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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

9/10

Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Andre Braugher, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne (voice), Beau Garrett

Director: Tim Story

Nowadays too many sequels and threequels simply seem to be Hollywoodís favourite way of pleasing the multiplex millions needed to keep the studios solvent. Continual revamping of a profitable franchise doesnít always work, of course (I still feel nausea whenever Iím unlucky and recall Jaws 4) but the return of the Fantastic Four (Gruffuddís super-elastic Mr Fantastic, force-field hurling Jessica Alba, often nowhere to be seen as Invisible Woman, Michael Chiklisís stone-like orange hulk The Thing and flying Human Torch Chris Evans)) results in a thoroughly entertaining sequel thatís better than the original.

Story, armed with Don Payne and Mark Frostís incident-packed screenplay, drives the show from one rousing action sequence to the next as the Four save Mankind (well, itís a superhero movie, after all) from the eponymous Silver Surfer (a polished performance, courtesy of superb special effects) from destroying the Earth at the behest of intergalactic villain Galactus, a plot summed up neatly by the iconic line ďThe world is literally at stake hereĒ.

Magnificent movie magic decorates the exciting storyline (London gets a look in with the Four saving the London Eye Ė something of a pity, that, since for my money the construction is more of an eyesore) and a sequel is trailed. Which is good news if it can match this superior fantasy actioner.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Jun 2007