed at just the right pace. There's a great moment at about the halfway point where Sue puts up a force field to protect herself from him and he just walks right through it. His decision to sacrifice himself for humanity seemed a little perfunctory (which it was), but the writers at least tried to set it up and explain it as best they could in the limited amount of time they had.

I didn't really have any strong feelings about Galactus one way or another. To be honest I don't really care about how he/it looks, but he was basically just a plot device. He shows up for the last five minutes of the film, a couple of lights flicker, then the Silver Surfer makes him go away. The smoke tendrils were an interesting approach, though, and I think I agree with Cha-Ka about the Al-le-Gore-y. Allegory might be a little strong, but I think the reference was definitely intentional. On the (very) short list of places that the Surfer visits in order to "prepare" earth for its demise, Greenland is one of them. The cloud itself looks okay, and if you're a fan of the series you might be happy that Story references "canon Galactus" twice; as Galactus passes by Saturn, the shadow of the smoke tendrils on the planet looks vaguely like the shape of his helmet, and then at the climax of the film, you can see the faintest of silhouettes in the shape of his head within the cloud. So, yay. I guess.

EDIT: Whoooooa, check out how much I wrote!
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:16 pm

good stuff Ribbons, when one writes that well, the high word count is welcome...
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:08 pm

You know what, I can't believe the amount of people slagging this film off. It's like some kind of cool fashionable bandwagon to me. If any of you Zoners are doing it, they you really do suck. What's worse, why have hardly any of you lot gone out to see this film anyway? Still busy busting a gut over that overinflated poxy Pirate movie. Yeah you guys suck for real. Get with it.

OK, I know jack shit about the comics, so I can't look at it from a Harry Knowles pov. But I loved Galactus for starters.

Anyway, check it, I thought this film was actually pretty bloody alright actually! I had a right good laugh, I really got a good kick out of it, really enjoyed it. Yes there's a lot of shit in there, the 2 leads are pretty bad and a lot of the plot is so thinly done. All that impossible science genius to defeat the Silver Surfer was pretty quickly and too easily figured out and what the Hell happened with Doctor Doom sodding off just as quickly as he teamed up with the 4? Also, Doom is crap.

But I thought the film had some real exciting parts to it. The Silver Surfer/Human Torch chase scene was real adrenalin pumping and let's face it, everything the Surfer was doing was just amazing and real awesome. He had real cool effects going on and was just brilliant with his indestructible unlimited Powah.

You know, this movie is what it is. A kid's film. We're bloody adults, get used to it. OK, as a kid's film it's not that brilliant, but it never tries for depth or bollox philosophy or existentialism or any other shit that other comics might go for.

It is thin, yeah but it so straightforward and fast that for some undemanding fun which it is only trying to do it really succeeds. Again, exciting, enjoyable stuff. Man, I'll even put it over Pirates which had so much unneeded baggage and weight for it's own good that it just slowed that ship right down. 4 just goes for it at full speed and hits the target, albeit a soft one, but it hits it hard. But it knows what it should do unlike some other movies seem to be doing right now and that is entertain. Which it does. End of story.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:34 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:You know, this movie is what it is. A kid's film.


The Dino, he would a go onna to argue that it's a not a the picture for a the children based onna the blatant sexual overtones anna the way inna which a the Doom, he goes anna fries that colored fellow inna the army uniform, eh?

No, the Dino would argue that inna'stead, she is a the film for a the idiots, no? Anna I should a know, eh? I've a made a the lots of a them... heheheh...
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Oh man, I thought you were gonna mention the question by The Human Torch to The Thing about he has sex with his blind partner then. Man that was a very disturbing scene!

You don't make all crappy films, dude! Go to the underrated films thread. I said something very very nice about you there. Just for you!
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Postby buster00 on Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:01 pm

Well, I put it off long enough. I finally saw FF2 at the dollar cinema today.

Yeah, it's just as bad as the first one.

I don't know what it is about the Fantastic Four. What makes it so difficult to bring this property into another medium? The movies, every incarnation of the cartoons -- absolute garbage, all of them. The only thing that works for them seems to be the printed page.

It's a really sad state of affairs when the best Marvel movie of the year turns out to have been Ghost Rider.

I'm being generous when I give this a 2/10.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:06 pm

buster00 wrote:Well, I put it off long enough. I finally saw FF2 at the dollar cinema today.

Yeah, it's just as bad as the first one.

I don't know what it is about the Fantastic Four. What makes it so difficult to bring this property into another medium? The movies, every incarnation of the cartoons -- absolute garbage, all of them. The only thing that works for them seems to be the printed page.

