Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

All around the world, strange events are unfolding, from unusual weather events to oceans solidifying to unexplained holes that seem to never end. The situation is worrisome, so General Hager (Andre Braugher) looks to bring in the world’s foremost mind, that being Professor Reed Richards (Iaon Gruffudd). While the events are epic and scientific reason is essential, Richards’ mind is not exactly focused on the world’s concerns. That is because his own world is about to change, as he prepares to marry Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), who wants his focus to be on her. So in between tuxedo fittings and rehearsals, Richards tries to uncover the truth about the unusual events. Even as his bride to be continues to complain, Richards knows he must take action, as some force is present and it doesn’t seem to be friendly. So can Richards manage to control his team, find this mysterious force, and save the world, not to mention save his own wedding?

If you’re a fan of popcorn cinema, then Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is your cup of tea. No logic, no thinking, just fast paced action with a skeletal attempt at dramatic depth. The movie isn’t quite as epic as I expected, but there is still a large scale feel here, even if the tension doesn’t always match. I mean, if the world is on the verge of destruction, I’d hope even the bitchiest diva wouldn’t act like Susan Storm does here. But the lack of dire, world ending tension aside, this is a fun, mindless movie that burns out before you can get bored. The action set pieces are nice and for fans of the comics, you’ll appreciate some moments here, especially in how the Silver Surfer is handled. The Silver Surfer looks awesome, as close to the comic version as possible, but then, most of the visuals here impress. If you want logic and emotional depth, look elsewhere, but if you want some cheap thrills, then check out Rise of the Silver Surfer. This kind of movie thrives with excellent picture & sound, so of course this Blu-ray disc is the best way to the flick at home.

Video: How does it look?

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. As expected, the visuals here look great, but I was still a little disappointed. Some scenes look incredible, with a crispness that almost rivals the theatrical presentation, but then others seem more flat. I found the visuals across the board to be a sizable improvement over the standard transfer, but sections just don’t pop like the best high definition movies do. The colors are vivid and bold however, with no errors to speak of, while contrast looks to be spot on throughout. I don’t want to be overly harsh, as this transfer does indeed look great, but I expected reference material and that isn’t the case.

Audio: How does it sound?

As always, Fox has included a lossless DTS HD soundtrack and as you’d expect from this kind of material, the audio here is loud and bombastic. The power on showcase is impressive, as the action scenes pulse through the surrounds and put us right in the middle of it all. The bass is deep and the surround use isn’t just raw power, the directional presence is also quite solid. The power comes at a cost of sorts however, as at times softer elements like dialogue and atmospheric touches get lost in the shuffle. Not to an extreme degree, but it is noticeable and detracts from the experience at times. So while the power and presence are covered, the more subtle elements suffer a little. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

All of the goodies from the standard The Power Cosmic Edition have been ported over, plus two Java based games, in case you’re that bored. The best of the supplements is Family Bonds, an almost fifty minute collection of on set footage that really lets us see inside the production. The entire gamut is covered here, you’ll see location work, technical tests, actual on set shooting, and even production meetings. This is probably as close as you can get to the set without being involved, totally free from fluff and other promotional content. A second substantial piece is Sentinel of the Spaceways, which runs just under forty minutes and examines the Silver Surfer’s comic book adventures. This provides some great insight into the character and while fans of the comics will be most taken with it, it isn’t just for the comic book devotees. A host of additional featurettes can also be found, but none offer much depth and none come close to the insights found in these two pieces. But if you’re looking for minor information about specific portions of the production, you’ll probably find what you’re after in one of the lot.

Next we have not one, but two audio commentary tracks. In the first, director Tim Story provides a solo session and he is talkative, so there’s some good stuff in here. This is not a technical style examination of the movie however, so you won’t get the nuts and bolts of the filmmaking process. Story instead focuses on the story itself and how it was developed and then evolved, but he does kick in some fun production anecdotes at times. The second track is with writer Don Payne, producer Avi Arad, and the film’s editors, though the participants were recorded in separate sessions. The nature of the editing process sometimes creates a stunted flow, but by and large, this is a worthwhile track. Some comments turn out to be quite candid and unexpected, so this is one to listen to if you want more of a open take on the movie. This disc also includes some still photos, concept artwork, deleted scenes, and two of the film’s theatrical trailers.

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