Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

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Not recommended under 9, PG 9-13. (Violence, scary scenes, sexual references and coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • a review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 June 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not recommended due to violence, scary scenes, sexual references and coarse language
Children aged 9-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, scary scenes, sexual references and coarse language
Children over the age of 13 OK with or without parental guidance

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy violence, mild coarse language
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Speeding away from a dying planet somewhere in the cosmos, a silver streak called The Silver Surfer makes a bee-line for Earth where he immediately wreaks havoc causing water of the coast of Japan to freeze solid, snow to blanket Egypt and giant craters appear across the surface of the planet. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four consisting of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm/Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), Ben Grimm/The Thing (Michael Chiklis), and Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (Chris Evans) are spending their time dodging the media and preparing for Reed and Sue’s wedding.
Their old enemy, Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon) who was thought to have died, was really only in suspended animation and has awoken with ideas of world domination. Dr. Doom manages to make contact with the Silver Surfer offering an alliance, but the Silver Surfer refuses.
Alarmed by the strange phenomena occurring across the planet General Hagar (Andre Braugher) approaches Reed for assistance. After the Fantastic Four fail in their attempts to track down the Silver Surfer, General Hagar insists that they work together with Dr. Doom. With Doom and the Fantastic Four’s assistance, General Hagar’s army manages to disarm and capture the Silver Surfer whom they then imprison and torture.
Sue Storm discovers that the Silver Surfer is an unwilling servant of a world-devouring entity known as Galactus, and that only the Silver Surfer has the power to stop Galactus. It is at this point that Dr. Doom reveals his true colours by killing General Hagar and stealing the Silver Surfer’s board (the Surfer’s source of power), which Doom believes will gives him the power needed to rule the planet.
The climax of the film sees Galactus beginning to consume Earth, while the Fantastic Four combine their powers to battle Dr. Doom and the Silver Surfer challenges Galactus.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Aliens and the supernatural, torture, global destruction

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer contains stylised comic book action violence and some slapstick violence. There are some scenes depicting more brutal violence and one scene containing images of torture. Examples include:

  • Due to a power failure caused by the Silver Surfer, a helicopter goes out of control, crashing into and threatening the lives of dozens of wedding guests.
  • Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) chases the Silver Surfer, flying through the busy city streets and crashing through traffic. When Johnny catches up with the Silver Surfer, high above the ground, the Surfer strangles Johnny to unconsciousness and lets his body fall to the ground.
  • Sue Storm traps Reed Richards in an invisible force field causing Reed’s face to become squashed.   
  • Dr. Doom shoots bolts of electricity into the Silver Surfer’s body. In retaliation, the Silver Surfer hurls Dr. Doom dozens of feet through the air and into a wall of snow and ice.
  • After the Silver Surfer causes the formation of a giant crater, buildings being to fall apart with people trapped in them, a giant Ferris wheel comes off of its axle with dozens of people trapped inside.
  • The Thing pushes Dr. Doom through a wall and then strangles him.
  • Sue Storm verbally threatens Dr. Doom by telling him that she can place a force field in a person’s body and then expand it until they explode.  
  • The army fires several rockets at the Silver Surfer and Sue Storm. The Silver Surfer absorbs one of the rockets into his silver board. The Silver Surfer then retaliates by blowing up a number of army vehicles with wreckage and soldiers flying through the air.
  • The Silver Surfer is knocked from his board and the knocked unconscious.
  • The Silver Surfer is strapped to a table tortured by the army with electric shock (only briefly depicted) following which intravenous drugs (a man holding a syringe depicted) were suggested to force the Silver Surfer to talk.   
  • Dr. Doom shoots bolts of electricity into General Hagar knocking him against a wall. The General then shoots Dr. Doom who is unaffected. Dr. Doom then blasts the General with a bolt of energy causing the General’s body to blow apart
  • Sue Storm uses her powers to create a force field to imprison a group of soldiers
  • One scene depicts an air battle between Dr. Doom on the Silver Surfer’s board and the Fantastic Four in a flying vehicle. Dr. Doom shoots bolts of electricity into the mountain side causing part of the mountain to fall down on the Fantastic Four’s flying vehicle, which crashes to the ground.
  • Dr. Doom hurls a silver spear at Sue Storm impaling her through the chest. Sue Storm dies as a result of the injury, but is bought back to life by the Silver Surfer.
  • Galactus, a giant vortex-like cloud surrounds the earth and begins to suck up the surface of the planet.
  • One scene depicts an air battle between the Human Torch and Dr. Doom. The battle involves lots of flames and bolts of electricity being hurled about with the Human Torch wrapping his body around and strangling Dr. Doom, who falls into the ocean.   
  • The Silver Surfer flies into the vortex of Galactus and then uses his abilities to destroy Galactus.  

