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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Movie Review:Fantastic Four (2015)

If you had a chance to fulfill a childhood dream... would you? In August 2015, Reed has been working on dimensional travel for a long time, and now he may finally get to see what's on the other side.

Directing this 100 minute action/adventure/sci-fi is Josh Trank.

Some of the fantastic cast is: Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing, Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm, Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Allen and Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom.

Since they were kids, Reed and Ben have been working on building a teleporter. The two friends have come close to making Reed's dream a reality, but something has always been missing when it comes
to making a working prototype. So when Reed is offered a chance to work at the Baxter Foundation, a government sponsored institute, that happens to be building the same thing he's been trying to, of course he takes it. After the teleporter is finally built and the doorway to another dimension could be opened, Reed and three of his teammates decide to step through. Unfortunately, what's found on the other side of that door will change not only Reed's life but... but the whole world.

Well boys and girls, we've got another comic book based superhero film to checkout. This time around it's a 20th Century Fox product based on Marvel comic characters and... it's another reboot. The last time we saw the Fantastic Four (on screen) was 2005, unless you were "lucky" enough to have seen the horrific attempt made back in 1994. If you've never seen the 94' film I'm sure if you dig around and are willing to crawl through the muck of the internet you could find it. If you decide to start that journey my fellow film adventurers I'll just warn you ahead of time. There is no gold to be found at the end of that journey, but it will make you appreciate the other three Fantastic Four films a-lot more.

This reboot was written by Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg and Josh Trank, which is based on the work of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Yet again, we have an origin story that tells us what, why and how the FF (Fantastic Four) team came to be. One of the differences the 2015 film has from the last origin story the 2005 film did is the FF team is younger this time around. Now, that was just one of the differences between the films so don't worry (if you didn't like the 2005 film) there's a lot more that separate the two's attempt at giving us a (good) Fantastic Four film. Unfortunately, the one thing all the FF films have in common is that they all fall short of being great (Marvel worthy) films. 
                                                

I had been hearing a lot of bad press and reviews about this one before I had a chance to see it. So, I was expecting a horrific movie and was dreading it before I even sat down to watch it. Now, it wasn't great I'll be honest, but it definitively wasn't as bad as everything I had heard about it.

The playthrough was weird. It starts off pretty good and starts to lay a path for what could have been a good road to walk story wise. Then as things start to take off it gets kind of jumpy, which leads to big plot holes and story issues. As just some no name "sci-fi" flick about dimensional traveling and people getting weird powers, it would be... decent/(borderline) good, but as a FF film, it was a bad attempt.

However, since this is an origin story (pre-forming of the actual Fantastic Four) I did like all the comic nods they threw into the movie. Like throwing in The Thing's catch phrase of "It's clobbering time!" and other little things like that. Most people would say "Well of course they put that in there. It's a staple of the character!" My reply to that is simple, never, ne-v-er "expect" anything from Hollywood when it comes to flipping a book/comic to the big screen and you won't be disappointed... just slightly disgusted.

I have to say, I really liked the special effects, and after they transformed Bell into The Thing I was impressed. The Thing was a bit rougher and grittier looking compared to the smoother look fans are used to, but I still liked it. Other than that, the rest of the FF team looked pretty much like you'd expect. A guy on fire, a woman turning invisible and a guy being able to stretch really far. Doom on the other hand, I was seriously disappointed. I'm not sure who's bright idea it was for Doom's design, but he looked like something you would find on the wrong end of a shredder, that they then picked up and threw it again for good measure. I didn't like how the 2005 film got there (story wise) but the end product of Dr. Doom looked great. I wish they would have worked a little harder on the 2015 version of Doom, but upside, they put the (iconic) green cape on him. As for the rest of the special/visual effects, everything looked awesome (except the monkey).
                               

 I will warn you, it's rated PG-13 but does have some brutal kills that could borderline gory depending on your definition. One guy's head explodes in a hazmat suit. You don't see chunks or anything but he's yelling in severe pain then the face mask pops red and he collapses. Just throwing that out there in case you're looking to take the kids out for some family fun.

Now, I've seen each of the main cast members in other stuff and liked what they did. Here though, they fall flat and boring. I think this one falls under - they did a good job with what they had to work with. The script has the cast jumping from mad, sad and happy with bad transitions in between. One minute we're friends, next we're not, but don't worry... we're all cool again. Who needs to really explain transitions like that to an audience, they'll fill in the blanks as it goes right? Fox is always thinking outside the box like that... even if it means shooting themselves in the foot.

Sadly, from the get go this film has carried a black mark and was sentenced to death before it even had a chance to take it's first breath at the opening weekend. The budget for the movie was 120 million, and on opening weekend it pulled in... 26 million. Ouch! Now, worldwide (as of Aug. 19) it's managed to scrap in 105 million, which still doesn't cover the budget let alone make anyone a profit. Yet, the big wigs up on movie hill have still decided to go ahead with the sequel, which is due out around June 2017.

Overall, it's not the black plague of films as I was lead to believe, but as a Marvel/superhero fan... I wouldn't give theater money to see this one. Maybe you have a friend that owes you a favor, make them rent it and call it square, that way you're not out a rental fee. No one owes you a favor? Well, it's only a couple bucks, right? Plus the upside is after watching the 2015 FF version, you'll like the campy 2005 version a little more (I know I do now).

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

3 stars


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