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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment





Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer - BRD

(Tim Story - 2007)





Studio: 20th Century Fox (USA) / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (USA)



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Feature film: 1080p / AVC @ 27 MBPS

92 minutes

Supplements: HD/SD [anamorphic 480i]



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio

English DD 5.1 Surround

French DD 5.1 Surround

Spanish DD 5.1 Surround

English for the visually impaired



English, Spanish, French, Korean & Cantonese



• Commentary by Director Tim Story

• Commentary by the Film Editors Peter Elliot & Bill Hoy

Saving the World One Question at a Time Trivia Game

Who Dares Defy Galactus?  Strategy Game

• Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems

• Extended & Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Tim Story

• Featurettes:

The Power Cosmic

Character Design with Spectral Motion

Scoring the Fantastic

The Power Cosmic

The Fantasticar: State of the Art

• Documentary: Family Bonds

• Documentary: Sentinel of the Spaceways: Silver Surfer Comic Book Origins

• Still Galleries: Behind the Scenes, Character & Concept Art

• Theatrical Trailers


28 chapters

Standard Blu-ray case:

1 disc: 50GB dual layer

Release Date: October 9, 2007



Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer ~ Comment

We could categorize movie adaptations of comic books in terms of relative darkness.  While the Star Wars saga may have lit the match in a nearby genre, I don't think this territory was seriously explored until Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, in which both Jack Napier and Bruce Wayne as the Joker and Batman respectively, were shown to have more in common than was comfortable – for Wayne, at any rate.  What with later Batman incarnations through to Peter Parker's Spider-Man, we have been saturated with darkness and irony.  Enter – or, more properly, re-enter: the Fantastic4, whose dark side could well be charted midway between Bob Squarepants and Buffy.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  If nothing else, it's a relief.  It all depends on your expectations.  If you're still in single digits, then the Fantastic4 should be just the ticket for thrills, gags and just enough ga-ga factor to keep parents happy.  The Fantastic4 movies certainly have more thrills than Bob Squarepants, but they aren't written with nearly the same degree of finesse.  I suspect that's because the producers are still trying to secure the interest of that group of teens for whom English is a second language after text-messaging.




So, in the absence of a really smart script and in the presence of ham-fisted acting (through no fault of the actors - some of them, anyhow), what is left besides artful art direction (sometimes), cute costumes (pretty much), and fantastic special effects (lots – I especially like Reed's rubberman gig)?  To answer my own question, The Rise of the Silver Surfer does attempt to address the perennial question of whether or not humanity exists in beings other than ourselves.  This was the essential question in the Star Trek series, so it has become such a familiar part of the dramatic sci-fi and sci-fantasy lexicon as to be taken for granted.  It's not very subtly or convincingly addressed here, but that's to be expected, given the first film.



Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer ~ The Score Card


The Movie : 6

When last – and first seen – Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm had only just come upon their superpowers in a space accident.  In that movie, they began to face the fact that their lives would never be quite the same again.  In this new movie, Sue and Reed (Jessica Alba & Ioan Gruffudd) think they can re-enter their lives by getting married.  But not so fast, kids.  Dangers have already landed, one from outer space, the other by a reincarnated Victor von Doom.  The really cool thing about this movie is the introduction of the Silver Surfer character.  He looks cool, he races about faster than, well, just about anything.  He's super strong.  He does his master's bidding at all times, and, like Marshal Sam Gerard, he just doesn't care. . . not, at least, until he meets Sue Storm.  The Master, whom we do not meet exactly, targets one planet after another for extinction (think:Fifth Element).  Victor, with his new lease on life, plots to steal the source of the Surfer's power – you guessed it, his surfboard.  Only a ten year old wouldn't find that too laughable for words, so the trick is not to say the word out loud.  The Fantastic4 are about one step behind these two forces, and they and the planet can only be saved if the Surfer will turn away from the dark side.


Image : 9 (8.5~10/9.5)

The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.


There are moments in this movie where everything comes together in a perfect image.  My visceral reaction was "off the chart."  It doesn't really matter where: the bits are fleeting and do not contain scenes with actors.  Still, most of the movie looks pretty damn good – perhaps some softness or less than right on the money focus here and there, but in general very good.












Audio & Music : 9.5/8

As good, even a bit better than the image, is a dynamite audio track with a wide frequency response and dynamic range that still permits dialog and music to come and go at their pleasure.


Operations : 7

I gotta tell you that I failed the menu navigation intelligence test twice before I figured out how to get to Scenes and Features.  I was not amused.  But before we even get close to the feature film, Fox gives us a couple of semi-obligatory previews, one of which is for the upcoming Blu-ray of The Simpsons Movie.  The image is, like, perfect.  The audio ain't shabby either.




Extras : 8

There are two commentary tracks.  I sampled both and found the director's to be the more engaging.  The DVD is a regular cornucopia of doc's and featurettes that tell us more than we could possibly want to know, some of it redundantly, about the production.  The one that caught my eye is titled Sentinel of the Spaceways: Silver Surfer Comic Book Origins.  What its self-explanatory title doesn't reveal that it is Stan Lee himself who guides us through this informative 3/4 hour travelogue.  It tells people like myself, who aren't all that up on comic book lore, a good deal about the genre.  Stan, by the way, makes a brief cameo in the movie in one of its droller moments.




Recommendation: 7

Terrific picture and audio, extra features abound make this a must have for the Fantastic4 fan.

Leonard Norwitz
October 12th, 2007





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