Fantastic Four (2005)
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Review Date: September 11, 2005
Director: Tim Story
Writer: Mark Frost, Michael France
Producers: Avi Arad
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm
Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm
Chris Evans as Johnny Storm
A group of scientists head out into space for some freaky experiment. While up there, an unexpected radiation space-storm strikes them all and eventually turns them into mutant humans with extraordinary powers, including invisibility, stretchability, flame-ability and the ability to resemble a rock and kick ass (no relation to Dwayne Johnson). Don’t you hate when that happens! A fantastic foursome ensue…oh, and a metallic baddie.
I don’t usually focus my complaints on a film’s screenplay, but when all was said and fantastic-ized here, that’s pretty much the main problem that I had with this film, along with a whole bunch of smaller ones. Ultimately, there just wasn’t enough meat in its story, in fact…there simply wasn’t much of a story! Once these folks get zapped in outer space, we basically just follow their lives for a week or so, and hang out as they complain and try to figure out what’s what. Not all that exciting to watch, let me tell you. Of course, this “superhero movie” attempts to meld a number of elements into its plot including the dramatic, the comedic, action stuff and even a touch of romance, but most of them don’t really work entirely either, leaving you with a general sense of “I want more!”. Personally, I didn’t really get much out of the comedic stuff, particularly the one-liners, most of which were a little too corny for my liking. The dramatic stuff was further out of place (the scene between Grimm and his lady on the bridge was lame-o!), slowing down the pace of the film as the Invisible Girl got all serious and shit. That led right into the “romance” aspect between she and Mr. Fantastic, which again, didn’t really sell itself, especially since neither actor seemed really into it. Finally, the action stuff was “okay”, but there really wasn’t much of it in the film, so nobody’s gonna light a candle at church for that aspect either.

All that said, I didn’t think any of these elements were complete failures per se, just not mind-blowing. I did like the characters overall, the special effects, which were pretty well done across the board, and the fact that Jessica Alba was featured prominently in the film, as a female scientist who wears more make-up and low-cut tight white tops than any other scientist who has ever lived!! God bless science. Seriously though, as much as I love Alba and all, she was just a little too good-looking for this character, and given the lame mechanics of the plot, too wooden an actress to really pull me into the “dramatic” end of things. In terms of the directing, which we were all worried about beforehand – given that the man given the chores behind the camera was the same goombah who directed, well, TAXI and BARBERSHOP – things were actually pretty decent overall, so I’m not gonna bust his balls for no reason. I didn’t really notice the directing either way…how about that? Finally, other than the film’s storyline, which didn’t really grasp, its other biggest problem was definitely its villain, namely Dr. Doom, who showed up way too late into the picture, and once accounted for, didn’t really present any gargantuan threat or offer any palpable charisma. Also, I never really understood why he wanted to knock the Fantastic foursome off? Was it because he was bored, wanted almighty power, was just “an asshole” or pissed because his girlfriend left him? Honestly…I didn’t get that part.

Overall though, the film should play real well on DVD, particularly the two characters of Johnny Storm (great effects!) and The Thing (great costume!), who respectively skewered some fun and heart into the proceedings. In fact, write a good screenplay featuring only The Thing and his own issues and I’m there! As for a possible sequel to this film…well, let’s hope that they actually come up with a good story the next time, instead of just throwing everything into a radiated kitchen sink and hoping for the best.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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