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Fantastic Four
DVD disk
11.23.2005 By: Jason Coleman
Fantastic Four order
Tim Story

Michael Chiklis
Jessica Alba
Julian McMahon


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A group of five scientists go into space and find themselves exposed to cosmic radiation. The blast has a different effect on each of them and they find themselves dealing with their new powers and their consequences. Itís a classic story of good and evil straight from the pages of Marvel Comics.
Unlike dark contenders BATMAN, X-MEN, and THE INCREDIBLE HULK, FANTASTIC FOUR has always been, in both comics and cartoons, a bit fluffy. It needs to be taken with a grain of salt, meaning its story of four unlikely super powered heroes was always designed to be a popcorn movie, easy on the dark, heavy on the light. And Director Tim Story (who did the forgettable TAXI with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon) is fully aware, creating a very easy to swallow flick that even the kids will enjoy. And while the overall impact here is minimal, the film seems more than comfortable with just being mildly entertaining and on that level, does succeed.

Storyís casting choices here are the only unconventional thing about the film. On the cookie cutter side we have Invisible Girl Alba, who is strictly here for eye candy (in a role that clearly requires someone older, with more life experience!), Chris Evans, who seems too at ease playing young, cocky Johnny Storm (I sense very little acting here!), and Ioan Gruffudd, who plays a rather dull Mr. Fantastic. (For a more passionate Gruffudd, check out KING ARTHUR!) But the other two roles are played by TVís most controversial actors and the film is better for it. Michael Chiklis, who is a powerhouse dynamo on F/Xís THE SHIELD, is terrific as The Thing, bringing a drama and angst visible even beneath the layers of exceptional make-up. And NIP/TUCKís (also on the great F/X network!) Julian McMahon brings a smarmy and seductive quality to Dr. Doom, showcasing the films only dark elements. Both these guys save this film from just being light fare. In all honesty, FANTASTIC FOUR has it all - jokes, effects, and big summer movie set pieces galore Ė itís a big studioís wet dream. But the film itself is not unlike a politician; it doesnít want to offend anyone, so it tries to please everyone, and in that respect, FANTASTIC FOUR gets the popular vote.
Commentary (with Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, and Ioan Gruffudd): Good and bad indeed. On the good side, Chiklis is full of great anecdotes and stories (check out the one about a crazed extra who yelled at him!), he really knows how to create a great commentary track. On the bad, Alba is truly eye candy, which doesnít work well in an audio format. Her ďDo you remember this scene?Ē and ďDo you remember this day?Ē comments are death in this format. (Best moment Ė when Alba talks about the story of Fantastic Four - ďI wasnít very familiar with itĒ and Chiklis answers ďThatís because youíre like fifteen!Ē) And Ioan is barely awake, which at least lets Chiklis have more air time. But I missed having Julian McMahon in on this one. A dream commentary Ė having both Chiklis and McMahon as a commentary tag team. (That would have been something!)

Deleted Scenes (2:27): This one can be used as a learning tool for all filmmakers and fans alike. Itís a great example of why scenes are deleted. (Namely because they all stink!) Can be watched either individually or in a play all.

ē Reed Test Plants (1:01): Just about as exciting as it sounds, this one deserved to be deleted.

ē Reed And Sue In Planetarium (1:04): Most of the dialogue in this one was played out in other scenes and itís a good thing. The planetarium is great to go to, but not fun to watch on film. The lights on the faces of the actors here are less then fantastic, theyíre damn distracting!

ē Reed And Sue Walk And Talk: Wolverine Insert (0:22): While itís cute to have Reed shape shift the face of Wolverine on his own face, itís completely out of place in this film. Fire and water donít mix.

Fantastic Four Video Diary (19:47): In this one, we take the press circuit tour with the leads. Itís about as exciting for us as was for them. (Aka not very!) But itís mostly Alba, who produced this - filming, blowing kisses, and showing off her ass. This one is a visual medium, so itís strictly for those with a hankering for all things Alba.

Making Of Fantastic Four (5:11): Another mini-doc that suffers the fate of having too much film footage. Everyone explains the story and characters. Same old stuff Ė except for the last few minutes, where the effects guys talk and reveal interesting tidbits that are fantastic!

Fantastic Four: Making A Scene (8:05): Originally designed for Fox Movie Channel, this one is a riveting look at the bridge sequence from design to execution. This one definitely clobbers the rest!

Fantastic Four: Casting Session (8:06): Took a few features, but finally, the great Stan Lee makes an appearance in this one. (They really should have given him his own featurette!) He definitely livens up what could have been a dud! (Love you too, Stan!)

There is also a Music Video section featuring Everything Burns, Come On, Come In and a Music Soundtrack Spot. Also there is a Trailers section with the Fantastic Four Teaser and Theatrical Trailer, as well as a Marvel Avengers animated trailer.

And finally, the feature that everyone is waiting for, namely the Inside Look at X-MEN 3, is available on the main menu. Is it good? No spoilers here, judge for yourself!
Some films aspire to be unique, some do not. Some strive to be wholly original, some do not. And some films aim to be memorable even after you leave the theatre, while others are okay with just being thought of while youíre watching and not after. FANTASTIC FOUR is a film that feels fine with being the latter, and thatís okay. Itís kind of like having momís homemade cookies fresh from the oven, with a cold glass of milk. It will never fill you up, but it will make you feel good.
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