Fantastic Four

| July 10, 2005

After X-Men debuted, I made the comment that it really just existed in order to make X-Men 2. Same with Spiderman. Great Caesars’ ghost, Superman, them comic book fellers have done it to me again.
I know it’s the nature of comic books and those early serials from the 1920s on to give you just enough to make you want to come back for more. But in the case of Fantastic Four, seeing Jessica Alba in her bra and panties for a nanosecond, (while it is something I would love to have on my desktop) is just not enough to make me care to see Fantastic Four point 2. Before writing what is going to be a negative review, I took into consideration that I had Batman Returns (see Del Harvey’s fantastic review) a couple of weeks ago and had just finished seeing The Island, a very good thriller. Maybe they colored my judgment…Nope. It still blows.
Why? Could have been the story.
Yea. There is a special cloud approaching the Earth. If we go up and learn from it, we could cure many diseases back on the ground. NASA won’t fund Reed Richards’ (Ioan Gruffud from 2004’s awful King Arthur) plan to get up there, so he has to turn to long time friend/nemesis/billionaire Victor Von Doom to get up into space. Von Doom has previously taken Richards’ girlfriend Sue Storm (Jessica Alba from Honey, Sin City) to work for him so there is immediate Uber-geek tension. Going along on the presentation with Richards is his ever faithful companion Ben Grimm (noted Red Sox fan Michael Chiklis from TVs The Shield and The Commish). He seems to be the guy who does Richards heavy lifting without having a complete grasp of the scientific reasons. For 75% of the profits from whatever they discover, Von Doom agrees and the 5 of them go into space in the Von Doom Rocket ship, which just happens to be gassed up and ready for immediate lift off. Hmmmmm… Fantastic Four, but there are 5 going into space. I guess one of them is coming back a bad guy.
The early arriving cloud catches them unprepared (no wonder NASA was not willing to help this guy… He can not even track a cloud approaching) and they get zapped with rays that changes their molecular structure. Richards is now a human rubber band. Sue is now The Invisible/Force Field girl (see The Incredibles for a really GREAT version of this type of character). Her brother Johnny, and pilot of the Von Doom space vehicle can now burst into flames at a moments notice. Grimm is turned into a rock cluster a la Hellboy crossed with the rock monsters from Galaxy Quest. Von Doom seems to be able to pull electric power from anywhere and project it against people.
We have now spent the first half hour of the movie (out of 106 minutes) getting them their powers, they will spend the last hour trying to get rid of them while fighting Dr. Doom who has turned to the dark side of The Force.
Why? Could have been the casting.
Yea…Michael Chiklis looks as unhappy as any wasted good actor being placed in a bad situation. He ought to fire his agent. Not only does he lose his wife when he changes (thanks, though to director Tim Story for putting the wife in a short nightie in the middle of the street…Nice touch for the uber-geeks watching) but he seems to be the only member of the Fantastic Four who is not treated as a hero. The shunned gentle giant. In the end, he does get a girl (a BLIND GIRL) to fall for him, so I guess he doesn’t have it all that bad. She must be attracted by his rock hard…(Editor’s Note…uh… This is a Family Zine here). By the way, that blind girl is another wasted actor, Kerry Washington (she was Ray Charles’ long suffering wife in RAY). The Von Doom character is played by Julian McMahon. Sorry about this one. I look at this guy and all I see is A) the Evil Cole from Charmed or B) Dr. Christian Troy from Nip/Tuck. Can’t this guy just play a nice guy for a change? Actually, the whole concept of Dr. Doom reminded us of Magneto from X-Men. There is also the boy gets girl, loses girl, gets girl back thing going on between Richards and Storm. They have as much chemistry as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. (RUN KATIE, RUN!) Gruffud can’t muster up enough sexual heat to ignite a firecracker but I do think Alba is hot. I can’t wait to see her later this year in Into the Blue, where she spends a lot of time in a bikini.
Why? Could have been the effects.
Not in this case. I thought the effects were, completely acceptable and generally fun to watch. I think that the flame effects of Johnny Storm (Chris Evans from Cellular, Not Another Teen Movie) were particularly spectacular. Though all the best stuff we saw in the warnings (the trailers). At least director Story (who directed Taxi and Barbershop, but was evidently not asked back for the sequels) got that part right.
Why? Could have been the piss poor finish and resulting happy ending.
Yea…Or IS it a happy ending. Remember when, at the end of Indiana Jones when the Arc of the Covenant is packed and hidden away in plain site in a huge military warehouse? At the end of this picture, Dr. Doom, who has been statue-ized (like Han Solo in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back), is packed into one of hundreds of containers on a ship setting sail for his home country of Latvia. (Latvia? Uh huh.) Yep, he’s coming back in some other episode kids… Stay tuned and keep buying the books to see when the eeeeevil Dr. Doom returns. Whatever. They got him pretty easily this time… They will probably get him again next.
But I won’t be there to watch. And neither should you.

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