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Fantastic Four

A movie directed by Tim Story

< read all 12 reviews

Good Maybe, Fantastic, Afraid Not

  • Jan 4, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+1
Pros: Great special effects, Jessica Alba looks good in a Victoria’s Secret garb.

Cons: Too much time spent on back-story and emotional stuff.

The Bottom Line: While Fantastic Four is not something I would run to the theater to see, it is perfect for those rainy, cloud shrouded, lazy Saturday’s in between work days.

I grew up in the age of Marvel and D.C. comics; at a time when the thin colored wonders were a mainstay of the drugstore and convenience store checkout aisles. The tall circular displays were stuffed full of booklets of imagination and escapism all for about $.50 a copy.

But times have changed and not for the better. Comic books have all but disappeared from magazine racks of most if not all drug stores; indeed the only place you’re liable to find them sold openly is in gaming shops. You can of course subscribe, but its not the same as leafing through the glossy magazines at the store lost in a world not altogether real, but was always worth the wait. Today the first exposure a child has to the world of Marvel and D.C. comics is through a feature length movie. But quite often these movies do not come close to doing justice to the rich and varied nature of the comic they are depicting, and this especially true of the latest from the world of Marvel Comics, Fantastic Four.

To be honest I was never a big Fantastic Four fan, but I am familiar with the back story, of how the team came into being. Nevertheless I decided to rent the movie, because it was a rainy, gray, gloomy weekend, and what better time is there to watch a movie?

The Story

Directed by relative newcomer Tim Story (Barber Shop) Fantastic Four begins with the four as mortals. Dr. Reed Richards portrayed by Ioan Gruffudd (Blackhawk Down, The Girl’s Life, King Arthur), MTI graduate and scientist, has a theory that a plasma(?) stream traveling in space holds the key to the beginning of life on earth. He wants to go into space to study the stream as it passes close to earth. Problem is, his company lacks the funds to pull it off.

Enter Dr. Reed’s old MTI classmate Victor Von Doom portrayed by Julian McMahon (Charmed, Nip/Tuck) who just happens to have a space station from which Dr. Reed can observe the (life-giving DNA altering) stream from. Dr. Reed is hoping that Von Doom will allow him and his pilot Ben Grimm portrayed by Michael Chiklis (The Commish, The Shield) to take a one of his space shuttle’s up to the space station.

Enter too ex-girlfriend Susan Storm portrayed by the every delectable Jessica Alba (Flipper, Dark Angel, Sin City) who happens to work for Victor and shares an MIT past with Reed and Ben. Victor with a greedy eye ever on the bottom line agrees to the proposition, with one catch: Susan’s brother Johnny Strom portrayed by Chris Evans (Cellular) has to pilot the shuttle. Johnny—who washed out of NASA and Ben—who used to be Johnny’s Commanding Officer from where we never learn—don’t exactly get along. The plan doesn’t work out the way Reed and party planned and everyone is exposed to the DNA altering stream, but they all survive.

Once back on Earth, the five realize that their DNA had been altered giving each a unique supernatural ability: Reed can alter his body and stretch like rubber; Johnny’s body temperature is off the charts and he can turn this heat outward shooting flame from his hands; Susan can become invisible and project that invisible force outward to form an invisible, malleable shield, and; Ben, well Ben has been changed the most, his whole body has been turned into orange rock, and his strength has also increased substantially. Victor has been altered as well; his bones have taken on the properties of the space station, and he has the ability to absorb and project electrical charges.

Four of the five, Reed, Susan, Ben and Johnny band together to try and find a way to reverse the effects of the stream, forming the Fantastic Four, while Victor stands alone…

Final Thoughts

Most of Fantastic Four is spent on the back-story, trying to form a picture in the audiences’ mind of how the team came together to form the Fantastic Four, a (flawed) force for good. The team comes together reluctantly at first with Johnny the hothead, ever the rebel, wanting to hog the limelight and show off his new abilities. Predictably this causes friction with the other members of the team, and make for some real-life public friction.

