Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer

I was lucky enough to win tickets to the new Fantastic Four film premiere last week, and the show was tonight. So I got to see it 3 days before anyone else, and to experience a premiere from the inside out.

It's an odd feeling, walking down between the barriers instead of being the 'public' side of either of them. Cameras held out everywhere as you walk past Jessica Alba busy signing autographs and chatting to fans, mainly with a view of the back of her head. Seriously, the biggest sea of cameras I've seen in a while, all seemingly stuck a foot or two above heads and with people attached to them below all trying to get a good shot. I've been to one premiere before, for Evita back in 96/97, also in Leicester Square. That gave me an idea what to expect with the fans crowded round the entrance, but how things worked inside the cinema was a complete mystery.

They'd taken over the whole cinema as far as I could see, I presume the celebs had their own screen so they could be away from the public and not getting hassled; we were in screen 4. There weren't any trailers, and there was free popcorn and a bottle of water in every seat. It was at least a half-hour late for starting and we wondered if we should have waited outside for longer to see who would go past. But we did see Jessica and Chris (I think I got the right name?).

I don't remember seeing the first Fantastic Four movie, or if I did it was on DVD a while after it came out; it's been easy to confuse it with the X-men universe though. So what was the film like? You might have seen the trailers for it on TV, with the Silver Surfer dude looking very cool on his shiny surfboard.

I wasn't expecting much, after the first film got rather panned by critics, and with the general rule of sequels being worse; but from what my mate said, it was better than the first one. He also knew more about the non-movie history of the characters and had a few things to say about the differences, but most movies converted from comics or books always end up changing more than the keen fans would like, to fit it into the time or make it work in a much more dynamic visual medium, and to keep it simple enough for the common denominator general public to enjoy (which can be insulting sometimes if it's badly done).

So I wasn't expecting much, but I also didn't get much - in the way of character development or emotional draw, or surprises, so yes, it is basically a hollywood blockbuster with fancy effects, a cute girl, and heroes saving the world.
If I put my analyses hat on I could rip it apart without trying all that hard, artistically it does the job being a film with a story. Graphically, the special effects are pretty good and provide for some decent action scenes when the CGI's working hard, and it doesn't make itself obvious to you (unlike The Matrix 2/3). There's a cool ship, good use of scenery including the London Eye (they did a publicity stunt today involving sticking a model of the silver surfer to the middle of the Eye like he was flying through it), and it's got some fun moments in, but overall not one I'm going to bother purchasing or making effort to watch again.