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Fantastic 4 (or is it Four?)
(Hollywood remake or sequel, or film based on a comic book, book, play or video game # 34, since January 1st, 2005. Click for full list of Hollywood's lack of original ideas.)
Review written by: Alex Sandell

Um, this movie came out like 2 weeks ago, why are you just reviewing it now?

Because 2 weeks ago I didn't know what to think of the film.  The Fantastic Four fanboy version of me was going all Comic Book Guy on the movie, declaratively stating, "Worst. Adaptation. Ever."  Film critic me was pretentiously spouting off about the generic rock songs and numerous plot holes.  Casual moviegoer me was hopping up and down like a bunny on crack saying, "this is the most fun I've had at the movies since Revenge of the Sith!"  I was split into three, and I didn't know which version of me to trust.  I initially went with a nasty combo of fanboy me and critic me and wrote one of the most mean-spirited reviews to ever nearly grace The Juicy Cerebellum.  As I was about to upload it, casual moviegoer me said, "stop, you damn fool!  The film was meant to be fun!  It was fun!  Who cares if a nurse would never date a guy with a temp over 200 degrees?  Do you want any JuJu Bees?"  Fanboy me said to moviegoer me, "but the origin was all wrong.  This isn't how it happened in the comic!  Worst.  Adaptation.  Ever." (Fanboy me can be a little repetitive).  Then critic me said, "the directing was rather pedestrian, if I dare say so myself."  Critic me went on to say, "la-di-da and tootle-loo," as he swallowed a $50.00 truffle, embarrassing both fanboy me and moviegoer me.  Moviegoer me and fanboy me decided to ignore any comments from critic me (who "simply couldn't wait" for his Summer Key Lime Truffles to arrive from Godiva) and moviegoer me convinced fanboy me to watch The Fantastic 4 (or is it Four?) one more time, putting aside everything I knew about the comic and simply reviewing the film that was put in front of me.  Then he offered me some more JuJu Bees.  Playing a hard bargain, I said the deal was off unless he offered me some Junior Mints.  He agreed.

Holy leakage Batman ... er, wrong movie

In the film, Doctor Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) pays to send himself, along with Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) into space to study DNA, or something.  For some reason a big reddish looking cloud -- which looks uncomfortably similar to a cosmic female's "heavy-flow" day without a tampon nearby -- arrives prematurely (as "heavy-flow" days are prone to do) and alters the astronauts' DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (you can bet your ass I looked that one up), turning them into heroes, villains and other things that make for a typical superhero movie.

Reed Richards receives the power to stretch himself all over the place.  Sue Storm can turn invisible and can also make shield thingies.  Johnny Storm can light himself on fire and learns to fly.  Ben Grimm gets really fake looking and ugly and turns into a rock that a bird craps on.  Somehow I think Ben got the short end of the stick.  Regardless, the four turn into The Fantastic Four, or, as the marketing wizards at FOX renamed them, The Fantastic 4!

Doom is a Donald Trump type guy and the cosmic heavy-flow cloud disaster messed up his corporate stocks and he sort of becomes a nobody.  But he's a nobody with power.  And as Karl Rove can attest to, a nobody with power can quickly turn into a super evil person who's still a nobody.  Just a super evil one, with leaks.  Leaks that are more likely than not illegal.  About CIA agents.  Proving that bad guys aren't patriots, but rotten traitors to America, like Karl Rove appears to be.  He (Doom, not Rove) becomes the Fantastic Four's (or 4's) nemesis and adds some conflict to the movie.  But conflict isn't what this movie's about.

It's about fun!

In a summer of somber releases reminding moviegoers of 9/11 and the evils that Republicans do, Fantastic Four (or 4) is all about having a good time.  And a good time should be had by all (except for critic me, who said he is having a "right fine" time watching his subtitled Criterion collection DVDs and eating his Beluga Sturgeon Caviar). 

Unlike most super-hero movies, the fab four are out in the open and don't even try to hide their identities.  Especially Johnny, who loves every minute of the fame.  I guess The Thing/Ben Grimm wants out of the spotlight, right down to telling Invisible Girl/Sue Storm that he would do anything to be invisible, but he's just being a mopey-bloke in need of a blind chick to feel him up and give him his old confidence back.  Is it must me, or do people go blind just to make people like The Thing feel confident about themselves (think all the way back to the original Frankenstein)?

The movie is funny.  It's directed by Tim Story, the guy behind Barbershop (damn good film), and his comedy chops show.  He doesn't have a large grasp on realism, but this is a super-hero movie, so who really cares?  If you want a semi-realistic flick with men in costumes, Batman Begins is playing in the next theater.  The Director is so good in the comedy department; he even had me laughing over my ultimate pet-peeve -- the product placement.  When Johnny pops a package of Jiffy-Pop through the heat of his own hand, the moviegoer me spit soda out of my nostrils (critic me was not impressed, and claimed that his nostrils don't "spit").  Also, the flames hitting the Burger King Whopper sign, for that flame-broiled "goodness" (all three versions of me agree that Burger King sucks) made me go "heh" and then "har" and possibly even, "hee."

At least the product placements fit.  Most of them take place when Johnny decides to show off at a dirt bike show on ESPN.  Those things are filled with advertisements, to begin with.  This is contrary to super-dud, The Island, where they arbitrarily throw in XBOX ads, Aquafina ads, or any ad that they were paid to throw in (and the film bombed for this very reason).  The product placements left anti-corporate me feeling down (now there are four different versions of myself -- which is sort of appropriate, considering the movie I'm reviewing), but they weren't the end of the world.

Anyway, I was talking about fun somewhere wasn't I?  Johnny meets up with a super-hot nurse that he snowboards with (she's on downhill skis).  When Johnny gets going fast enough, he lights on fire.  She points this out to him and he shoots out some lame one-liners (lame one-liners are part of the package).  He then falls off a cliff, blazes up and the nurse finds him in a self-made hot-spa.  "Care to join me?" he asks.  It's not really that funny, but it puts a smile on your face and you can't resist the charming nature of the film.

So that's, that, then

I think FOX made a huge mistake advertising this to teenagers and X-Men fans.  There is only one brief violent scene that earned the film a PG-13 rating.  It is obviously a family film, much like the superior The IncrediblesThe Incredibles was largely based on the Fantastic Four comic book.  Executives at FOX expressed concern that their film would look like a rip-off, after people watched the Pixar animated masterpiece.  I think, because of that, they felt they needed to differentiate themselves from The Incredibles in any way that they could.  They chose to advertise it as a racy movie geared toward adults and pimply-faced teenagers.  Big mistake (I'd guess a 50 million domestic mistake).  The film is a blast for the whole family and one word sums the entire thing up: "fun."

RECENT REVIEWS (click here to see ALL films reviewed in the last three months):

The Island
Bad News Bears
The Devil's Rejects
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
War of the Worlds
Land of the Dead
Batman Begins
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Amityville Horror
Sin City
The Ring Two
Million Dollar Baby

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