Worth A Look: 10%
Pretty Bad: 22%
Total Crap: 43%
16 reviews, 104 user ratings
|Fantastic Four (2005)
by U.J. Lessing
The tagline of Marvel Enterprises’ latest Superhero film is, “Prepare for the Fantastic.” I’m guessing most fans of the original Fantastic Four will not take this as a long overdue call to bathe and socialize with the opposite sex, and instead will prepare for this tired comic book movie by… well… rereading their comic collections.Now, I hate to sound snobby. In point of fact, I did read and collect some comic books when I was a kid, but seeing Fantastic Four makes me wish I had spent that time playing sports or doing something less stupid. Actually, ‘Stupid’ perfectly sums up the plot, characters, direction, villain and source material of 20th Century Fox’s latest time-vampire.
"Four Pretty White Deformed Superheroes"
The story begins when scientist extraordinaire Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and his lapdog astronaut manservant Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) meet with billionaire Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) to ask for funding for a space research project. Von Doom is arrogant and insulting, and one gets the sense that given the proper motivation, he’d become a vile super-villain.
After some groveling, the snarling and smug Von Doom decides to fund a mission into space to implement a pseudo-scientific spurious experimentation on flowers and space rays. “A few days in space. What’s the worst that can happen?” quips Richards.
Joining the team are two more beautiful people. Susan Storm (Jessica Alba) is a genetic engineer whose real job is to look really pretty and make both Von Doom and Richards jealous of each other.
Her playboy daredevil brother, Johnny (Chris Evans) is a space pilot who suffers from a rare disorder that causes rock guitar riffs to play whenever he enters a scene. The team launches into space and onto an old Doctor Who set of a space station.
Things don’t go according to plan and they are pummeled by a cosmic storm that reshuffles their DNA. When they return to earth, each one of them discovers that they have powers. Dr. Richards develops mature grey temples and gets the ability to stretch like a rubber band and talk to girls.
Susan realizes she turns invisible whenever she gets emotional. Comic mogul Stan Lee obviously didn’t consult any of his female friends when designing this power. Male readers, go up to any woman you know and say, “Wouldn’t it be great if you turned invisible when you are emotional?” to see what I mean. Susan can also make force fields that protect people from fires and explosions but unfortunately not from poor dialogue.
Johnny Storm controls fire at will. This gives him the ability to burn through his clothing, participate in the X-Games, and fly amongst numerous product placement banners and signs. Tragically, the space storm appears to have eliminated his genitalia. As the Human Torch, he has detailed eyebrows and facial features, but alas no sign of anything downstairs.
Poor Ben Grimm suffers the most tragic fate. He is transformed from the charismatic, brilliant actor Michael Chiklis into a giant prosthetic goofy suit that fools no one. Grimm is so furious at his career direction that he storms off to New York City to gain comfort from his hot girlfriend and, conceivably, to clobber his agent.
Grimm inadvertently causes an accident on the Brooklyn Bridge and all three of his friends help save the humans in peril. After everyone gets to rescue someone, and Grimm’s girlfriend shows up unexpectedly at the accident scene to dump him, all four decide to all move into Richards’ penthouse condo, work on a cure to Grimm’s geologic dermatitis and call themselves the Fantastic Four.
None of them realize that the fifth man on board the space station, Von Doom, is becoming more psychotic and metallic. With his business ventures failing miserably and a large scar marring his pretty-boy visage, he changes his name to Doctor Doom and learns to control electricity. Things take a turn for the worse when he kills a business rival for the sole purpose of giving the movie a lucrative PG-13 rating.
Actually, it’s hard to feel empathy for heroes who initially trust a guy with ‘Doom’ featured prominently in his family name, but worse judgments have been made. One wonders if the director of this film was chosen because of his literary last name. Certainly, Tim Story was not chosen for his directorial efforts on the Queen Latifah vehicle, Taxi.
Come to think of it, writer Michael France may have to flee to that country after writing the three worst superhero movies of the decade: The Incredible Hulk, The Punisher and this drivel, but I digress.
Surprised by the betrayal and evil nature of their colleague, the fab four team up to fight the villain. All of this leads to a breathtaking final confrontation with the evil Doctor Doom that lasts about three minutes.
The moronic ending leaves you with an overwhelming feeling that using the admission price to purchase a pair of Fantastic Four Electronic Stone Stompin' ‘Thing’ Feet from Toys R Us would have brought you more joy.
Fantastic Four is not fantastic. It’s not normal either. It’s not even so-so. It’s a poorly written disaster of a film that will not satisfy anyone. Perhaps attempting to film one of the lamest comics out there was the grandest mistake of all.Kind of makes you wonder what superhero they will try to film next. My vote is for DC comic's the Matter-Eater Lad.
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originally posted: 07/08/05 13:59:41
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