Release Date: July 08, 2005
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Michael
Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Chris
Evans, and Julian McMahon
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for language, intense
action violence, disturbing
images, and some thematic
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Tim Story
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Producer: Avi Arad, Michael Barnathan,
Chris Columbus, Bernd
Eichinger, and Ralph Winter
Writer: Michael France and Mark Frost
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch
Peter Chernin, President/COO
The Fox Group
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The story begins with Dr. Reed Richards, played in a rather wooden manner by Ioan Gruffudd, explaining to his old college rival Victor Von Doom how he wants to go to Von Doom’s space station so he can study the evolutionary effect of a cosmic storm. Richards believes that a cosmic storm caused man to evolve into homo sapiens and that another storm may solve man’s health and personal problems. Von Doom decides to go along with and go Richards, as well as Richards’ best friend Ben Grimm, Doom’s assistant and Richard’s former lover Sue Storm, and her hotheaded pilot-brother Johnny Storm. When they get to the space station, they find that the cosmic storm is upon them, and, of course, each one is mutated by the storm to become a very different type of person.
Richards becomes Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch in any direction and assume any shape. Sue Storm becomes invisible and has the power to control force fields. Johnny becomes the Human Torch, and seeks after fame and fortune, but mostly women. Ben becomes the rock-like Thing, which causes his wife to abandon him. Finally, Dr. Doom becomes the evil nemesis of them all.
After trying to figure out a way to reverse the cosmic storm’s process, and fighting among themselves all the time, they’re all faced with the growing megalomaniac Dr. Doom who is busy killing people in grotesque ways. Therefore, they have to unite to see if they can defeat this seemingly all-powerful evil genius.
In recreating the origins of the FANTASTIC FOUR, the movie captures much of the comic books’ flavor. It moves briskly and has the right paint-by-number plot points. There are some funny lines, but all of that said, it is a rather thin story. The characters aren’t anywhere near as well developed as those in the X-MEN movies – in fact, the main actors appear wooden and distanced from their characters and the audience, which, of course, is the director’s problem.
Johnny Storm cracks a lot of jokes that are sexual in nature, and parents may object to Sue Richards going invisible, taking off her clothes, and then reappearing unwillingly in skimpy underwear.
What parents should be concerned about, however, are the evolutionary transmutations and the violence. All of the studies on cognitive development theory and the influence of the mass media of entertainment indicate that younger children become deeply affected by the very things that are occurring in this movie. Therefore, please do not recommend this movie to children under 13.
That said, it seems like older children will want a better storyline. Since there is so little at the box office right now, FANTASTIC FOUR may eke out some money, but it probably will not be a memorable movie after its initial foray into the marketplace. Marvel can do better, 20th Century Fox can do better, and Stan Lee can do better, so it’s a disappointment that they didn’t take the time to make a more entertaining movie in this lackluster year.
FANTASTIC FOUR captures much of the comic books’ flavor. It moves briskly and has the right paint-by-number plot points. There are some funny lines, but that said, it is a thin story. Johnny Storm cracks a lot of jokes that are sexual in nature, and Sue Storm appears in her underwear. What parents should be concerned about are the transmutations and the violence. This is not a movie for children under 13-years-old. It’s a disappointment the filmmakers didn’t take the time to make a more entertaining movie in this lackluster year.