Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Fantastic Four and the slippery slope

Fantastic FourSilver Surfer
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

A super power would have been very useful for my trip to Westfield Penrith Plaza, today, to see "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". I originally planned to see a different film, but my friend was unavailable, so I saved up "Shrek the Third" and "Pirates 3" for next week and decided to enjoy a solo FF fix.

I took my usual shortcut, realizing only at the last minute that (a) it was probably going to be muddy or flooded at the end of the shortcut, and (b) I was wearing the wrong (white fabric) shoes. As I stood at the muddy, sloping edge of my shortcut, pondering whether to leap, or take a detour through perhaps worse conditions, I felt myself sliding helplessly towards oblivion. Splat!

With both hands, one arm, and one buttock cheek now thickly covered in fresh mud, I continued on to the Plaza. After a quick clean-up in the rest room (which thankfully had both paper towels and full-length mirrors), I secured my cinema ticket and filled in some time - shopping, of course - before the film started.

I really enjoyed the movie. It has received some very mixed reviews but, in my view, if you liked the first film, then this is more of the same. Some great lines, very likable characters, and amazing special effects, especially the Silver Surfer himself, and the Fantasticar. And some clever script seeding - in that the FF's power-swapping phenomenon was put to very good use (giving Michael Chiklis a little screen time as human-looking Ben Grimm), and Doctor Doom was able to be resurrected so easily, as both Doom and Julian McMahon (son of a former Australian Prime Minister, no less).

And it's heaps better than the quickie "Fantastic Four" movie that was made, but never released, in 1994. I once saw a bootleg copy from eBay, something I don't usually condone, but there was no other way to see it and I'd been quite intrigued by the casting - and the costumes, which were the same blue/white ones I'd used when we did "Perfect Botch" (a live convention game show) as the Fantastic Four in the 80s. Mind you, to give the 1994 film its due, in a list of the "50 Top Comic Movies of All Time (...and Some So Bad You've Just Got to See Them)", Wizard magazine ranked this film higher than "Batman & Robin", "Steel", "Virus" and "Red Sonja", all of which did get a theatrical release.

Fantastic Four (2004)
Michael Bailey Smith as The Thing, Rebecca Staab as Invisible Woman, Alex Hyde-White as Mr Fantastic
and the former "Boy Who Could Fly", Jay Underwood, as the Human Torch.

This pic has autographs from Smith, Staab and Joseph Culp, who played Dr Doom. The signatures were collected as a surprise for me from Glenn Ford of The Phantom Zone comic shop, who attended the big US comic convention that promoted the movie, with the actors unaware that there was no intention by the producers, including Roger Corman and Bernd Eichinger, to actually release it.

Here's the trailer Glenn Ford would have seen at the convention:

(The trailer's soundtrack lifts music from "Battle Beyond the Stars".)

Xmas 1986
So will the real Mr Fantastic please stand up?

Fantastic Four, 1986

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