It's a really sad state of affairs when the best Marvel movie of the year turns out to have been Ghost Rider.

I'm being generous when I give this a 2/10.


Well in the case of the movies it didn't help that they hired a shitty director and completely miscast a couple of the extremely important roles (sue storm and dr. doom). With the proper director and a talented cast I have no doubt that FF could thrive in film. One just needs to look at The Incredible to see what an FF film COULD be.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:04 am

Leckomaniac wrote:One just needs to look at The Incredible to see what an FF film COULD be.


The Incredible what, eh? Mr. Limpet?
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Postby Chilli on Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:11 am

Can anyone here pick out an FF graphic novel that they think could be adapted sufficiently for public enjoyment?

Because so far, no-one has. The people who hate the film have said the FF works as a comic, but from what I've read (the original batch, first Galactus etc) they weren't particularly inspiring. It was a case of great characters, patchy stories.
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Postby buster00 on Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:12 pm

Chilli wrote:Can anyone here pick out an FF graphic novel that they think could be adapted sufficiently for public enjoyment?

Because so far, no-one has. The people who hate the film have said the FF works as a comic, but from what I've read (the original batch, first Galactus etc) they weren't particularly inspiring. It was a case of great characters, patchy stories.


Just off the top of my head, the first few volumes of the Ultimate FF series are pretty damn great.
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Postby Adam Balm on Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:14 pm

Nuff said.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:53 pm

Yes, but a they alla'ready used a some of a the material anna scenes from a those, iffa not a the basic set-up, no?
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Postby Adam Balm on Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:59 pm

Yeah they kind of took the window dressing. Ultimately (no pun intended) it was a mish-mash of ideas from 616 and the ultimate U that didn't really work as a whole. They took stuff like the uniform designs, Von Doom being on the mission with them and getting his powers from that, etc. What they didn't take from the Ultimate books was a sense of this being somewhat plausible, the 'world outside your window', or having a Reed Richards that you actually cared about.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:46 am

Saw this a couple of nights ago, finally. I don't have much to add to this thread as others have so eloquently gone into details regarding the film, but it's cool to bump the review thread for one of the most-discussed films on the board.... funnily enough, the review thread itself hasn't even cracked two pages yet.

So it sucked, but it could've been worse. Saving graces Chris Evans as Super Torch and the Surfer keep this from being a complete and utter disaster.

Of course it would've been cool to see Galactus as we all know him, or at least something closer to the comic look, but the cloud was not that bad really, I didn't care that that's how they chose to go with it.

Fishburne's work as Surfer was pretty crappy, so I guess my biggest gripe, that is something they could've easily remedied, was that they should've used Doug Jones's voice.

Besides that Alba was the single worst component of the entire film, and if they went to such great pains to make her look like Scarlett Johansson, why not cast Scarlett Johansson in the first place?

Script, plot, Doom were all complete rubbish, the effects were so-so.

Over all I give it a 4/10.
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Postby papalazeru on Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:09 am

Oh yeah. I forgot Doom was in this film.
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Postby havocSchultz on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:15 am

Pacino86845 wrote:Besides that Alba was the single worst component of the entire film, and if they went to such great pains to make her look like Scarlett Johansson, why not cast Scarlett Johansson in the first place?



They couldn't afford the cgi implants to finish the transformation...

Scarlett would've been a step up...
And that's saying a lot...

I never read the comics - but even I could see that Alba was horribly miscast (technically, she'd be miscast in anything but a porn) but moreso here...

She's not supposed to be some whiney, high school, younger sister persona...she should be more motherly, and controlling, and in charge...

I keep wondering why she's marrying her babysitter in the film...

And she looks like some skeezy crack whore/anorexic Britney Spears with that bleach blond hair and the orange colored skin...

Otherwise, I agree with pretty much everything else you said...
I'd throw Chiklis up there again in the Positive Column for the film...him and Evans were the only enjoyable thing about the first...

Shame their time got cut in this one for more of Alba...and Alba with clothes on!!! What the fuck is that?!?!?!!? Honestly, does she really think we watch her because of some sort of talent...?!?!!?

Get it over with already and get naked...
Then we can move onto the next prude/talentless hack/hermaphrodite starlet...

The f/x were better than the first...
But not as good as Cha-ka could do...

And Doom was fucking pointless...
Again...
Like I mentioned, I don't know much about the comics themselves - but from what I gather, Doom was a memorable villain...he just doesn't work...he's not menacing...he acts tough...but he's mostly just over-compensating for something...

