Fantastic Four

2007-06-22 19:59

A group of four scientists and their billionaire sponsor embark on a mission into outer space to study the effects of a giant cosmic storm on living DNA. The plan is to expose samples of life to the cosmic rays while they shelter in the space station's heavily shielded core. But their leader, uber geek Dr. Reed Richards, has miscalculated the speed of the storm and it engulfs the station before they can take shelter. Back on Earth the effects of the exposure soon begin to show themselves in the form of strange powers - limbs that stretch to any distance, invisibility, flames that spontaneously engulf the body and superhuman strength. As the four struggle to come to terms with the changes, their wealthy benefactor, Dr. Victor Von Doom, is consumed by bitterness. The failed mission was the last nail in the coffin of his crumbling business empire and someone is going to have to pay - preferably with their lives.


It's almost a shame that 20th Century Fox chose to release Fantastic Four alongside a film like Batman Begins. Next to the most serious, mature and critically acclaimed comic book adaptation ever committed to celluloid, Fantastic Four is bound to look a little silly. True to form the critics have savaged the film, heaping justifiable scorn on its fluffy treatment and glossy good looks. Of course they're also missing the point.

In fact many people may find Fantastic Four rather refreshing. The film has a goofy attitude and a flippant lack of concern that is as easy on the grey matter as the actors are on the eye. It doesn't ever challenge you - it doesn't even try - it just has a blast. The plot doesn't even attempt the kind of epic moral sweep that is mandatory in other comic book adaptations. The Four don't save the planet, or even their home city. In fact they spend a lot of the movie bickering (rather amusingly) and trying to undo the effects of the cosmic rays.

Given the insubstantial script, the actors are forced rely on their onscreen presence to carry their performances. Only Chris Evans (as the cocky Johnny Storm aka "The Human Torch") makes the most of his part, clearly delighting in the trash talk dialogue and swaggering through his part without a care in the world. Julian McMahon, who made his name as Dr Christian Troy on TV's Nip/Tuck, pulls off his role as Dr Doom - but only just. For all his talent and magnetism (pun intended), he just can't generate the menace to make for a truly great archenemy. The utterly gorgeous and normally ebullient Jessica Alba is curiously subdued here - trading the sassy attitude of Honey for WASPish grouchiness. No doubt admirers around the globe couldn't care less - any chance to watch Jessica Alba, they would argue, is a good thing.

The film makers seem particularly proud of the special effects - an area in which they went to great lengths to match to the spirit of the original comics. The effects are certainly accomplished, but most are hardly spectacular. The sad truth is that modern audiences are so numb to stunts and special effects, that you have to do something truly extraordinary before they'll sit up and take notice. Funnily enough the most convincing of the Four is The Thing - the character on whom the least computer-generated effects were used. Of course this was at the expense of Michael Chiklis's comfort, as he spent months at a time encased in a full body plastic suit.

The verdict? That depends on you. If you want depth, intelligence, human drama or realism then stay away. If you want an evening of pure escapism then Fantastic Four is the movie for you. And, hell, there's always Jessica Alba...

- Alistair Fairweather

This goofy blockbuster doesn't take itself too seriously and the result is as lightweight as candyfloss, and just as palatable.

sheldon 2005/07/16 11:55 PM
it's really good and jessica makes it even better this movie as serious as batman but is just as entertaining. this movie is aimed at the younger market but is still a good enough for the adult population not to fall asleep in. this is a movie for fans of the comic and even newbies to this genre.its good movie for family night and those who wish to leave the real(sometimes tooo real) world. Miss alba is the cherry on the top of this movie. ITS A GOOD MOVIE :)
Bee 2005/07/20 6:39 PM
Not bad at all I really enjoyed this movie, not just good versus evil but also good versus evil within the characters. The comedy in the movie had the rest of the cinema in stitches at times and was well written into the storyline. I think this is one well worth watching if you feel like something entertaining and worth the money you pay for movies these days! Yes I would recommend this movie
Mo 2005/07/25 12:37 PM
.... Sheldon made a point. If it was not for Jessica, then this movie would have completely sucked. Good article Mr. Fairweather. I thought the movie SUCKED. These were my thoughts during the movie. In exact order : 1-hmmm...Jesica 2-Cool they in space 3-hmm..Jessica 4-cool they have powers 5-hmmm jessica 6-hmmm jessica 7-Hey look...the end credits 8-hmmm jessica. What a waste of money this movie was Finding Neverland
*** 2005/08/01 11:21 AM
Fantastic 4 Rather entertaining, Chris Evans aka "The Human Torch" - is a rather quirky and funny character - not bad looking either. As stated in the review above -REALLY easy on the grey matter - but I suppose it does offer good family viewing.
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