Thursday, October 10, 2013

Give Us Your Worst, Part 22: Fantastic Four

I had so much fun with the 1994 film, I decided it was time to revisit the 2004 streamlined remake (when I say "streamlined", I just mean they dropped the word "the", and when I say "remake", I'm just trying to insult Fox). Unlike its predecessor, this was released on the public, which tells us the studio was less humane than it had been a decade before.

Okay - maybe I'm exaggerating. In the scheme of things, this movie isn't actually that awful. There are a handful of amusing moments and gags that are occasionally funny. But this movie irritates me quite a bit, and a big part of that comes from just having seen the Corman version. Because that movie was bad - it was low budget, cheesy, and badly produced. But, for all its flaws, it managed to feel like a Fantastic Four movie. Not a good Fantastic Four, but at least authentic.

And the Fox version is just a generic superhero movie. Sure, it tries to be funny, which is a feature of the comics. And it leaves in a character trait here or there, but it doesn't come close to delivering the experience. The reason is pretty clear: they don't even try.

Fox obviously had the rights to these characters and wanted to repeat the success they'd had with X-Men and Sony had with Spider-Man. So they tried to make them modern, sexy. They tried to turn the FF into a team modern teens would relate to.

And that's not who the Fantastic Four are. None of these characters felt right, though The Thing and Human Torch came a lot closer than Mr. Fantastic, who was in turn a hell of a lot better realized than The Invisible Woman. God, they mangled her character, and even she came out better than Doctor Doom.

Any director who can't at least make Doctor Doom fun has no business working in film.

The script was as boring as the direction, which resulted in a movie lacking any real tension. Its attempts at fun were undermined by a self-serious tone. This is worse than a bad movie: it's an utter waste of time.

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