I half expected him to unveil his "Annihilatrix" and then hire a good PR person...

Where was I...?

Oh yeah...
Fuck Alba...
Which might seem like a good thing...

But it would just end up feeling stiff, forced, and fake...
Just like everything else...
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Postby Pacino86845 on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:26 am

HAHHAHA, nicely said havoc.

Chiklis was good in the role, but he got really short-changed in this movie... he doesn't actually do much except for provide some comic relief now and then.

I have a feeling that The Thing received the Gimli treatment this time around, but I can't be sure since I haven't seen the first FF.

The Gimli Treatment: (Gim-Lee Treatment) Refers to how a character is changed for sequels in order to pander to the lowest common viewer denominator. Gimli was a fairly well-rounded secondary character in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, who mainly served as comic relief in the following two films.
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Postby godzillasushi on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:32 am

Yea that's well put. I feel sorry for fans of the series because the movies have so much money in them but they are so poorly executed. And the only consistancy was Chris Evans who rarely skipped around that fine line of being completely obnoxious. The special effects in the second were still done pretty well in my own somewhat valuable opinion. It's single redeeming value. The cloud of pointlessness looked amazing.
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Postby havocSchultz on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:34 am

Pacino86845 wrote:HAHHAHA, nicely said havoc.

Chiklis was good in the role, but he got really short-changed in this movie... he doesn't actually do much except for provide some comic relief now and then.

I have a feeling that The Thing received the Gimli treatment this time around, but I can't be sure since I haven't seen the first FF.

The Gimli Treatment: (Gim-Lee Treatment) Refers to how a character is changed for sequels in order to pander to the lowest common viewer denominator. Gimli was a fairly well-rounded secondary character in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, who mainly served as comic relief in the following two films.


That sounds about right...

He just kinda hung out...
Acted a little silly...
Played the supportive friend...
And did some heavy lifting...

In the first one he was like a fucking spaceship captain...
And was emotionally torn about his whole experience...

Now he's dating a blind chick - and when they tell him not to go near Johnny because it could dangerous - he goes all frat boy and rushes in to do exactly what they just told him not to do...

I expected them to have him haul a keg around and whenever they just survived a "big fight" he'd tap it and chug it all back...

But yeah, I don't see that as any fault of Chiklis...
But, just like most every other bad thing in this film, I blame Fox and Tim Story...

I still didn't see enough directorial flourishes and/or creativity to warrant Tim Story directing anything other than a hemmoroid cream commercial...starring Alba...as the hemmoroid...
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Postby Chilli on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:42 am

I dig the films well enough, but Doom is pretty useless in them. If they got him right (in other words, Rickman's voice) then the films would be much better than they appear.
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Postby Cha-Ka Khan on Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:50 pm

havocSchultz wrote:The f/x were better than the first...
But not as good as Cha-ka could do...


At a FRACTION of the budget, I might add!
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:57 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:Gimli was a fairly well-rounded secondary character in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, who mainly served as comic relief in the following two films.


Hehehehe... it's a 'cos a the midgets, they are a the funny, no?

With a their little doll pants anna such...
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Postby havocSchultz on Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:59 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Gimli was a fairly well-rounded secondary character in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, who mainly served as comic relief in the following two films.


Hehehehe... it's a 'cos a the midgets, they are a the funny, no?

With a their little doll pants anna such...


Just like shrunken/shrivelled old men...
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Postby Seppuku on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:02 pm

Chilli wrote:I dig the films well enough, but Doom is pretty useless in them. If they got him right (in other words, Rickman's voice) then the films would be much better than they appear.


RICKMAN?! Seriously? He's called Dr Doom, not Dr Mildly Distracting. He'd still have been better than McMahon, though.
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Postby Spifftacular SquirrelGirl on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:04 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:
Chilli wrote:I dig the films well enough, but Doom is pretty useless in them. If they got him right (in other words, Rickman's voice) then the films would be much better than they appear.


RICKMAN?! Seriously? He's called Dr Doom, not Dr Mildly Distracting. He'd still have been better than McMahon, though.


Maybe Sean Bean? I dunno but only if he has the mask on for the whole movie... none of this "I've been zapped by the power cosmic so I can look like my movie star self like my contract reads" junk.
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Postby Seppuku on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:08 pm

Sean Bean would be good if Northerners were capable of pulling off an accent...





