Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Rise Of The Almost, Sort Of, Kinda Silver Surfer
(This post contains spoilers. If you want to see “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” without hints, don’t read further.)
Imagine some film company released a re-make of the movie “Jaws.” In the re-make, you never actually see the shark and, toward the end, when something under the water is banging away about to destroy the Orca, Quint grabs his machete, dives into the ocean, and single-handedly kills whatever is down there.
Changes like that would be so bizarre that instead of being angry probably most people would react with a kind of consternation: What the hell would prompt anyone to make changes like that?!
That’s pretty much what’s going on in “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.”
The Silver Surfer story is one of the most famous and most loved sagas from the silver age of comics. More than just being famous, however, it is actually interesting.
The original creators of the saga, principally legendary artist Jack Kirby along with Stan Lee and others, were aware at the time that they were crafting a story with a strong biblical subtext. (They were twisting it, of course, but that’s comics!) Jack Kirby, in fact, very actively sought to include elements of what he thought of as the “old” religions and re-work them into a modern mythology within the context of comics.
The original three issue story arc succeeds very well in dealing with abstruse “cosmic” and spiritual issues in terms of very human stories involving not just the Fantastic Four and their superpowers but also “normal” humans who become involved in the events.
The current movie release does away with all that.
The “cosmic” and spiritual issues are reduced to idiotic platitudes mentioned en passant. The interesting human stories are removed entirely. And the whole notion of sub-text—of any kind—disappears behind flashing lights illuminating nothing and squabbling voices bickering over inanities.
The audience I saw the movie with applauded at the end, and the film was the box office leader last weekend.
I often get the feeling that some real-life super-villain is succeeding at destroying the modern world and nobody is even noticing...