Jul 162005

Fantastic Four (2005)

A group of astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom

Directed by
Tim Story

Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure

Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Kerry Washington, Laurie Holden, David Parker, Kevin McNulty, Maria Menounos, Michael Kopsa, Andrew Airlie, Pascale Hutton, G. Michael Gray

We took Lay’s three newphews to see this movie last night. It turned out to be more fun than I expected.

Like Spiderman, Hulk and others from the Marvel Universe of characters (all brought to life in comics by a man named Stan Lee) radiation somehow has the magical quality of turning your average joe into a superhero. If it were only that easy! While Fantastic Four has the catchy wit and human touch of the comic book of its namesake, the movie version has a few drawbacks that are apparant whether you are a comic geek or just a movie watcher. But even with its failures, F4 delivers a fun time of good ole fasion super butt-kickin.

The bonus’s in this film are first that it is light hearted, and it doesn’t try to convince you otherwise. These are comic book hero’s folks, not detectives and war heros- they create a surreal story in a hero-lacking world. The laugh lines keep coming, and the director clearly doesn’t want you worried too much about the science or the plot. Because of this, you don’t get carried away with trying to make sure it all fits together, or that the screen writers tied the plot together. You sit back, and enjoy the “encounters” as each seen things get more and more dramatic.

After the accident that empowers our new hero’s each of them begin to discover their new powers in very human, but supernatural ways- much like Toby McGuire did in the original Spiderman movie. But here, the F4 crew aren’t given character development. A few stereotypes are cast and your off to the races. We don’t find out alot anyone here, because the film is about action and fun. Likewise, the intensity of the topics and seriousness of situations is much lighter than the forboding discrimination-laced X-men movies (another Stan Lee creation).

The film fails with the Dr. Doom character, however, in that neither the acting nor the costume and dialog of Julian McMahon’s character brings the comic book Doom to the movie. Even the voice seems weak and threatless.

The jokes are pretty shallow, but they keep you chuckling, and the action is fun. Don’t go to this film for a deep contemplation, but at least you won’t have to leave your brain at the door. There are no stupid science flaws here, partly because they don’t try to convince you with psuedo science all about what happened. They throw out a few theories and just let you basically think radiation mutated folks into super-dudes (and one dudette). Works for me.

I liked that the cast was basically second teir names, since it made the film void of the talent posturing that happens in Hollow-wood these days. Grufudd is a convincingly brilliant and moronically emotionless Reed Richards. One would have to wonder if he went a little too far in playing a character that can’t take hint after hint from the beautiful Jessica Alba falling all over him- this is what truly convinced me that Mr. Fantastic was not a real human! Jessica Alba shows both a surprising energy on the screen and her stunning beauty isn’t hid away behind invisibility. It is good to see Michael Chilkis play a character that is not so intense (he is known for his role as police officer Vic Mackey on the drama “The Shield”). Chris Evans basically plays Chris Evans in another shallow self absorbed role, all of which fits the Human Torch character to the tee.

A fun movie with no sex, plenty of non-gore violence, and scenes that would only scare relatively immature children.

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