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Postby RogueScribner on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:32 pm

FF2 was loads better than FF1, but it still wasn't quite a good movie.
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Postby Chilli on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:59 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:
Chilli wrote:I dig the films well enough, but Doom is pretty useless in them. If they got him right (in other words, Rickman's voice) then the films would be much better than they appear.


RICKMAN?! Seriously? He's called Dr Doom, not Dr Mildly Distracting. He'd still have been better than McMahon, though.


Yes, seriously. The reason I chose Rickman is because in Die Hard he managed to give the dialogue a theatrical feel, as if he was competing with himself to make it seem more than it was. I always pictured Dr. Doom having that voice, like he was very careful and precise over the use of language.

Never meant him to do the acting, just the voicework. Ala James Earl Jones. But that'd require Dr. Doom existing before the first frame of the first film in costumed form.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed May 07, 2008 3:22 pm

I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit. Everything, every-damn-thing about this movie feels forced and wrong and cheap and insulting.

Shortly after, I watched the episode "Did I Stutter?" from The Office, and I think Stanley's words to Michael sum it up perfectly:

Stanley wrote:You are a person I do not respect. The things you say, your actions, your methods and style. Everything that you would do, I would do the opposite way.

This turd and Ghost Rider are on the same level, IMO. 3/10
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Postby papalazeru on Wed May 07, 2008 3:29 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit. Everything, every-damn-thing about this movie feels forced and wrong and cheap and insulting.

Shortly after, I watched the episode "Did I Stutter?" from The Office, and I think Stanley's words to Michael sum it up perfectly:

Stanley wrote:You are a person I do not respect. The things you say, your actions, your methods and style. Everything that you would do, I would do the opposite way.

This turd and Ghost Rider are on the same level, IMO. 3/10


How dare you put it on the same level as Ghost Rider. At least GR knew it was shit.

Fantastic Four 2 thought was up it's own arse.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed May 07, 2008 3:31 pm

papalazeru wrote:At least GR knew it was shit.

Wait, wait, wait... are you defending Ghost Rider? :shock:
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Postby Maui on Wed May 07, 2008 3:38 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit.


I did too. I think it was on HBO or SHO. It was rather craptastic!

That silver surfer looked so fake. Especially when he was riding in the ship with the rest of the F4.
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Postby Peven on Wed May 07, 2008 3:39 pm

Maui wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit.


I did too. I think it was on HBO or SHO.

That silver surfer looked so fake. Especially when he was riding in the ship with the rest of the F4.


definitely too silvery.....
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Postby Seppuku on Wed May 07, 2008 3:41 pm

Peven wrote:
Maui wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit.


I did too. I think it was on HBO or SHO.

That silver surfer looked so fake. Especially when he was riding in the ship with the rest of the F4.


definitely too silvery.....


If only Cha Ka were here to show us how it should be done.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed May 07, 2008 3:46 pm

Maui wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit.


I did too. I think it was on HBO or SHO. It was rather craptastic!

That silver surfer looked so fake. Especially when he was riding in the ship with the rest of the F4.

Actually, I thought he looked great when he was depowered and it was Doug Jones in a deep gray body suit. He still felt alien and unnatural, but also real. Obviously, the Surfer needs to be bright, bright silver for when he's at full power, but I wish they'd found a way to make him feel less CG, less cartoony.

That said, I did like a handful of Surfer moments throughout the film, including his "fight" against Galactus at the end. It didn't make any sense and I don't think it was particularly well directed, but the poses the Surfer made when he was using his powers were pretty fun.
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Postby Maui on Wed May 07, 2008 3:50 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
Maui wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:I finally watched this last night and I can now say, categorically, that it is complete and utter horseshit.


I did too. I think it was on HBO or SHO. It was rather craptastic!

That silver surfer looked so fake. Especially when he was riding in the ship with the rest of the F4.

Actually, I thought he looked great when he was depowered and it was Doug Jones in a deep gray body suit.


Yeah, that part. Just didn't look alien enough for me. Like some guy in a gray leotard.

;)
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Re: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Now w/ Shiny!

Postby TheButcher on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:32 am

From MTV Nov 4 2002:
'Fantastic Four' Screenwriter Spills Super Secrets - Doug Petrie talks casting idea, plot outlines, special effects.
Ryan J. Downey wrote:How's this sound as an opening sequence? Adoring groupies cram New York's Fifth Avenue, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic, played by Charlize Theron and "Angel"'s Alexis Denisof. The Thing, voiced by John C. Reilly, rips the top off an armored car and yanks out two would-be robbers. Paul Walker shouts, "flame on!" as his Johnny Storm character ignites into the Human Torch, saving a female fan from another thief's rocket launcher.

