Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon
The origins of the Fantastic Four and their battle with Victor Von Doom
I may not be the most qualified to review this movie. I think Jessica Alba is so hot that you could make a movie of her just standing around and I’d probably give it a score above 50. That aside, The Fantastic Four still gets enough other things right to be considered a worthy movie to view. This is a moderately entertaining film.
It’s nice to see a movie take the time to portray the evolution of its super heroes’ characters, and The Fantastic Four does a meticulous job of telling this story. The origin of the Fantastic Four is the main focus for three quarters of the film, and this tale is conveyed with humor, variety, and a decent mix of action and visual effects.
Unfortunately, this strength is also the movie’s weakness. Despite the quality with which the origin is told, the movie drags at times. Also, the origin eats up so much of the movie that there isn’t much left for the conflict between Victor Von Doom and the Fantastic Four. The group comes into full power, then fights a brief battle, and whoosh, the movie ends. The film could have taken another 20 minutes to expand on the struggle between Victor Von Doom and the Fantastic Four, or perhaps shortened up the detailed focus on the origins. We are left with a movie that in many ways feels like an hour and a half introduction to the group.
With so much of the movie centering on the origin of the Fantastic Four, it’s fortunate that the acting and the script are above average. The characters fit their parts perfectly, and casting for the film is excellent. Ioan Gruffuld as Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as The Invisible Girl, Chris Evans as The Human Torch, and Michael Chiklis as The Thing all nail the personality quirks of their various characters. Only Julian McMahon, as the main villain Victor Von Doom, appeared too subdued in his role. The decent script helps give the characters something to work with, and for the most part improves the film. There are also quite a few humorous touches to the film, both in regards to special effects and banter among the Fantastic Four. These are generally well done, and add a soft edge to the film.
The action in the film is a little bit on the low side, but the fighting that does occur is well depicted, fits with the story nicely, and is moderately entertaining. Again, this is an area where an expanded emphasis on the confrontation with Victor Von Doom would have helped. Most of the action occurs near the end, and this was somewhat of a let down, as it felt quite short. There is also some jumpiness in the film as the film reaches its climax, as characters magically flitter back and forth between Von Doom’s building and Mr. Fantastic’s building so quickly that I got disoriented.
As for hunks and babes, the film scores high in both categories. Jessica Alba is perhaps still a bit shy of her peak beauty years, but she is still phenomenally attractive in this film. Chris Evans helps with the hunk side of things, and Ioan Gruffudd adds a handsome face to the film.
In conclusion, The Fantastic Four shows good effort, but the overall conflict in the story is weakly portrayed, there is jumpiness at the end that weakens the story, and focusing extensively on the Fantastic Four’s evolution makes this somewhat of a movie that feels like a half of a movie. Still, the origin is interesting enough, Jessica Alba helps pass the time, and the acting and script help keep the viewing focused. Worth a look.
The Thing was not computer generated, but rather the actor Michael Chiklis in a suit that took him about three hours to get on.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Consistent Premise: 78
Body Count: 5
Time to First Dead Body: About 50 minutes
Special Effects: 80
Overall: 58 (Worth a Look)