Meanwhile Ben looses his wife the love of his life, and eventually his way because of his new look; inwardly he is the same, but outwardly he is a new (better) man. I applaud the directors attempt to humanize the Fantastic Four, making them reluctant and emotionally flawed hero’s. It only works to a point however, because it starts to drag down the rest of the story. If Fantastic Four were a drama and not an action film, it would work a whole lot better; there just isn’t room in an action flick for a lot of character development; room or time for that matter.

As far as acting, well it was okay; but Chris Evans stole the show. And as much as I love Jessica Alba, I did not buy her as a genetic scientist, let alone anyone’s director of genetic research! And I do not buy Ioan Gruffudd as the elder wise leader of the clan, despite the graying streak. And Jessica Alba and Ioan have zero chemistry, zero; it was almost painful to watch them trying to make a connection.

The special effects were of course cutting edge; you have to love the modern action movie. In the final analysis the ending (predictable) action sequence was not enough to carry the rest of the movie; more battles against the evil hoards and less emotional baggage would have been nice. While Fantastic Four is not something I would run to the theater to see, it is perfect for those rainy, cloud shrouded, lazy Saturday’s in between work days.


Recommended:
Yes

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More Fantastic Four (movie) reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
Out of all the superhero franchises, this one gets the biggest shaft. It's a shame, because Fantastic Four is a popular comic series and seems to have a strong fanbase. I was never really into them, but I still knew who they were, and I actually wanted to see this film when it came out. Fifteen minutes into the film, I was incredibly disappointed. I could see that it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek approach to one of the most famous superhero teams in existence, but it tried, and failed.   …
review by . August 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
GOOD FOR WHAT IT IS
      FANTASTIC 4      When this film first came out there was a lot of high hopes for the film, and why not it is one of the most beloved comics of all time. There has been a lot said about this movie some being positive some negative, I think for the most part that both sides are right. This movie is flawed especially if you are a fan of the comic series but if you a casual viewer I see no reason why you would not like this film. I have been a fan of Marvel …
Quick Tip by . September 14, 2010
Showed us all how a family can work together (even if one of them is stretchy, another invisible, another composed of rocks and one is highly combustible)!
Quick Tip by . May 10, 2010
Silly and almost actionless superhero movie showcasing one of Marvel's earliest hero teams. They deserved better.
review by . May 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I really hoped this movie would resemble the X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2 - X-Men United/ X-Men - The Last Stand), which I thought was a model of how to transform a comic book into a movie.     Unfortunately, Fantastic Four falls a bit flat. That casting is part of the problem. I thought Chris Evans was funny as Johnny "Torch." However, Jessica Alba as a scientist? I'm sorry, that's just casting so against type that it doesn't work. There's also no plot or emotional depth. The film …
review by . July 15, 2009
Jessica Alba's super power is turning her orange skin clear.
Fantastic Four I always looked at as the sunny side of X Men.  This is the world where mutated humans are loved by the rest of mankind instead of being obstracized from society and feared.      Reed Richards is a brilliant but bankrupt scientist and his associate Ben Grimm need funding for a scientific discovery in space and resort to turning to an old aquaintence, Victor VonDoom. (wonder if he's a bad guy?)  Doom approves of the project provided he get a juicy …
review by . March 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Cool to see the Fantastic 4 in action     Cons: Basically a movie for character development (sort of); Jessica Alba     The Bottom Line: I can understand why it didn’t sit so well with the public, hence it could have been dealt with a little better.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When I saw the previews for The Fantastic 4 I was excited. I didn’t know much about them aside from the …
review by . September 22, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon the comic book series of the same name, FANTASTIC FOUR is a sci-fi action movie about a group of scientists who gain superpowers from a powerful cosmic ray while aboard a laboratory and observation space station above Earth. Their powers aren't apparent immediately and are dormant upon re-entry. However, towards the end of their quarantine upon re-entry the five individuals become aware of changes in their bodies: Dr. Richard Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) has the ability to stretch his body into …
review by . December 02, 2005
It's a good movie but also has room for improvement. One of the pluses of this movie is the cast. Not only is it a good cast but one filled with fresh faces. Each person also brings an impressive resume to the movie. Jessica Alba is really coming into her own with this movie as well as having a starring role in this year's earlier hit, "Sin City". Chris Evans is also an up and comer having appeared in last year's flick, "Cellular" Ioan Gruffudd from "Titanic" and the "Horatio Hornblower" series …
review by . October 26, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I went to see Fantastic Four with low expectations, which allowed me to be pleasantly surprised. While FF was nowhere near the quality of recent Spider-Man and X-Men movies (let's just ignore Daredevil and Hulk), it certainly allows me to believe the Marvel Comics franchise is in good hands.     The Fantastic Four is often considered the flagship title for Marvel. In short, a group of friends blast into space for scientific research when they are caught in a cosmic storm that …
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Vincent Martin ()
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie

Wiki

Fantastic Four (titled Fantastic 4 on the DVD/Blu-ray release) is a 2005 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics comic Fantastic Four. It was directed by Tim Story, and released by 20th Century Fox. This is the second live-action Fantastic Four movie to be filmed. The previous attempt, a B-movie produced by Roger Corman only for the purpose of retaining the film rights, was never intended for a theatrical release.

The film was released in the United States on July 8, 2005. It was the third superhero film of the year, after Elektra and Batman Begins.

Marvel Comics' first family of superherodom, the Fantastic Four, hits the big screen in a light-hearted and funny adventure. It begins when down-on-his-luck genius Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd,Horatio Hornblower) has to enlist the financial and intellectual help from former schoolmate and rival Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon,Nip/Tuck) in order to pursue outer-space research into human DNA. Also on the trip are Reed's best friend, Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis,The Shield); his former lover, Sue Storm (Jessica Alba,Dark Angel,Sin City), who's now Doom's employee and love interest; and her hotshot-pilot brother, Johnny Storm (Chris Evans,Cellular). Things don't go as planned, of course, and the quartet becomes blessed--or is it cursed?--with superhuman powers: flexibility, brute strength, invisibility and projecting force fields, and bursting into flame. Meanwhile, Doom himself is undergoing a transformation.

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Details

Cast: Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Kerry Washington, Gina Holden, Kevin McNulty, Ioan Gruffudd, David Richmond-Peck, Nicole Muñoz, Tony Alcantar, David Parker, Dave Holmes, Peter Bryant, Brian Deegan, Leonard Thomas, Stan Lee, Daniel Bacon, Andrew Airlie, Doug Abrahams, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Laurie Holden, Maria Menounos, Penelope Corrin, Aonika Laurent, Paul Belsito, Morgan Reynolds, Danielle Dunn-Morris, Bobbi Bysouth, Marlaina Mah, Tre Verhoeven, Juanita Mirehouse, Stefanie Singer, Jamie Little, Barbara Christabella, Sanja Banic, Jason Kaufman, Preston Peet, Steven Fulani Hart, Maurice Tyson, Jaimie Mcvittie, Jenni Squair, Lia Salmond, Ellen Ewusie, Ylenia Aurucci, Michelle Kulas, Kate Mullan, Georgia Dewson, Sienna Rose, Hector A. Leguillow, Benedict Mulroney, Jon Brady, Taryn Winter Brill, Sara Edwards, Heidi Eng, CB Hackworth, Sam Hallenbeck, Mike Waco, Marian Etoile Watson, Richard Ho, Andrew Hunsaker, Taylor Johnson, Bonnie Laufer-Krebs, Lisa Fuller Magee, Bret Martin, Liam Mayclem, Scott Patrick, Shaheem Reid, Maria Salas, Devon Soltendieck, Anthony Toscano, Terry David Mulligan, Kenny Bartram, Sam Rubin, Patrick Stoner, Lorena Gale, Jason Schombing, Michael Kopsa, Colin Lawrence, Mark S. Allen, Douglas Weston, Brenda Crichlow, Jim Ferguson, Peggy Gormley, Ed Hodson, Deejay Jackson, Ron Chartier, G. Michael Gray, Ronnie Renner, Donavon Stinson, Bethann Schebece, Jason Diablo, Jennifer Lothrop, Pascale Hutton, Louise Lemoine Torres, Lauren Sanchez, John Speredakos
Director: Tim Story
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: July 8, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 46min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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