Two hours later, just before the credits role on "The Fantastic Four," New York's favorite superheroes buzz away in their Fantastic Car, with Johnny dropping 8x10 photos to fans in a scene shamelessly lifted from the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night."

That's what audiences will see if all goes according to plan for "Fantastic Four" screenwriter Doug Petrie, who together with director Peyton Reed ("Bring It On") is bringing one of Marvel Comics' most beloved properties to the big screen.

"The big debate between everybody was giant monster or no giant monster," Petrie said of the flick's proposed opening scene. "I wanted the poster for the movie to be the cover for the first issue, where basically you do a live-action version of a giant monster ripping through Fifth Avenue and Fantastic Four kicking its ass. For budget reasons, it went to something else, but it's still a giant opening scene. It's 'A Hard Days Night.' It's everybody going to watch the Beatles.

"The big reason I got hired was that the scripts that were done before, by pretty big-name guys, were origin stories," explained Petrie, whose credits include several episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"[The other scripts] were very big on 'these are astronauts that go to space' for the first, like, half-hour," he said. "It was something like 'Armageddon.' I just kept saying it's got to be like 'A Hard Day's Night.' "

In the established Marvel Comics mythos, the Fantastic Four — Dr. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), wife Susan Storm (the Invisible Woman), her brother Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Benjamin Grimm (the Thing) — gained superpowers after an experimental rocketship ride bombarded them with radiation. Together as the Fantastic Four, they live together in the Baxter Building and battle supervillains like the Mole Man and their arch-nemesis, the metal-masked Dr. Victor Von Doom.

Casting hasn't begun on "The Fantastic Four," and Petrie of course is no casting director, but in addition to his hopes of grabbing Reilly, Denisof, Theron and Walker, he'd love to see Jude Law as Dr. Doom.

"We had a huge, huge series of discussions on the look of Dr. Doom," Petrie said. "We really had to focus on the Fantastic Four, and Victor's origin had to be tied into their origin. We played him as the Pete Best of the Fantastic Four. He gets screwed out of the superpowers, so he made himself who he is. ... The Marvel guys were very high on showing the actor's face. ... I hope I'm not spilling too many secrets. But I got caught up with how to show his face but keep the scariness of a guy in a mask.

"I wanted the big reveal to be [that] the mask is a high-tech thing that can separate and retract off his face when he wants it to," he continued. "You see that he's unbelievably handsome. ... But it doesn't end there. When he's handsome, he's lying. When his real character comes out, his face starts to sag and melt and scarify in this horrible way. And what you learn is that his face got so smashed upon his re-entry — he was one of the original astronauts — he's literally falling apart. And the mask is the only thing keeping him together."

"The Fantastic Four" movie will mostly skip the back-story and begin in a New York where the team already exists — in a world where, unlike "X-Men," they are anything but antiheroes.

"They're the biggest celebrities in New York City," Petrie explained. "To the world outside, they are the world's coolest superheroes. [But] when they get home, they just fight with each other about everything. They order pizzas and argue about who gets the better costumes and stuff like that. It's a family comedy when they get behind closed doors."

With Mr. Fantastic's elastic ability, the Thing's rocky orange hide and the Human Torch's fiery body, budget constraints have kept a decent "Fantastic Four" movie from theaters (most fans cringe at the widely bootlegged but never officially released 1994 "Fantastic Four"). But now, thanks to the success of "Spider-Man," the big-budget "Fantastic Four" is going ahead at 20th Century Fox.

"There's a tremendous amount of pressure to get this movie made," Petrie said, "and to get it right and to cash in on the mania that obviously exists out there and the need for superhero stories."

"The Fantastic Four" is scheduled for a 2004 release.


From CBM:
Screenwriter Mark Frost Looks Back Upon Writing For The FANTASTIC FOUR Films
Mark Frost, is perhaps best known as a co-creator of Twin Peaks, with David Lynch, but he also dipped his toes in the comic book movie genre with screenwriting duties on both of director Tim Story and 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four films. See what he had do say.

Mark Frost has worn many hats in his life; an acclaimed television writer for NBC's police drama Hill Street Blues, co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, a film producer (" The Greatest Game Ever Played"), a novelist ("The Paladin Prophecy"), and a screenwriter for Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Recently, Frost participated in an interview with the site, Portable, and he discussed working on Tim Story's superhero films, which starred; Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Chris "Captain America" Evans as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.
Portable: You worked on the Fantastic Four movies. What’s it like working with someone else’s characters and a pre-established story and adding your own story to that?

