As I failed to catch this at the Cinema when it came out, it about time I grabbed the DVD and saw what this second instalment has to offer. The first Fantastic 4 movie I really enjoyed, it wasnt just a fun ride, it had some great dialogue interactions and 'family' issues to work through - just like the books. This idea continues in the second film (Rise of the Silver Surfer), perhaps without the same joy of seeing these characters for the first time, but still a fun ride. The visual effects are on par with the first (no doubt the production team claims they are far better) and we have the usual suite of 3D generated shots including our new CG character - the Surfer himself.
Weta Digital bring us the CG work required to bring the Fan4 to life and indeed the new Silver Surfer. The VFXworld article by Thomas J. McLean covers the digital work required with some nice imagery. The pipeline using at its heart Maya, RenderMan, Shake and Nuke is pretty standard fair, though they do have a whole bunch of goodies running atop and beside them.
[Images of the CG work by Weta Digtal on Fan4.2 from VFXworld]
The full cast is back, Jessica Alba looking at times rather bland, but still able to bring some personality into a scene with s smile or a quirky expression. I liked how Galactus was done, though for me I would have liked some more put into the idea that this is just a force of nature and not evil - that wasnt really played out. Plus we have no real idea what occurs at the end - why couldnt the surfer have done this before - that wasnt this movie's shining moment!
Anyhow, it is a fun ride, without adding to the first film. I am wondering if it will grow on me after a few more viewings - there are quite a few films that do. There are lots of resources for the film online of course: IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Fan4DVD and the Official Site.
Fantastic 4 Comic Imagery
Just to give a quick splash of the comic imagery (wizardry even) that the film makers had to draw on with the Fantastic Four. Here are some pics that show off some of the talent that has worked on the books, first the cover of the very original by Jack Kirby, then a serious bevy of wonders from the likes of Jim Lee, Michael Turner and more. All these images are from the Comic Vine Fantastic Four Gallery - check it for more.
[Cover of Fantastic Four #1 artwork by Jack Kirby]