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Tickets to the Bardo: All About the Surfer

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Ok. There’s a good reason this was called "Rise of the Silver Surfer". With a net sum of say, only 15 lines of dialogue, this was totally Norrin Radd’s movie. He made the movie. I know a lot of reviewers and fans will disagree with me, but this installment was not better than the first one.

If it wasn’t for the overabundance of product placement (any body else want to drink Dos XX and go drunk driving in a Dodge Hemi?), it was Stan Lee’s umpteenth cameo (we get it, even non-dorks get it, enough already).

But seriously, everyone’s performances were lackluster, save the villains’ (the villains being Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, and Galactus, who incidentally has no lines, but was definitely seven shades of awesome).

Since their debut, I always thought that Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd were not exactly well...a good fit. There was something not fully there. And after watching this movie, I was only reminded of why I didn’t care for them. Grufudd’s Reed Richards is not cool. Not cool at all. First, Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic? The hell? Who is this guy? All of his movements seemed unnatural, forced. He was not the leader of the team. As a matter of fact, no-one was. And let’s not forget how unattractive Alba is as the Invisible Woman.

Forget the Silver Surfer being an alien--whoever decided to throw those purple-blue contacts into the equation, needs the rest of their brain back. I actually think it would’ve been nicer just to have J-dog don her natural brunette hair and brown eyes. Think about it: Sue Storm with a dark complexion. Niiiice.

There’s one part in the movie where Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm wonder what they’ll do if Sue and Reed ever decide to have a "regular life", thus splitting up the team. "Whatta we gonna call ourselves," The Thing wonders, "the Dynamic Duo?"

Now, this the part where Johnny shoulda said "Hells yes, bitch, we’re gonna dance with that name, and you know what, daddy-o? We’re gonna do our own thing. Respect it." Because, at the get-go, you realize that it’s Chris Evans as the Human Torch and Michael Chiklis as the Thing that drive the team.

They work really well off each other, and have that whole "I really hate you, but still have somewhat of man crush on you". Their chemistry is par excellent in the movie, reminding the viewer what it’s actually like to have real personalities on a superhero team...even if it is coming from a pile of orange rocks and a talking matchstick.

Now, for the bad guys… Unlike Spider Man 3 or Batman and Robin, this flick knew how to handle more than one villain at a time. Here we were served with not one, not two, but three baddies. Julian McMahon eases into his role as Dr. Doom, as though it were a favorite pair flip-flops. I don’t know about everyone else, but this guy pulls of the whole vain, horny-for-power thing like it’s nobody’s business. And although he’s introduced half way through the movie, he’s believable because of his portrayal in the first installment. Although, I will admit it was a bit silly--and painful-- to see him on the Surfer’s board. Real silly. But hey, it was still fun times.

The real scene stealer is Galactus (a.k.a. "McGuffin"). Here, The Devourer is portrayed as a cosmic storm that swirls upon its prey. Its maw is an open solar tornado with what looks to be lined with teeth. I didn’t know how they were going to pull off his purple helmet (heh) in the movie, but they actually do a clever little scene where his shadow is seen passing across the surface of Saturn, and it looks just like his helmet would.

As I mentioned earlier, this move was totally about the Surfer. Doug Jones is brilliant. He was brilliant as Abe Sapien, brilliant as Pan, and he’s brilliant as Norinn Radd. His movements are slick and confident. The action scenes were decent, nothing fancy. He was just cool to look at. His intro where he phases through the Chrysler Building while accompanied with a bass thumping beat, was absolutely spot-on. His ability to hand everyone their ass was necessary, as I obviously can’t stand 50% of the team.

You know, the only thing that really didn’t jive was having Laurence Fishburne’s voice dubbed in. It makes sense why they would do it--that cool, collected Matrix-y voice is appealing and recognizable. But after watching the previews, Jones’s voice just fitted better.

Meh.

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