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December 13, 2007
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
21/6/200712/12/2007FoxTim Story
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master AudioPGJessica Alba

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Effects are pretty spectacular!
A couple of weeks ago we reviewed Fantastic Four on Blu-Ray. Given that the disc was one of the first released on the format it was remarkable how great the transfer looked. Now we have the sequel which has just hit the shelves and believe it or not the transfer - and indeed the movie itself - is vastly improved over the original. Everyone returned to make this sequel including the stars and director, and everyone puts in a much more polished performance. So what is this second movie about?

The enigmatic intergalactic herald, the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones) comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. As he races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed Richards (Ioann Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr Doom (Julian McMahon), before all hope is lost!

Rise of the Silver Surfer manages to keep a brisk pace from start to finish which, given the 92 minute runtime, probably isn't the hardest thing to achieve. As soon as the Silver Surfer arrives on the scene (which is pretty much as soon as the movie starts) things start going amiss - including the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. As well as the impending destruction that the Silver Surfer brings the Fantastic Four also have to work with Dr Doom. There are a few neat twists in the storyline, and you never quite know what the Silver Surfer is going to do next but there is certainly plenty of action in the movie, including a stunning action sequence set in London.

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It's the Fantastic Four...
The acting - which still isn't great mind - is a step up from the first movie as each of the actors settles into their roles and obviously has a good rapport with their fellow actors. Tim Story's direction is a little better then the first movie although it's quite clear that this movie, with its PG rating, isn't going to provide any disturbing or graphic imagery. There is also a bit of humour and while at times it's a bit groan-worthy, there were also a few genuine laughs here.

One thing that I have found amusing is that some other reviewers and movie goers have complained that the Silver Surfer looked like a clone of the T-1000 from Terminator 2. Can I take this opportunity to remind them that the Silver Surfer first appeared in Marvel comic books way back in 1966 - well before the Terminator franchise was even the smallest thought in James Cameron's mind.

While still not a great movie this sequel certainly offers a lot more entertainment, and visually stunning set pieces, then the original which was a little pedestrian at times. If you're after a great comic book 'popcorn' flick then this will likely fill your needs.

The original Fantastic Four looked pretty spectacular on Blu-Ray. As one of the first movies the MPEG-2 encoded video was pretty much a reference quality disc, and even today it holds up quite well. At least it did until this latest batch of Blu-Ray releases including Die Hard 4.0 and Rise of the Silver Surfer turned up. Using the AVC MPEG-4 codec this disc offers some of the most stunningly clear images ever seen.

With such an effects laden movie I was a little concerned that the presentation would look to 'CG-ish' in places but that wasn't the case at all. In particular the flame effects on Johnny Storm are fantastic, and the metallic silver and reflections on the Surfer are also quite amazing. Throughout the picture colours are vibrant, but manage to retain a natural look especially with skintones. The transfer is, as expected, totally devoid of any film or compression artifacts. Indeed this is one of the best transfers of a movie to Blu-Ray in our collection.

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God is she gorgeous, and knocked up now too!
As with the video the audio on the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is quite superb. The main English track is DTS-HD Master Audio which, as with all discs to date, on the PS3 is outputted as the core 1.5Mbps DTS track. With so many action sequences in the movie it won't come as a surprise to hear me say that there is some aggressive use of the surround sound channels, and also plenty of bass to shake the room around. Dialogue is clear at all times - including Michael Chiklis as The Thing - while the music sets the tone for the movie quite well.

Other audio options on this disc include French 5.1 DTS at 768kbps, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384kbps, and English Descriptive Audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384kbps. Subtitles are provided in around 10 different languages for the main feature and each of the audio commentaries has subtitles in English, French and Dutch.

Realising that this would be a key Blu-Ray release in 2007 Fox have spent considerable time and effort ensuring that this release would be packed with extras unlike many of the companies many early releases. While there is a lot here the one disappointment is that they aren't presented in High Definition - a 2-disc set with all extras in HD would have been most welcome. Still, there's plenty here to keep you busy for quite a while after you've watched the movie.

Commentary by Director Tim Story:

    It's quite clear that Tim Story is passionate about this movie and the entire Fantastic Four franchise. He is quite a joy to listen to with plenty of information about the production of this movie, the problems they encountered and the set pieces used.

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The action sequence in London is great.
Commentary by Producer Avi Arad, Writer Don Payne and Film Editors Peter S. Elliot and William Hoy:

    After the impressive commentary from Tim Story I was hoping that this group effort would be even better with a lot more interesting stories and comments from the participants. Sadly I actually found this to be the lesser of the two commentaries with limited detail, and periods of silence.

Extended and Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Tim Story (9:41):

    Presented in Standard Definition but encoded in AVC these scenes are nice to have, but there's nothing much here to get excited about. Impressively the scenes that are already in the movie are presented in Black and White, while the new scenes are presented in colour.

Family Bonds: The Making of Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer (46:11):

    Split into two parts (Pre-Production and Production). This is certainly the biggest and most impressive of the extras this covers and considerable amount of the production of the movie and includes a tonne of 'fly on the wall' footage as well as sit down interviews with a large number of cast and crew. There's a tonne of information here about the creation of this movie. The only disappointment is that this lengthy feature is only presented in Standard Definition.

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You mean we have to act this time!?
The Fantasticar - State of the Art (10:37):

    A look a the flying vehicle used in the movie including the design and artwork that went into the conceptualization of the vehicle, its creation (both real and virtual) and then use in filming for the movie.

The Power Cosmic (15:10):

    A look at the Silver Surfer in the movie and the need to get it right to satisfy comic book fans, and non-fans alike. From the poses for the Surfer, to the visual effects, and the filming with motion capture. Fox actually used WETA (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) for the visual effects. Quite an interesting featurette.

Sentinel of the Spaceways: Comic Book Origins of The Silver Surfer (39:02):

    A fascinating look at the comic book origins of the Silver Surfer with considerable interviews with Stan Lee. Quite an impressive featurette and one which will interest both comic book, and non-comic book, fans alike.

Scoring the Fantastic (4:39):

    A look at scoring the music for Rise of the Silver Surfer with director John Ottman. Nothing detailed, and nothing not seen in other similar featurettes.

Character Design with Spectral Motion (11:34):

    A decent enough look at the work that went into changing Michael Chiklis into The Thing.

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This scene is pretty funny...
Still Galleries:

    A series of still photos from the production of the movie.

"Saving the World One Question at a Time" Trivia Game:

    A Java based trivia game which is set to provide some entertainment.

"Who Dares Defy Galactus" Strategy Game:

    Better then the trivia game this strategy game sees you trying to save or conquer a series of worlds. Learn the rules and you can spend a bit of time here..

Theatrical Trailers (3:42/HD):

    Two trailers for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.


    The disc contains a couple of web links to Fox but clicking on it only brings up a screen to go to the site. I would love it if we could click on the links and be taken to them through the PS3's web browser - even it if did mean closing the disc. Perhaps with Profile 1.1 due out soon then.

As a movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer far surpasses the original. The script is tighter, the pacing better, the acting less wooden and there are quite a few more action sequences to get you excited. Fox are finally getting their act together with Blu-Ray extras as well with some great additions on this disc. If you liked this movie then there is no reason not to pick up Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer on this superb Blu-Ray disc.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.