Mark Frost:
The first movie was a lot fun because I’d collected Fantastic Four as a kid and had a lot of affections for, so they were stories I was very familiar with. The studio had tried to develop the thing for about ten years and it had fallen flat and gone in all sorts of different directions. I kind of steered them back to the original conceptions, the original ideas, the point. In a way it was like working with old friends, these were characters I’d known for 40 years. It was a little different than working with an adaptation that was brand new to me, with characters I didn’t know.

The second movie never really had much of a chance, it had kind of an ass-backwards development where they had named a release date but they didn’t have a movie to go out on that day. The second movie is a bit less effective than the first one, but that was a little different than a straight adaptation. These characters have been around for so long that they’re almost in our collective unconscious of pop culture, so it wasn’t that difficult.

P: Did you feel like you were adding your own voice to a modern myth? The collective unconscious made me think of Jung and Joseph Campbell.

Mark Frost:
You’re trying to speak to those characters in the way they spoke to you, bring them up as the archetypes they were originally assigned to be.

P: So to fill the hole they filled back then, while considering the differences in culture?

Mark Frost:
Right. I think our infatuation with superhero movies in the last 15 years speaks to that very thing, that interest in trying to form a mythology for a culture, particularly one as diverse and fast-moving as ours. It’s pretty difficult. As the 21st century came on us this set of characters from those books — characters many people first encountered as kids — have suddenly assumed this place of primacy in our collective storytelling. In some ways its a little alarming — they’re not the most mature characters you’ll come across, but at the same time they do address things collectively that are under the surface. These are issues that many people deal with like, identity, and anxiety and “what’s my ultimate role” and “is there such a thing as salvation?” All these things are in these books, these comic books.

P: Did comics and superhero stories help formulate your views of storytelling?

Mark Frost:
I was a big Marvel character as a kid, I read a few DC books as well, but they were kinda like the Democrat and Republican party of comics: we didn’t have all the great indie labels that have sprung up since then. Marvel in the way was the upstart, DC had been around for a couple of decades before. I identify pretty strongly with the Marvel brand, and identify with their whole stable of characters.

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Re: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Now w/ Shiny!

Postby TheButcher on Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:55 am

From CBR Wed, June 1st, 2005:
Ushering Marvel's First Family on to the Silver Screen: France talks "Fantastic Four" film
Dave Richards wrote:Over the past few years many of Marvel Comics characters have leapt from the four-color page to the big screen. Big name characters like The X-Men and Spider-Man have successful film franchises behind them and even a lesser known character like Blade has his own trilogy. However Marvel's first family, The Fantastic Four, the characters that helped launch the "House of Ideas" have yet to star in a big budget feature film, not counting the never released Roger Corman B-Movie style adaptation of course.

This all changes on July 8th with the release of "Fantastic Four" starring Michael Chiklis as the Thing, Jessica Alba as the Invisible Girl, Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic, Chris Evans as the Human Torch and Julian McMahon as the FF's arch-enemy Dr.Doom. CBR News spoke to "Fantastic Four" co-writer Michael France via e-mail about the film and what it was like adapting the adventures of Marvel's First Family for the silver screen.

When France, a long time fan of the "Fantastic Four," heard that producer Chris Columbus was developing a Fantastic Four movie with Fox he had to get involved. "I pushed hard for it, and found that Chris and I both were really driven by a love for the original books," France told CBR News. "I wound up taking original comics from the 1960s into the first meetings. Ever since I was a kid and knew that I wanted to write for movies, there were two things in particular that I wanted to adapt - James Bond and 'Fantastic Four' and I've been lucky enough to do both."

The run of "Fantastic Four" that France enjoys the most is the series original. "I'm a huge fan of the original Lee/Kirby books. I was reading them constantly while writing my drafts," France said. "I love the rough, crazy imaginative quality of the first twenty five or so issues, that set up so many of the major characters, villains and situations. I love the comedic stuff in that period (like when Mr. Fantastic hypnotizes the shape shifting Skrulls to become cows). My favorite books are from the middle of the Lee/Kirby run; probably from around forty through eighty, which had an explosive, massively scaled cinematic quality. Stories like the arrival of Galactus and the Silver Surfer, the coming of the Inhumans, Doom getting unlimited power. They called this 'the world's greatest comic magazine,' and that wasn't just hype. Tell me what was better in that period. Hell, tell me what's better now!"

