Fantastic Four

I don't see how this is worse than any of the other crap out there
★★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
2005
Director: 
Tim Story
Starring: 
Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon
The Setup: 
Five people are bombarded with cosmic radiation that turns them into a non-related version of The Incredibles. Yes, I know Fantastic Four came first.
Discussion: 

I went to this primarily because I had heard that it was going to be total crap. It also looked like FUN total crap, and total crap that featured special effects, which are always welcome. So there I was. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd hoped. In fact, I think if you are not a person who is desperately concerned with absolute fidelity to the comic books, you may like it. It's certainly better than Daredevil.

At the beginning the annoying Reed Richards and his bald friend Ben Grimm go visit Dr. Von Doom, who finances a bunch of Richard's experiments, which are apparently unsuccessful. They arrange to go to space to Von Doom's private space station [at least there doesn't appear to be any other human being aboard it], to study cosmic radiation or some such. They also take along Jessica Alba and her brother. Both of these characters go so far out of their way to be mean to Richards and Grimm that I truly began to hate them. Anyway, in a jif they're all bombarded with cosmic radiation that mutates their DNA and magically transports them back to a hospital on Earth. Then they start developing super powers and have fights, accept their abilities, the end.

Poor Jessica Alba can do dewy and sassy, but unfortunately can do nothing to convey intelligence. Chris Evan's character was such an asshole throughout, especially to Grimm, that I truly wanted Grimm to crush his head like a grape. He also asks out a nurse who just happens to be adept at jumping out of helicopters to go skiing, in the first of the movie's two sequences devoted to trying to win points among the 13-19yo Mountain Dew demographic.

Female devotion does not receive the best portrayal in this movie, especially in the form of Ben Grimm's wife, who is apparently just sitting around the house [she didn't expect him to be home for a few days] in a silk nightie thing, which she thinks is appropriate attire to go walking the neighborhood in. Just after Ben reminds her that they used to say "Together forever, no matter what" to each other, she screams at his appearance and runs away. She later becomes one of several people who just HAPPEN to be in the Brooklyn Bridge area when Grimm decides to stage a major action scene, thinking that this may just be the most appropriate time to dump her husband because now he's all ugly and stuff.

So yeah, on the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimm tries to save a man's life by stopping a truck in its tracks, more than likely killing the driver. The movie goes to pains to show you that the driver is okay, but the disregard for his life is still there. Wouldn't you know, the other three just happened to be crossing the bridge at the same time! Small world, I guess. Please note that, in a move straight out of Benji, the dalmation covers his face just before the fire truck hits the other cars. It's quick, but the cheesy aroma lingers.

I didn't mind the Grimm latex makeup. It had decent look. it didn't really look like rock, but it looked like. something, and it allowed Chiklis to make a very good range of facial expressions, which I would much prefer than having the whole thing look like some abomination from The Polar Express [and with the money, or lack of it, that this movie was throwing at the CGI department, that is clearly what we would have gotten]. It also allows him to be IN every scene, instead of pasted in afterward in some hideous Sky Captain kind of way.

So the four retire to the lab for Richards to try to change them all back, and sometime during this period, though none of them were allowed to leave their hideout, someone had time to design a cool logo and have medallions for their outfits produced [oh, these outfits have DNA, by the way], and Johnny Storm has had time to order, receive, and affix to his car a vanity license plate. They must also have super-DMV's in superville, because I KNOW the one in my town doesn't work that fast. Storm takes off in his car to the second X-treme sports X-travaganza and product placement festival, where more inanities ensue. I would suggest a drinking game in which you take a shot every time you see a corporate logo in this movie, but you would very likely destroy your liver in one sitting.

So Grimm goes to a Brooklyn bar where he meets the hottest blind black woman in existence, who apparently employs a special fashion coordinator, and she of course sees past the surface, to his pain, and what a beautiful human being he is inside, blah blah blah. Astonishingly, the bartender a) has time, and b) trusts his bar patrons enough to just LEAVE the joint unattended while he walks the blind woman home. It truly is a beautiful world.

Anyway, eventually the climax arrives, where the narcissistic four engage in major Superman II-like combat, with rampant disregard for the innocent human lives of the bystanders. During this scuffle a bus is destroyed, which magically has no one on it! Just like the airliner in War of the Worlds that crashed with absolutely no passengers aboard! It honestly is amazing how these things work out.

So yeah, it's a mass-produced entertainment that is obviously pandering to idiots, but as such I don't see how it's any worse than any of the other mass-produced entertainments that pander to idiots. What's the big deal? It's not as bad as Daredevil or Elektra or Rebound or Hide & Seek or Boogeyman or White Noise or Bewitched or The Stepford Wives [etc.]. It's made for idiots, but if you're in the mood for 2 hours of idiot-ready fluff, it's kind of fun.

Should you watch it: 

Up to you. It won't kill you, but it won't do much more than kill 2 hours, either.