Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Rise of the Silver Surfer
|Directed by||Tim Story|
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|92 minutes |
|Box office||$301.9 million|
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (titled Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer on the DVD/Blu-ray release) is a 2007 American superhero film, and sequel to the 2005 film Fantastic Four. Both films are based on the Fantastic Four comic book and were directed by Tim Story. The film stars Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis as the title characters, with Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher, Beau Garrett, Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne in supporting roles. The plot follows the Fantastic Four (and Doctor Doom) as they confront, and later ally with, the Silver Surfer to save Earth from Galactus.
The film is the second live-action Marvel film to receive a PG rating following Howard the Duck. Upon its release on June 15, 2007 in North America, the film received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, though some considered it an improvement over the first film. While it was the highest-grossing film during its first week, the film ultimately made less than its predecessor. A third film was planned, but due to conflicts between the director and Jessica Alba, and the producers having trouble finding a new director for a planned Silver Surfer spin-off, the franchise ended up in development hell. The series was rebooted in 2015 with the release of Fantastic Four to poor critical and commercial reception. Marvel Studios eventually claimed the film rights of the characters after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney.
A silver object enters Earth's atmosphere, radiating cosmic energy that creates massive molecular fluctuations and causes deep craters at locations across the Earth. The government approaches Reed Richards to track the movements of the object.
Reed and Sue Storm prepare for their wedding. As the wedding begins, Reed's systems detect the phenomenon approaching New York City. The object destroys the sensors while the Fantastic Four protect the crowd. Sue's brother Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, pursues the object, finding that it is a humanoid, a "Silver Surfer". He confronts the Surfer, who drags Johnny into the upper atmosphere then drops him back toward Earth. Johnny manages to reactivate his powers and survives the fall, landing in a desert. Later, when Sue tries to check Johnny for illnesses, she touches his forehead and their powers switch—he becomes invisible, and she is set on fire; when they touch again their powers revert. Reed's examination of Johnny reveals that exposure to the Surfer has set Johnny's molecular structure in flux, allowing him to switch powers with his teammates through physical contact.
Tracing the cosmic energy of the Surfer, Reed discovers that a series of planets the Surfer visited previously had all been destroyed eight days after and that he has been creating deep artificial craters around the globe for some unknown purpose. Reed determines that the next crater will appear in London, and the team travels there. They arrive too late to stop the crater, and the Thames drains into it. Afterward, both Reed and Sue contemplate abandoning their lives as superheroes in order to provide a normal life to raise a family. The Surfer's movements around the globe bring him past Latveria, where the cosmic energy affects Victor Von Doom, freeing him from two years as a metal statue. Doom, able to move again but scarred, traces the Surfer to the Russell Glacier and makes him an offer to join forces. When the Surfer rebuffs him, Doom attacks. The Surfer returns fire, blasting Doom through the ice, though the cosmic energy of the Surfer's blast heals Doom's body instead of killing him.
Doom returns and leverages his experience into a deal with the United States military, who have the Fantastic Four work with Doom reluctantly. Deducing that the Surfer's board is the source of his power, Reed develops a pulse generator that will separate him from it, while Victor works on an unknown remote-like device. In the Black Forest, Sue is confronted by the Surfer, during which he reveals he is merely a servant to the destroyer of worlds and regrets the destruction he causes. The military opens fire on the Surfer, which distracts him and allows the four to fire the pulse, separating the Surfer from his board. The military imprisons the Surfer in Siberia, while they torture him for information. Sue uses her powers to sneak into his cell, where she learns his master is known on his homeworld as Galactus, a cosmic entity which feeds on life-bearing planets to survive, and that the Surfer's board is a homing beacon leading Galactus to Earth.
Doom, pursuing the power in the board, steals it from the compound, using the wrist-pad device he created in secret to gain control of the board and its powers. Doom subdues several soldiers, kills General Hager and escapes to China. The Fantastic Four rescue the Surfer, and pursue Doom in the Fantasticar, confronting him in Shanghai. During the showdown, Sue is mortally wounded on the heart protecting the Surfer from a spear from Doom. With the Surfer powerless, Johnny absorbs the combined powers of the entire team in order to battle the cosmic energy-empowered Doom. Johnny succeeds in breaking Doom's control over the Surfer's board, while Ben Grimm uses a nearby crane to knock Doom into the harbor; however, Galactus has already arrived, and Sue dies in Reed's arms. The Surfer regains the control of his board, and his power is restored, which he uses to revive Sue and to defend Earth, flying into Galactus with help from Johnny. The conflict results in a massive blast of energy, engulfing Galactus in a cosmic rift, destroying it, and seemingly the Surfer as well. Johnny's second exposure to the Surfer heals him, and he can no longer switch his powers with his teammates.
Shortly after the events in Shanghai, Reed and Sue get married in Japan, only to be interrupted yet again by an alert that Venice is sinking into the sea; to Reed's delight, she has the wedding finish quickly before they race off to save the city, using the Fantasticar to draw a "4" in the sky above.
In a mid-credits scene, a shot of the Silver Surfer shows his seemingly lifeless body floating through space, until his eyes open and his board races back towards him.
