Monday, July 25, 2005

Fantastic 1.5

Though there be many ways to short-hand rank a film's worthiness (10 point scale, $ticket price, thumbs, apples, whatever) the 'classic' is the four star system. Me and Math? We're not close. But I can perform simple calculations. So, since four is the magic number for the latest comic book adaptation how do we rate Fantastic Four?

+2 movies start out even-steven then prove or disprove worth
+2 points for daring to adapt tricky but fun source material
-1 exhibits almost no tonal control over material (is "bland" a tone?)
+1 potential to be a visually exciting summer blockbuster
-1 exhibits little visual excitement -where's the "gee whiz" effects?
-1 wait -isn't that the whole raison d'etre of comic book films?
_________
=2 stars so far...but wait so much more to talk about.

+2 points for casting Chiklis & Evans
-1 The Thing's makeup. Should look like rocks. Not foam rocks.
+1 Gruffud is perfect for the Mr. Fantastic role.
-1 ...but he's not having any fun with it. Shame
-2 Invisible Girl: Spectacularly miscast.
-1 Plus an embarrasing Alba-esque performance.
-1 Oh, wait. That is Jessica Alba.
-1 Why does she always stand with face vacant/arms crossed?
+1 ohhhh...that's to emphasize the cleavage. Got it! Cleavage is good.
+1 The forcefield special effect is pretty good.
+1 so is the Human Torch effect. Even moreso
+3 Chris Evans in a towel
-1 Sloppy filmmaking. His underwear shows under it--Who wears both?
_________
=3 stars

+1 Dr. Doom's look is perfect. cloak. mask. I got a geeky thrill.
-1 But the character is boring.
-1 In fact most of the characters and the action are boring.
-1 I wish Peyton Reed hadn't been fired. He would know how to direct this.
________
=1 star.

I'll give it a half point for not being downright awful as I was expecting. Aren't I sweet?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never read the comic books, but is the Latveria stuff as ridiculous (or even in) the comic books as it was in the movie. The part where they do the fetishistic close-up of the mask given to Victor von Doom (again is that name as ridiculous in the comic book?) in return for his "humanitarian contribution" to Latveria caused my friend and I to have an excruciatingly awkward laugh (we were the only ones laughing in this completely full huge theater and we laughed very hard).

adam k. said...

Hahaha. Very funny, Nathaniel. I think you should do these star # reviews often. They should become a "thing".
Why do you hate Jessica Alba so much? I don't think she's THAT bad. There are people who piss me off more. And I found her surprisingly decent in Sin City. Although whenever I see her, I think "couldn't you have just stuck to modeling? You're better at that". And why her for this movie particularly? Couldn't they have found an actual blonde, someone who wouldn't look as out of place in blonde as Halle Berry looked in that terrible silver wig? Rachel McAdams, for instance, is a real blonde. Or can at least pass as one.
And yeah, good thing Chris Evans appeared in that towel, or this film would've finished your review in the negatives.

darkcypherlad said...

To Anonymous:

Yes, his name is Victor Von Doom in the comics and Latveria is the country he rules with an iron thumb a la Stalin. And I really don't see how one can view Von Doom as a "ridiculous" name and accept Mr. Fantastic and Thing as reasonable.

Adam K.-

I share your lukewarm feelings for Miss Alba. She's a pretty face and her acting is adequate given the material she's given. I'm far more offended by Julia Roberts than I am by Alba.

My ideal Sue Storm? Naomi Watts. Perfect casting, though I can McAdams as Sue as well.

And Nathan? How about a review of 9 Songs w/ the same number-based system? :)

Anonymous said...

surely a review of 9 Songs would consist of

+2 for the songs
-1,000,000 for the sex
-2,000,000 for Michael Winterbottom being a pretentious dick

On F4, I've already said enough about it to last a lifetime, however I must say that Chris Evans and Ioan Gruffard were very nice to watch. Specially Evans, who I think could make an entire movie of him standing in a towel and it'd be 10/10 stuff.

Ciao!

Anonymous said...

er, that was me. I ended it with how I end my livejournal entries.

...how odd.

-Glenn

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel-

Just curious, but how many points would the film have received had Chris Evans not worn underwear under the towel? ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

Actually it still would have received negatives for sloppiness. ;) that was just one example.

The whole thing seemed so cheap and disposable, didn't it?

adam k. said...

darkcypherlad:

I mentioned McAdams because I think she was actually attached to the project at some point. I wish they'd kept her.

Also, I think Julia is a much better actress than Jessica, but I feel you about her grating on the nerves.

Also, isn't Naomi Watts a little old for Sue Storm? Generally superheroes are played by 20-somethings, are they not? Not be ageist or anything. I can actually totally see her in the role now that you mention it, but I had never even thought about it before since Watts is in her late 30's. I also just get the feeling that a comic book movie wouldn't be her cup of tea.

NATHANIEL R said...

I have lots of theories on comicbook casting appropriateness. Rachel McAdams would have been absolutely ideal. The thing about Susan Storm is you couldn't be any waspier as comic book heroines go. So Jessica Alba? Not even close.

It's the most white-bread square comic there was. A married couple, the younger kid brother, astronauts... they even moved to connecticutt once if I recall.

The great thing about the Fantastic Four is that they just aren't "cool" --not in the way, say, Batman is. They're kind of science dorks in the way that Peter Parker is also a dork.

That's why I thought Peyton Reed would've been a great choice. I think he would have understood the retro almost 50s nuclear family quality to the FF. The married couple, the squareness.

I think The Incredibles was actually a lot more faithful to the Fantastic Four comic than this film was.

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Anonymous said...

Chris Evans in a towel isn't a positive for me!