The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Fantastic Four (2005)

Well, it could have been worse.  I read so many terrible reviews that I was ready for an absolute piece of crap, and Fantastic Four, the film version of the landmark Marvel comic, was not that.  The saga of four friends who, exposed to a cosmic storm, transform into The Invisible Girl, Mr Fantastic (stretching), The Thing (strength and massive orangeness) and The Human Torch, could have been a cinematic gem in the right hands.  These weren't the hands.  Tim Story, who brought us Barber Shop, directs like a decent TV movie director.  To take him from Barber Shop to this with a stop at "Taxi" might have been asking a bit much, but the problem goes beyond weak direction.   The script is WAY under-developed, and the character interaction is sometimes weak.  The re-imagining of Dr. Doom is just painfully stupid and bad. What were they thinking?  Add to that some painful special effects (the stretching effects are particularly bad, and are often edited away from, or shown only at night, thank God) but there are good things.  Some decent stuntwork, the gorgeous Jessica Alba, a good sense of byplay between the guy who plays the Human Torch, and  Micheal Chiklis.  Chiklis is just the best part of the whole movie, and  is excellent, both in makeup and out.  He IS the tragic Ben Grimm, and I'm hoping for a sequel just to give him another chance to do his Thing.  So to speak.

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