France was reluctant to reveal too many plot details about the film. "It depicts the origin of the Fantastic Four as a team," he explained. "Much of the storyline tracks their evolution as a family-- the way four very separate people come together as an indivisible unit."

While France used the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comics as his guide and tried be as faithful as possible, he did have to make some changes for the film. "The origin effectively has Reed and Ben stealing a rocket ship-- we're fine up to that point-- but when Sue is coming along because she's Reed's girlfriend and Johnny is coming because he's Sue's brother, it gets a little dicey," France said. "I needed a better reason for them all to go into space. So I had Reed going up to the space station controlled by Doom so they could cooperate on an experiment, and Sue went with him not just as his girlfriend but also as his partner and as a scientist in her own right. I had Ben going as a pilot, but I really changed Johnny-- he's no longer a punk high school kid, I made him a pilot as well who has a back story with Ben, his old instructor."

In the film Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are still old college friends. France did not have the two as friends in his original script. His co-writer Mark Frost returned that detail from the comics to the script. "In my scripts, Ben was a pilot recruited by Reed to fly him up to the space station, and he resented taking orders from Reed," France explained. "He resented Reed a lot more after he was turned into a monster. But by the end of my scripts, and by the end of the movie, it's clear that these guys are best friends who would do anything for each other. Ben and Reed have a very interesting relationship in that they're both bound together, and torn apart, by the accident that gave them powers. I really enjoyed writing scenes dealing with the complexity of that relationship, and fortunately a lot of that has come through in the movie."

France worked the Fantastic Four's costumes into the movie in a very natural way. "I took what seemed to me to be a simple approach to the costumes: it didn't seem out of line for the uniform jumpsuit type clothes to be something they all would wear while in space," France said. "And it seemed reasonable to me that the clothes would be affected the same way as each individual when the accident happens. (They just have to make sure that they label the clothes correctly later, or Johnny would be in for some trouble after wearing Reed's suit.) So the fact that they have to wear the outfits is developed as sort of a necessity and an accident, not really by design. I wanted them to not feel like costumes, but to feel like functional outfits that they just have to wear."

When France was writing "Fantastic Four," which was years before the release of the "Ultimate Fantastic Four" comic, he decided to tie Dr. Doom and the Fantastic Four's origin together. "They are all in space together on a space station under Doom's control, and the result is that when they mutate, so does Doom, developing some metallic skin as well as eventually donning the classic armor," France said. "As much as I love the Doom origin in the comics, that's a movie in itself, and I wanted to find a way to keep his character closely involved with the others."

France's co-writer also altered Doom's character for the film. "Mark Frost later made a significant change by making Doom an industrialist who has romantic feelings for Sue, and therefore he has great cause to try to make Reed look small in front of her. That was an interesting character dynamic. In the film, Doom retains a kind of mysterious Latverian back story, and while he's dealt with definitively in the film, just like in the old Marvel comics, you shouldn't be surprised if you see him again in future films."

When writing "Fantastic Four," France decided to give the film a unusual tone for a comic book movie. "We thought we'd do something that's novel for a comic book movie. The tone is fun," France said. "Just for a change, we thought we'd make a movie that was fun, not dark, brooding or ultra-violent. That doesn't mean campy, and it doesn't mean that there aren't dramatic moments, because there certainly are (particularly with Ben's tragic situation). But when I was writing this thing, I felt like a nine year old kid, and I hope that everyone watching the movie taps into that kind of excitement too."

When adapting the "Fantastic Four" comics, France felt one of the essential qualities that needed to be captured for the film was the realistic character dynamics and relationships. "There really is no other set of characters in comics like the Fantastic Four. They seem a bit more realistic than other heroes-- they're a genuine family, they bicker, they don't have secret identities, but they do have money problems and each has to separately deal with their fame," France explained. "In other words, they act like real people would act if they were put in this astounding situation. Combine the realism of the characters with the huge, huge world of adventure they live in. These are people who live in an enormously scaled world, with space travel, superpowers, and so on, but that world feels fun and real because of the characters who are taking you through it."

