Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Fantastic Fantasy?

Maybe there is just some subject matter that works better in comic book mode, or animated television than a full fledged motion picture, and I do believe that The Fantastic Four franchise qualifies definitely. This is the 3rd attempt at making the characters into a successful film, and honestly I think it was the best attempt of the three. Unfortunately the film got a really bad rap right from the beginning, which considering all of the dreadful films out there was really ridiculous. So it is essentially an origins story and plot where the Fantastic Four are working together...or rather 3 at this point to create an inter-dimensional teleporter for biological matter. Experiment goes awry and thus births the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom. Very vanilla like, although their transformation was very dark and visceral, which was a nice difference between some other super-hero films. They then battle and fight essentially Dr. Doom to save themselves and their planet basically. Not a very original plot, but there are some character and story developments that make it work from start to finish. Now, if there was one place this film excelled at it would be casting, which was superior. Miles Teller as Reed Richards was superb; he was funny, clever, heart warming, yet there was depth. Same thing goes for Kate Mara as Sue Storm; such a great talent, depth, humor and a certain level of character intelligence. Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm was perhaps my favorite of the four, and someone they should have gone into further depth with, and I would give him all of the similar traits as I mentioned concerning his cohorts. Michael B. Jordan is a talented actor, but that didn't really transfer to his character in this film as Johnny Storm; maybe it's because I don't really care for the character, but he really came off as flat and annoying most of the time, which is unfortunate because of his immense talent. Toby Kebbel as Dr. Doom was perfection beyond belief....and of course he had a small role that wasn't explored. He was dark, brooding, likable, sympathetic and compelling and then he made for an excellent villain. Reg E. Cathey was Dr. Franklin Storm and he was great to have in the film, so much talent, and he did quite well in his role as the surrogate father to the team.
Now, the reason why I think the film tanked was the material, because it wasn't the talent in front of the camera. I wouldn't come out and say that the writing was completely horrendous, but it was fairly close to that. Also, for some odd reason the running time for the film was only an hour and a half, which doesn't give much wiggle room for smooth transitions and character development; thus despite a very good look to the film and a talented cast, it sank. Okay probably the reason why it wasn't completely atrocious is because Simon Kinberg was one of the writers, the director Josh Trank, and Jeremy Slater were the other two writers. I'm not certain how much influence those two had on the finished product, but it should have been just Mr. Kinberg who wrote the screenplay since he has a proven track record already. Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass composed the music which was kind of forgettable as I just watched it last night and I cannot recall any motifs or themes that stick out, which is disappointing as I really like Marco's music typically. The costumes were well done, I thought, and the cinematography wasn't too bad either. There was one particular scene where the special effects weren't that great, but other than that not too bad either. Yes the film was mediocre, but I would watch it again. It just needed better writing and editing skills, and the film would have been a smash hit. Alas there is seemingly a severe shortage of writers in Hollywood these days. Watch it or don't watch it; it's one of those films. So the news around the world is becoming increasingly bleak, and I definitely believe the world is becoming more and more dangerous; more so than I can ever recall in my lifetime. I had conversations with my sisters to make certain that they can protect themselves, and I've talked about that with other people as well. Between Russia, Syria, North Korea, China, Daesh, Iran, and radical Islamic terrorists it's becoming a huge mess out there as US foreign policy retreats to pre-WWI levels. So God help and protect us all; we're going to need it.

Fasntastic Four trailer

Fantastic Four cast interview

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