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Saturday, July 23, 2005
Fantastic Four
My old friend, Rich O. was in town last night and so we decided to re-live his bachelor days by grabbing some dinner and catching a movie. I tell you, those married guys--they get away from the wife and kid and just go nuts eating Mexican food and seeing a movie all in one night...

But we had a great time. We thought about trying to get into The Island, but instead went for Jessica Alba in The Fantastic Four. (For some odd reason, Rich used to watch Dark Angel...oh yeah, that's right...he did for a woman...) And you know, it wasn't that bad. Oh sure, it's not great or in the same league as Spiderman 1 or 2 or Batman Begins, but for what it is--a fun, popcorn movie, it's very entertaining. There are worse ways you could spend two hours, quite frankly. (Just to kind of give you an idea though...I am one of the five people on the planet who LIKED The Hulk...so take that into consideration...)

Now, I'd read the novelization of the film a few weeks ago. Namely because it was by Peter David, an author whose work I've really enjoyed (in fact, I picked up the third Sir Apropos novel today.). And I have to admit, the novelization didn't thrill me. Honestly, my biggest criticism is what they did to the Dr Doom character. In the comic books, he's a much more effective and layered villain than what we get here. Basically, here it's Julian McMahon playing a derivation of his character from Nip/Tuck. Doom's motivation is that he is competiting with Reed Richards for everything and winning at nothing. Outwardly Doom has success as the movie starts but it slowly falls away as Reed seems to get the acclaim, the spotlight and the girl that Doom wants so desparately. Seeing Doom's descent into evil over a corporate IPO is not exactly compelling viewing nor does it make for the best super villain out there...that said, he's still light years better than Richard Pryor in Superman 3.

Of course, the movie has to make some modernizations in the origin story, much as Spiderman did. I'm sure these bother purists who probably wept that one word of the original material was changed..but to most of us, it doesn't matter that much. Heck, I love Spidey and I can see why they made the tweaks they did to his getting his powers in the films...it worked and I went with it. You should too with Fantastic Four.

What the movie gets rights is Chris Evans as Johnny Storm. The guy is perfect in the role. Also, Michael Chicklis at Ben Grimm/The Thing works very well. And the prosthetic suit for the Thing works a lot better than I thought it would in the previews. Reed and Sue are OK, but Evans and Chicklis steal the spotlight every time they're on screen. Which is a lot of the movie thank goodness.

But back to my original point...having read the novelization, I knew pretty much how it would all unfold on screen and thus had no huge expectations. And you know what--that helped my enjoyment a lot. I enjoyed it for what it was and not what I imagined it would be. It's not as bad as some will tell you, but it's not great. It's a decent, fun summer movie and I can think of worse ways to spend a couple of hours. If you don't see it in theaters, it's defnitely worth at least a rental on DVD.

And coming away, I found myself comparing it to another Marvel superhero movie, X-Men. X-Men was good and it opend the door for the vastly superior X-Men 2. I am hoping that this one was good and it opens the door to a vastly better sequel. They leave it with all the elements in place--and while it's not quite the "oh man, I want a sequel now!" feeling I got going out of Batman Begins, it still made think--ya know, a second Fantastic Four movie wouldn't be that bad an idea.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2005 06:19:00 PM | |
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