‘Fantastic Four’ (Film)

 

‘FANTASTIC FOUR’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Flame On and Clobbering Time

This movie is one of my happiest memories of the summer in 2005!

I love ‘Fantastic Four’! I was really excited by the upcoming release of this movie in 2005 and loved seeing it when I went to the cinemas! Okay, it’s not as good as the ‘Spider-Man’ movies with Tobey Maguire, but I really cherished this version of the Fantastic Four in this film and in its sequel in 2007.

The movie was released in July 2005 in the UK. I vividly remember seeing this movie a month after my GCSEs at school. This film was a great reward for me as I love the Marvel superheroes at the time, following Spider-Man. I was pleased the Fantastic Four got their own movie at last at cinemas.

I remember reading the original 1960s comics of the Fantastic Four by Stan Lee to get an idea of who the characters were and what the story was about. I also saw a DVD of some episodes of a ‘Fantastic Four’ cartoon series made in the 1990s that also introduced the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom for me.

The DVD of the film was released before Christmas in 2005. It initially had two versions including a 1-disc DVD edition and a 2-disc DVD edition. I especially wanted to have the 2-disc DVD edition and to see the special features including documentaries on how the cast and crew made this amazing film.

‘Fantastic Four’ is a story about five people who go up into space and get hit by a cosmic storm. All five people gain super powers. Four become heroes, one becomes a villain. The four heroes work out how to use their powers and eventually save the world from the deadliest menace of Doctor Doom.

The Fantastic Four characters are as follows. There’s Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards aka Mr Fantastic; Jessica Alba as Sue Storm aka the Invisible Woman; Chris Evans as Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm aka the Thing. These four characters are great to see!

This is basically an origins story about how the Fantastic Four get their powers in the movie. I enjoyed how the origins story was dealt with. But after two hours of the movie, I did feel like the film was over too quickly and that there weren’t enough action sequences to be seen throughout.

In no way can the ‘Fantastic Four’ movies compare to the excellence of the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy with Tobey Maguire. The film is more like a family comedy rather than an action movie. But I certainly enjoyed the cinema experience and eventually seeing the film on DVD with the characters.

The Fantastic Four characters in the movie are very well-portrayed by the actors in my opinion. There is a sense of family between the Fantastic Four as well as a sense of teamwork. I liked how the Fantastic Four get to use their powers in the action sequences and how they end up saving the day.

The superpowers our heroes get are as follows. Reed has the power to stretch his arms and body to become elastic; Sue has the power to become invisible and create force-fields; Johnny can burst his body into flames and fly and Ben sadly gets to be a powerful orange-coloured rock-covered monster.

I liked Ioan Gruffudd’s performance as Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four. Ioan is a Welsh actor who I’ve seen before in ‘102 Dalmations’ and he’s well-known as ‘Hornblower’ on TV. I was pleased to see him as Mr Fantastic and he delivers a well-balanced performance as the character.

I liked Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in this movie. Sue is the love interest of Reed Richards’ life. But there’s tension between them, as they haven’t seen each other for two years. After they get their superpowers, Sue and Reed have a second chance to share their feelings as well as express their love.

Chris Evans is great as Johnny Storm, Sue’s brother in this movie. Johnny is a young, reckless and impulsive hot head who loves to drive cars and womanise pretty girls. It’s no surprise that Johnny can burst himself into flames. He can be childish at times and even play tricks on Ben Grimm as the Thing.

Michael Chiklis stands out for me as Ben Grimm. I loved Michael’s performance as the Thing in this movie. I felt sorry for him as he had to act in that rocky prosthetic make-up during his performance. He looks very good as the Thing and I liked the range of emotions he puts into the Thing via his make-up.

The villain of this movie is Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom aka Doctor Doom. Victor is a rival for Reed Richards in terms of intelligence and his love for Sue Storm. From the accident with the cosmic storm, Victor acquires the power to become metal and also harness electrical powers within his hands.

I liked Julian McMahon’s suave and menacing performance as Victor Von Doom. He gradually develops as a villain in the movie before his true colours are revealed and he dons the metal mask and hood to become Doctor Doom. I was saddened that there wasn’t enough of Doctor Doom in the movie.

