What's really marvellous is the lack of effort as surfer fails to shine

PUBLISHED: 12:54 22 June 2007 | UPDATED: 14:34 07 September 2010

by MICHAEL JOYCE If you re looking for a Fantastic sequel, you won t find it here Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (PG) Director Tim Story Starring Ioan Gruffud, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis and Julian McMahon. 93 mins Two star rating I m seriou

If you're looking for a Fantastic sequel, you won't find it here

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (PG)

Director Tim Story

Starring Ioan Gruffud, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis and Julian McMahon. 93 mins

Two star rating

I'm seriously wondering if I could get away with just digging out my Ghost Rider review, changing a few names and passing it off as a review for this film.

I feel this would be appropriate as both these Marvel comic book adaptations have similar failings and because it would be a nicely self-referential comment on the lack of effort and thought put into making this movie.

For the first 15 minutes this was shaping up to be a fun movie. Not all superhero movies have to be brooding dark epics and the early scenes feature the Four having to travel economy on a packed commercial flight;

Johnny Storm (Evans) trying to get some commercial endorsements for the uniforms and preparations for Reed Richards (Gruffud) and Sue Storm's (Alba) marriage suggested a light but inventive entertainment.

But, as soon as they get into the action, the enthusiasm waned.

This may be a globe-trotting, galaxy-spanning adventure - but it's still at heart a tinny little endeavour.

The actual Silver Surfer is effectively realised but the special effects are generally three to five years' short of cutting edge.

Mr Fantastic's stretchy limbs are particularly badly done. And the action sequences are just random splashes of special effects after which you're reliant on someone to explain the significance of what just happened.

Evans and Chiklis showed promise in the first film but it hasn't developed here. And McMahon is risible as baddy Dr Doom.

But even now none of them seem really relaxed in their roles. It's like they feel they're just filling in until the real cast arrive.

Of course, kids will enjoy its undemanding fun and it is at least brief. You could almost watch it twice in the time Pirates 3 takes up not telling any kind of story.

But watching it almost made my feel nostalgic for At World's End. A terrible film, but you could believe that it was the work of people who'd been adrift at sea for many years - a deranged record of a journey that had quickly lost its purpose and descended into madness, mutiny, indulgence and senseless excess.

It's nonsense but at least they went to the ends of the world to make it.

In comparison, the makers of Fantastic Four took every short cut and when they were finished went to Fox and said, "Will this do?

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