Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 25
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

WHEN FIRE MEETS ICE: Johnny the Human Torch (Chris Evans, left) tries to use his super power of fire to subdue the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones, with voice of Laurence Fishburne) but is unsuccessful at stopping him.

The Fantastic Four 2: Dull Sequel Even More Disappointing Than Original

Kam Williams

How do you take a team of beloved comic book crime fighters with superhuman powers and turn them into absolute bores on the big screen? That's a question which can best be answered by Tim Story, director of The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, since he's done it twice now. This flat sequel proves to be just as dull as his first adaptation of the Marvel franchise back in 2005.

The quartet, which was inspired by the classic Greek elements — air, fire, water and earth, — is led by the elastic Dr. Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), a contortionist who has the ability to stretch, twist, and re-shape his body; Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) who can become invisible and also control force fields; her brother, Johnny (Chris Evans), the Human Torch, who can fly and set himself afire; and The Thing (Michael Chiklis), who is a mutant with incredible strength.

As the movie opens, we find Reed and Sue in Manhattan, making last-minute preparations for their marriage, blissfully unaware of extraordinary climate changes occurring elsewhere. They're too distracted by the wedding plans, paparazzi, and adoring fans to have heard that it's snowing on the pyramids in Egypt and that the seas encircling Japan have frozen solid.

Only after the weather causes a blackout in New York, which ruins the couple's wedding day, do they try and figure out what's causing the meteorological anomalies. They quickly discover that it is the work of the Silver Surfer (played by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne). This intergalactic traveler is on a mission to Earth on behalf of Galactus, an evil entity that feeds on life-bearing planets.

The Silver Surfer is virtually indestructible as long as he isn't separated from his metallic surfboard which is the source of his cosmic powers. He flies faster than the speed of light and can survive in outer space, so it's clear that it's going to take a concerted effort by all four superheroes to subdue this villain who is bent on world domination.

At the suggestion of U.S. Army General Hager (Andre Braugher), the Fantastic Four reluctantly join forces with their recently revived archenemy, the diabolical Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon). Unfortunately, the tortoise paced adventure which ensues relies on pseudo-scientific claptrap which a ten year-old wouldn't believe. Further, despite the film's $130 million budget, its computer graphics enhanced fight sequences are so tame and unimpressive that the movie was given a PG rating.

Unfortunately, director Story squanders screen time on distracting sidebars that develop the protagonists' personal lives, such as The Thing's relationship with his blind girlfriend (Kerry Washington); Johnny's being a ladies man; and Sue and Reed's nuptials, at which Fantastic Four creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a wedding crasher.

Fantastic Four 2 is the worst comic book adaptation since … well, since Fantastic Four 1. An unimaginative disaster that takes forever to end, as if the film is being stretched by Mr. Fantastic to make the movie last ten times longer than ninety minutes.

Poor (0 stars). Rated PG for sexual innuendo, mild epithets, and action violence. Running time: 92 minutes. Studio: 20th Century Fox.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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