The Fantastic Four
As a kid, the Fantastic Four
was one of my favorite comic books. Forget the X-Men, this one had it
all brawn, brains, beauty and a human torch! How could you lose?
Well, honestly I haven't
really given the Fantastic Four a thought since I hit puberty. This
movie is my return into the world of the crime-fighting team and maybe I've
changed. Maybe they've changed. Maybe this is just not a very good movie.
Whatever it is, The Fantastic Four certainly isn't going to get me
scurrying out to get a new copy of the comic.
In fact, The Fantastic Four is an extremely mediocre superhero
film. It is not all that well written. The acting is just okay,
despite the strong cast. The special effects are surprisingly
haphazard. There are some decent action sequences, but nothing you
haven't seen before.
The backstory is as dull as
anything else. A scientist (Ioan Gruffudd), his bodyguard (Michael
Chiklis), his ex-lover (Jessica Alba), her cocky brother (Chris Evans) and
an evil businessman (Julian McMahon) go to space, get stuck in a cosmic
storm, and come out with a whole series of superpowers.
Strangely, when they
suddenly have all these odd, new skills, for the most part, the Four seem
oddly casual about the changes. In fact, when Johnny Storm is suddenly
catching fire, you'd think he'd be concerned even if he was an Xtreme
athlete. Reed Richards takes a strangely detached look at the fact
that his body can suddenly stretch to any length he imagines. It's
almost like he's looking at himself through a microscope. It seems
rather a waste to hire Jessica Alba as the beautiful scientist/invisible
woman you never really believe that she is as smart as the character is
supposed to be. And frankly, if you're going to hire an actress as beautiful
as Alba, why would you have her invisible for long stretches of time?
Only muscleman Ben Grimm is
deeply upset about his new powers, and this is just because he is suddenly a
walking stack of rocks. His wife leaves him, in one of the most
unrealistic breakup scenes ever. Yes, he looks a fright, but she
supposedly loved him madly, and she never even took the time to find out if
the change was only temporary. Even Grimm's reaction strained credibility;
late in the film he has a chance to undo the changes that he has been moping
about for the last hour, and he doesn't take the opportunity.
McMahon's evil Dr. Doom is
also a rather underwhelming villain. You never believe for a moment
that he is a real threat.
Fantastic Four feels
more like a made-for-cable movie than a major motion picture, and maybe when
it is playing constantly on HBO in a few months it will work better.
For now, though, Fantastic Four is a disappointment.
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Posted: July 16, 2005.