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Dr. Doom wears an evil-looking metal mask. The film also contains glimpses of his heavily scarred face beneath the mask. At times he also wears a hooded cape which makes him appear menacing and sinister. He fires bolts of electricity from his hands. 
  • One scene provides a brief glimpse of Dr. Doom’s scarred flesh regenerating.
  • The metallic robotic appearance of the Silver Surfer, who at times appears menacing and threatening, may scare some younger children.
  • The Thing resembles a rock-like monster, and sometimes has an  aggressive manner.
  • The film contains a number of action scenes involving vehicles and buildings exploding and people in dangerous situations  
  • Sue Storm is speared through the chest and dies in Reed Richard’s arms.
  • Galactus has a scary appearance resembling a planet-sized dark cloud with tentacles that reach out to probe and devour planets 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the violence and scary images described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the violence and scary images described above

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen years are unlikely to be disturbed by the scary images depicted in the film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Reed Richards make a stipulation that there are to be no exotic dancers at his bachelor party.
  • Johnny Storm looks suggestively at a female soldier
  • Johnny Storm suggests that his dates need to wear fireproof lingerie.
  • Johnny Storm asks The Thing how he and his girlfriend have sexual relations “Just how do you and Alicia…?”  Johnny then makes a joke about the Thing waking up one morning and finding his girlfriend killed in a rockslide. 
  • In relation to the Alicia’s sexual appeal, Johnny Storm tells the Thing “I can’t even think of a guy who wouldn’t want to…”
  • In relation to Reed Richard’s bachelor party Sue Storm states, “Besides, that was nothing compared to what I did at my bachelorette party. That was wild.”
  • During one scene, Reed Richards states that he is “…engaged to the hottest woman on the planet.” To which Sue Storm responds with “I’m hot for you right now

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A couple of scenes involving Reed Richards and Sue Storm kissing each other on the lips. Sue kisses Reed on the neck and rubs his shoulders.
  • The Thing and Alicia kiss each other on the lips. 
  • A couple of scenes involve women wearing tight fitting short dresses with exposed backs and low cut tops that expose cleavage.
  • During a nightclub scene two women in short dresses with low cut tops dance in a provocative manner with Reed Richards. Reed uses his elastic body to wrap his arms around the two women pulling them in close against his body.    
  • Sue Storm has her clothing burnt from her body leaving her lying naked on the sidewalk; only her naked arms and legs are depicted. 

Use of substances

None of concern, apart from the threatened use of a syringe in the torture scene

Coarse language

The film contains some low level coarse language and putdowns. Example include

  • “Get an invisible kick in the nuts.”
  • “You look like a bum.”
  • “O my god.”
  •  “Damn crap.”
  • “Ignore this garbage.”
  • “What the hell is wrong with you people.”
  • “Holy crap.”
  •  “Really pisses me off.”

In a nutshell

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, based upon Marvel comic books, is a super hero action film. The film targets a young male audience (eight to fifteen years) although some of the film’s jokes are aimed at an older audience. The main messages from this movie are:

  • An individual should have free choice.
  • Being different should not exclude that individual from having a family..
  • You can’t run away from your responsibilities.   

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Self-sacrifice
  • Commitment
  • Cooperating as a group to defeat overwhelming odds
  • Willingness to communicate with, and show empathy towards, those who are different

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the use and justification of torture.

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