- Ioan Gruffudd as Dr. Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic, Susan's love interest and later husband
- Jessica Alba as Susan Storm / Invisible Woman, Johnny's sister, Reed's love interest and later wife
- Chris Evans as Johnny Storm / Human Torch, Susan's brother
- Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm / The Thing, Alicia's love interest
- Doug Jones (Body) & Laurence Fishburne (Voice) as Norrin Radd / Silver Surfer
- Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom / Dr. Doom
- Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters, Ben's love interest
- Beau Garrett as Captain Frankie Raye
- Vanessa Minnillo as Julie Angel
- Andre Braugher as General Hager
- Brian Posehn as Wedding Minister
- Stan Lee as Himself
With Fantastic Four grossing $330 million worldwide, 20th Century Fox hired director Tim Story and screenwriter Mark Frost in December 2005 to return for the superhero team's sequel. Screenwriters Frost and Don Payne were hired to write the screenplay. Payne has said the film is based upon "The Galactus Trilogy", in which Galactus also makes an appearance, as well as issues 57–60 in which Doom steals the Surfer's power. Payne has also said the film takes inspiration from the Ultimate Marvel limited series Ultimate Extinction. As of March 2, 2007, Galactus' design was not yet done, and by April 18, until hiring Laurence Fishburne to perform the voice, the filmmakers were unsure of whether the character would speak.
The film includes the Fantasti-Car, a larger role for Kerry Washington's character Alicia Masters, and in June 2006, the Silver Surfer was announced to appear in the sequel as a "villain / hero". The Silver Surfer has been created by combining the performance of actor Doug Jones, a grey-silver suit designed by Jose Fernandez and created by FX shop Spectral Motion which has then been enhanced by a new computer-generated system designed by WETA.
The sequel, whose working title was Fantastic Four 2, was officially titled Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in August 2006 with filming beginning on August 28 in Vancouver and set for a release date of June 15, 2007. Michael Chiklis' prosthetics as The Thing were also redesigned to allow him to take it off in between takes and for better ventilation.
In August 2006, actor Andre Braugher dropped out of an ER supporting role to be cast in Rise of the Silver Surfer. Braugher was cast as General Hager, whom director Story described as "an old acquaintance of Reed Richards and one of the major additions to the movie". In September, Jones was confirmed to portray the Silver Surfer in addition to Julian McMahon reprising his role as Doctor Doom. The Baxter Building was also redesigned.
The teaser trailer was initially exclusively attached to Night at the Museum. It was released to the general public online on December 26, 2006 on the film's official website. The theatrical trailer was scheduled to appear during the film Disturbia on April 13, 2007 but errors occurred and Tim Story announced that it would be released with Spider-Man 3 on May 4, 2007. The theatrical trailer was finally released online on April 30, 2007 on Apple Trailer's website. 20th Century Fox launched an outdoor advertising campaign at the end of February. The cast also made an appearance at the Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup NASCAR race in Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend.
In late May 2007, 20th Century Fox struck a deal with the Franklin Mint to promote the movie by altering 40,000 U.S. quarters and releasing them into circulation. All of the altered quarters were minted in 2005 and honor the state of California as part of the 50 State Quarters program created by the U.S. Mint. The altered quarters feature the Silver Surfer on the reverse along with a URL to the movie's official website. Once the U.S. Mint became aware of the promotion, it notified the studio and the Franklin Mint that it was breaking the law by turning government-issued currency into private advertising. The federal mint did not indicate whether a penalty would be effected.
The film was released October 2, 2007 on DVD (Widescreen/Full Screen & 2 Disc "The Power Cosmic" Edition) and high-definition Blu-ray Disc. The film was also released on HD DVD outside of the U.S.
On its opening weekend, the film was the highest-grossing movie at the U.S. box office, reaching approximately $58 million, $2 million more than its predecessor. By its second weekend, the film suffered a 66% drop and a 54% drop in its third weekend. The film grossed $289 million worldwide, including a $131.9 million gross in the United States and in Canada. The budget was $120–130 million.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 170 reviews, with an average rating of 4.78/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "While an improvement on its predecessor, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is nevertheless a juvenile, simplistic picture that has little benefit beyond its special effects." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On Yahoo! Movies the film is rated C+ by critics, based on 14 reviews.
The New York Times critic Manohla Dargis called the film an "amalgam of recycled ideas, dead air, dumb quips, casual sexism and pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo". Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said the film was "more fun than in the original" but "fails to sustain its modest running time of 87 minutes." James Berardinelli of ReelViews.com called the film "so lackluster it makes Spider-Man 3 feel like a masterpiece by comparison".
Kevin Maher of The Times liked the film's light tone saying "the film is everything you’d expect from a movie that began in the pages of a 1960s comic book – garish, giddy, emotionally simplistic, boldly idiotic and mercifully short". New York Daily News liked the movie: "It's almost a surprise that the sequel is actually better — much better — than the original."
Rise of the Silver Surfer was nominated for fifteen awards, winning two. The film won the 2008 Golden Trailer Award for "Best Teaser Poster", against competition from Saw IV, and Quantum of Solace, among others. At the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards, Jessica Alba won for "Favorite Female Movie Star", over Keira Knightley of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and Kirsten Dunst of Spider-Man 3. Rise of the Silver Surfer was nominated for five additional Kids' Choice awards.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer lost to Cloverfield for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films' 2008 Best Science Fiction Film award, just as it lost in the "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" category, presented by the MTV Movie Awards to Transformers. The United Kingdom's National Movie Awards, additionally, selected Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix over Rise of the Silver Surfer in its 2007 "Best Family" category. The film was nominated in eight categories during the Teen Choice Awards ceremonies of 2007, but won no award.
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