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Fantastic Four (3/10)

by Tony Medley

On one level this is just another comic book movie with a lot of special effects. On another level, for children, itís a movie that shows that a positive attitude and making the best of what happens to you can result in good things.

The four, Dr. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), and Sueís brother, Johnny (Chris Evans) go on a trip to space financed by Reedís college rival, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). There they encounter a horrible storm that alters their DNA in different ways, but making them all superhero mutants.

Reed becomes a plastic man, Sue can become invisible and project powerful force fields, Johnny can burst into flames and fly, and Ben becomes incredibly strong but looks horrible.

Victor is the heavy in a story that really doesnít have much of a plot. Screenwriting credit went to two people, Mark Frost and Michael France, but the plot is so non-existent and the story so lacking in substance that I wouldnít be surprised if there werenít a lot of other people involved. After seeing it, I imagine there could have been a big fight to keep their names off the list of credits. Why would anybody want to be associated with this? Even with all the action, I fell asleep several times.

Victor is out for revenge and becomes superhuman himself. For adults itís simply uninvolving. But for children, the special effects must be wonderful. Reed is a squeaky clean good guy who constantly takes the high road and expects the best out of Victor. Eventually he finds he must confront him.

None of the Four feels sorry for himself. Well, Ben does for awhile, as his fiancťe dumps him. Chiklis does a good job of conveying the hurt and rejection of this cold woman, but eventually finds someone to love him, a blind black woman who feels his compassion without being turned out by his grotesque looks, because she canít see them.

Nobody ever explains why Johnnyís ability to burst into flames is an asset, or how he can use it to fight for good. Oh, he does lead some kind of heat-seeking missile away from the others, but can being able to burst into flames the same thing as leaping tall buildings in a single bound? But he can apparently do that, too, because heís the only one of the four that can fly.

As far as Iím concerned this is a complete waste of time.

July 14, 2005