One of the most challenging aspects for France was capturing and adequately exploring the number of character relationships and dynamics in the film. "One of the things that's absolute murder about writing 'Fantastic Four' is that you have to have beginnings, middles and ends for multiple dysfunctional relationships spread out amongst the four main characters, and you really have to give all of them equal weight," France said. "Reed and Sue are in love, but Reed is insecure about his relationship and buries himself in his work, while Sue wants more attention from him. Ben and Reed are best friends who are simultaneously bound together and torn apart by the accident that gave them powers-- Ben hates being a monster, blames Reed and wants a cure, and Reed feels guilty but also stressed about the pressure Ben is putting on him. Ben and Johnny have a 'best of enemies' relationship. They're constantly feuding, but Johnny feels he has to prove himself to Ben and the truth is they'd do anything for each other. Johnny and Sue are brother and sister and love each other, but Sue thinks Johnny needs to grow up and Johnny resents her motherly attitude. Ben has a romance not just with Alicia, but with someone else who has big problems with the relationship once he develops his skin problem. This is a lot of different relationship threads you have to deal with in the course of a two-hour science fiction adventure. It's quite a balancing act, but I think we pulled it off. Again, the core of the movie is following all these different relationships and showing that even though they have problems once in a while, they all will come together when it counts to help each other as a team, no matter what the cost."

France feels that the family aspect of the FF and the realistic characters are what will capture the imaginations of filmgoers as well as comic fans. "When the comics were first created, you could see that the Fantastic Four bordered on pulp adventure stereotypes," France said. "You have the smart guy, the strong guy, the show off, the girlfriend. But there's some spark in it-- the way Stan Lee made Ben and Johnny so funny, the way Jack Kirby made Ben tragic-- that really makes it unique. Everybody has a character they'd identify with, or who makes you say, 'Hey, I know someone just like that one'. Those recognizable, human characters are what made the comic a one of a kind phenomenon, and I think they'll work for the movie in just the same way."

The Fantastic Four have not received much outside media attention in recent years, but France was surprised at how many people knew and loved the characters. "What's surprised me in the past couple of years is how many guys I've run into who have nothing to do with the film business and haven't bought or read or probably even thought about a comic in over twenty years, but when I mention that I'm involved in a 'Fantastic Four' movie that's coming soon, every one of these guys start bouncing off the walls and saying that it was their favorite comic when they were a kid," France explained. "All of a sudden they get a glassy look that means they just went back to the treehouse or the backseat of the car or wherever it was that they read these books until they fell apart."

While he's not seen the finished film yet, France has been thrilled with what he has seen of the movie thus far. "It's a childhood dream to see, up on the big screen, the Torch blazing though midtown Manhattan, screaming, 'Flame on!', or to hear Ben Grimm say, 'It's clobberin' time!' as he punches Dr. Doom through a wall."

France feels that a great group of actors have been chosen to play Marvel's First Family. "I think the casting is excellent," he said. "I've been watching 'The Shield' for years, saying, boy, if we ever get the FF movie up and running again, Michael Chiklis has to Ben Grimm. He has the look, the attitude, the voice; he's even got blue eyes. Ioan Griffudd is taking on one of the most difficult roles, because Reed is so emotionally buried, but everything I've seen has him bringing a lot of warmth to the role as well as intelligence. Jessica Alba also has to deal with very different aspects of the character -- she's the maternal heart of the group, but at the same time she's very tough and smart --and from what I see she's bringing out every facet of the character. And Chris Evans is hilarious. The crowd I saw 'Sith' with was laughing at his big moments in the trailer. He's also got a tough job because of the contradictions of the character-- he has to be so cocky that you want to punch his lights out, but he still has to be likeable underneath it all."

Writing "Fantastic Four" was a highly enjoyable experience for France and he would love to pen the sequel. "Any chance to revisit these stories and these characters would be terrific...I've never had more fun writing a script than I did on 'Fantastic Four'," France said. "Of course I have ideas for more than one film. Not just for Galactus but for a number of other FF story arcs. And I've got a kid good looking enough to play Franklin Richards, so I'll make Avi a two for one deal on the sequel."
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Re: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Now w/ Shiny!

Postby TheButcher on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:39 am

From CBM:
FANTASTIC FOUR Concept Art: Unconventional Designs For Dr. Doom & The Thing
In the past, visual effects guru, Steven Johnson and his XFX studio, made a pitch to 20th Century Fox to be the special effects team for a Fantastic Four film. This was before the Tim Story film was made, and at that time Nicolas Cage was penciled in to play the role of the main villain, Doctor Victor Von Doom. Steve has now released has put these images up for sale on EBay. You can see Constantine Sekeris' designs for Dr. Doom and The Thing below, or click here to see even more concept art and a bizarre mechanical arm conceived for the ruthless ruler of Latveria.

FANTASTIC FOUR: Bizarre Dr. Doom Prototype Arm; Plus Nicolas Cage Concept Art
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