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Kevin G Hare

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Rise of the Surfer

The Fantastic Four, a modern take on the classic portrayal of dysfunctionalism in the all-American family.  Though set in a fantastic sense of reality, they struggle like every other family out there.  I thought it was great.

Aside from the fact that they each possess a superhuman ability, I couldn’t help but reflect on the commonality with every family on the planet.  A mother and father figure with two squabbling siblings – it doesn’t get any more every day than that.

The storyline was fun, engaging and the effects were stunning.  I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t dawdle about the inevitable marriage of Sue and Reed for the sake of adding some romance to attract a broader audience.  I was glad to see Ben getting more comfortable with his situation and I was even excited when Johnny’s ego took a bruising.  It brought him a bit closer to reality yet he was still able to maintain his comedic charm that attracted us to the character in the first place.

And what would the story be without the power-obsessed drama of Dr. Doom?  When the heroes are wondering how to cope with the awesome cosmic force that is the Silver Surfer – in swoops Victor who casually yet purposefully discovers the source of the Surfer’s power.  In the process, he is granted the return of his face, much to his unexpected delight.  Not something I would have done as his disfigurement gives him something to brood over.  It was his reminder of his hate for Richards and the FF.  But then to have Doom gain possession of the Surfer’s board and prove that with enough power, a man can move mountains, throw in the Fantasticar and a supped-up Human Torch – that adds up to a true-to-comic climax that leaves one on the edge of their seat as the planet balances on the edge of life.  Whew!  Gotta take a breath…

As for the impending destruction of life as we know it, here enters the prelude – the streak of light from the depths of space, the herald of Galactus - the Silver Surfer.  In a word – awestruck, amazement, excitement, giggling with feelings of joy-joy – OK, I couldn’t do it in one word!

This is one character of definite challenge to bring to life but life he was given in all his glimmering shininess and showed us the pain of his inner turmoil.  He came to Earth as a mystery and he maintained that sense about him throughout the story.  It was refreshing to introduce a superhero in a film without having to divulge in his origins so much.  Many fans are already familiar with the Surfer and why he does what he does.  For those who don’t, there were enough clues in the film to get a fair idea.  Further details can be brought in later if need be as too much in this story would have distracted viewers from the plot.  After all, it’s a Fantastic Four movie, not a Silver Surfer movie.

One last point – I hope that none of the viewers were too disappointed at not seeing a fully formed version of Galactus.  Though I think it would be interesting to see, I didn’t think the world is quite prepared for big purple antlers – not yet anyway.  Let’s save them for when the Surfer flies solo!