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Fantastic Four (2005)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
Genres / Traits:
Action, Science Fiction, Superhero Film, Marvel Comics
Director:
Tim Story Tim Story
Starring:
Ioan Gruffudd Ioan Gruffudd
Jessica Alba Jessica Alba
Chris Evans Chris Evans
Michael Chiklis Michael Chiklis
Julian McMahon Julian McMahon
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5.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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During a space voyage, four scientists are altered by cosmic rays: Reed Richards gains the ability to stretch his body; Sue Storm can become invisible; Johnny Storm controls fire; and Ben Grimm is turned into a super-strong thing. Together, these "Fantastic Four" must now thwart the evil plans of Dr. Doom and save the world from certain destruction. --TMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 14, 2005
There seems to be no end in sight for the comic book adaptation. Already, in the past five years, we have seen the following franchise begun and some ended: X-Men, Spiderman, The Hulk, Elektra, The Punisher, Daredevil. There is no end in sight. Yet to come we have big screen adaptations of "Ghost Rider", "Iron Man", and even another "Spawn" film. Unfortunately, the box office success of most of these adaptations has been dwindling. The exceptions would be "Spiderman", "X-Men", and the "Batman" franchise -- the examples of comic book adaptations gone right. With the recent flops of "Elektra" and "The Punisher", you would think studios would wise up. But, no. Now we are given an adaptation of what most consider to be the best written comic book of all-time, "Fantastic Four". In the early-1990's, a "Fantastic Four" film was made, never released in the states, and has sat on a shelf for close to fifteen years. It was a waste of time. And, while most critics would say the same about the new version, I must admit that I actually found myself entertained for all ninety plus minutes of the picture.

For those of you unfamiliar with the storyline of the comic book, it centered around four people who were on a scientific mission in space when they were met with a violent radiation storm and given special powers that turned the collective into the 'fantastic four'. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) is given the ability to stretch his entire body to amazing lengths, giving him the name Mr. Fantastic. Benjamin Grimm (Michael Chiklis) is transformed into a stone covered strongman, giving him the nickname The Thing. Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) is possessed with the ability to bend light and turn herself invisible, the name Invisible Girl coming along with the abilities. And, Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) is turned into a human fireball, also able to fly, thus making him The Human Torch. Together, they are the Fantastic Four. However, along for the ride during the space mission was billionaire Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), who is slowly changed into a type of metal strong than any on the planet, also rendering him the ability to harness electricity and energy to use as a weapon.

That basic knowledge of the comic book gives you enough information for the film. The plot basically covers the odds and ends of the general storyline. The Fantastic Four learn to cope with their new powers and abilities and must save the world, and themselves, from a rampaging Doom. A lot of attention is paid to the love story between Reed and Sue, and a lot of attention is paid to the human element involving The Thing learning to accept himself. Even in the comic book, The Thing was the most relatable because he was really the only member of the group harmed by the radiation. Though he learns to accept himself and cope with the transformation, he is really never the same as before, and that human element is what made the comic book so unique, and helps keep this film from sinking as badly as most believed it did. "Fantastic Four" is not the waste of time your friends tell you it is -- it has energy, and heart, and it sure is a fun little picture. Now, with all of that aside, I do need to tell you what did work and what wasn't so...hee hee hee...'fantastic'.

THE BAD: There are some serious casting flaws with this picture. The characters of Reed Richards and Sue Storm should have been older. I especially found it difficult to believe that Alba and Gruffodd were even close to the same age. They were far too young in the roles, and just weren't believable, especially Alba as Sue Storm. And, though he finished the movie fairly strong, Julian McMahon as Doom was laughable at first. He was far too over the top, and probably should have been cast older also. When the first casting decisions were announced, die-hard fans were furious as these aforementioned choices, and having seen the film, I must agree. The casting directors and producers really dropped the ball on this one. Older, possibly more established actors could have really helped level out this film. Yet, even worse than the casting, were the ghastly and sometimes cartoonish special effects. 20th Century Fox dropped $150 million on this picture and it was obvious that little to none of that went to an established special effects studio. The space effects were a joke, plain and simple. If you're going to spend that much money on a comic book adaptation, either get good effects, or just "Indiana Jones" the thing.

THE GOOD: What the casting director and producers did right was cast Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans. As The Thing, Chiklis takes this film to a whole new level, always making him more human that monster. We sympathize with this guy from the first time we see his oversized fingers trying to dial a telephone number. He is the heart and soul of this film, and really the most interesting comic book character I have ever seen. As The Human Torch, Chris Evans provides a hell of a lot of energy and all the comic relief the film needs. His character is sexy, arrogant, and a little moronic, and that very much plays to his strong suits as an actor -- he hits the nail on the head every time. These two guys are what most people will leave the theatre remembering. Apart from the casting, I also enjoyed the true comic book feel of the picture. It is nice to see a comic book adaptation try to be nothing other than a comic book adaptation. The dialogue was corny, the action sequences were outlandish and unexplainable, and the scientific jargon was just what it was suppose to be...fabricated and obviously so. The actors also seemed to be having a load of fun on screen, no matter how inappropriate for the roles they were.

In summation, "Fantastic Four" is just what the Summer movie season is all about -- mindless eye candy entertainment that is littered with the occasional blockbuster with substance. While this movie lacks the substance needed to make it a "War of the Worlds" or a "Batman Begins", it is certainly better that I expected. So, I do recommend this film for the sole reason that I was entertained throughout and really thought Michael Chiklis did a bang-up job with a great character. The entire film is really cheesy and corny in that comic book adaptation way, but that can sometimes be a good thing. Don't expect anything close to a "Spiderman" or "X-2", but it was much better than crap like "Daredevil" and "The Punisher". The appropriate tagline for this review would be "Fantastic Four" a 'fantastic ride'. I will stick with -- this was an entertaining motion picture.

7/10
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Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 05/25/2010, 01:43 AM
Could not really get into this one and I can't stand Jessica Alba. 5/10
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