Kerry Washington stars as Alicia Masters, a blind girl who befriends Ben Grimm as the Thing. I liked Kerry’s performance as Alicia and it’s nice Ben falls in love with her in the movie. Seeing it at the cinema, I wished Kerry had more screen-time as Alicia in the movie. But thankfully she appears in the second film.

Stan Lee, the original creator of the Fantastic Four, makes a small appearance in the movie as Willy Lumpkin the postman. I liked that Stan got to say something in the movie as opposed to a non-speaking cameo appearance. His small appearance in this ‘Fantastic Four’ movie is a highlight for me.

The director of this ‘Fantastic Four’ movie is Tim Story. Tim directs well with the action sequences; drama scenes and comedy moments featured throughout this film. The balance is just right for me and I’m pleased Tim did a good job depicting the origins story of the Fantastic Four throughout the film.

The comedy moments featured in ‘Fantastic Four’ are pretty good. I liked some of the humour between characters and how Ben Grimm adjusts to being the Thing with his large rocky hands. The banter between Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm is a highlight for me, as it’s a love and hate relationship.

There are two action sequences featured in this movie. First, there’s the Brooklyn Bridge scene. This is where the Fantastic Four get to use their powers for the first time and save people from a fire engine falling over the bridge. The amount of time and effort given to make that scene is excellent.

There’s also the climatic battle scene between the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom in New York City. Although most of the scene is pretty brief, the way that the four heroes team up to defeat Doctor Doom was exciting to watch. I liked how Reed gets to become a leader in the final battle against Doctor Doom.

The set design for the movie is pretty amazing. I liked the outer space scenes aboard the space station when the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom get their powers. I also liked the scenes set at the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four’s headquarters and how the four heroes are settling in the place.

The visual effects in this movie are pretty amazing. I liked Mr. Fantastic’s arm stretching; Susan becoming invisible and Johnny getting all ‘flamed on’ and flying through the sky. The visual effects blend in well with the two action sequences at the Brooklyn Bridge and during the final battle sequence.

The DVD special features on the 2-disc DVD edition are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a cast commentary with Ioan Grufford, Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis. There’s also ‘The Fantastic Tour’ video, which looks into how the cast and crew promoted the ‘Fantastic Four’ movie across the world. There are also two music videos including ‘Everything Burns’ by Ben Moody featuring Anastacia and ‘Come On, Come In’ by Velvet Revolver. There’s a TV spot for ‘Fantastic Four – The Album’. There’s also an inside look into ‘X-Men 3’ by producer Avi Arad, which I found disappointing when I saw it.

On Disc 2, there’s a feature-length making-of documentary called ‘Heroes Are Born – The Making of Fantastic Four’ with cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘The Baxter Building – Declassified’; an animatic comparison; deleted scenes and a promotional ‘The Making of Fantastic Four’ featurette. There’s also a ‘Fantastic Four – Making a Scene’ featurette and a ‘Fantastic Four – Casting Session’ featurette. There are also a theatrical teaser trailer; a theatrical trailer and TV spots of the movie.

Lately, I’ve seen the ‘Fantastic Four’ Extended Edition DVD.  This DVD features never-before-seen footage of the movie. It was lovely to have the extended DVD edition of ‘Fantastic Four’ and watch the movie afresh with some brand-new scenes for me to enjoy!

Beforehand, I had read the brilliant novelization by Peter David on ‘Fantastic Four’. I was expecting scenes that I remembered from reading the novel in the extended movie. Some of the scenes were in the DVD!

The extended edition of ‘Fantastic Four’ was brilliant! There weren’t a lot of brand-new action sequences in the extended version of the movie, but there were some lovely new scenes of character development for Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm.

I enjoyed some of the new romance scenes between Reed and Sue and I especially enjoyed the new scenes between Ben and his love interest Alicia Masters. The second half of ‘Fantastic Four’ Extended Edition was better than the first half as there were more new scenes to enjoy in the movie.

The DVD special features for the 1-disc extended DVD edition of ‘Fantastic Four’ are as follows. There’s a trailer for ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ and ‘The Origins of the Silver Surfer’ documentary.

The ‘Fantastic Four’ movie is one of my favourite highlights from the summer of 2005. I have very happy memories of this movie. I loved the fantastic cast featured in this movie as well as the special effects and the action scenes. It’s a shame that this movie wasn’t long enough as the ‘Spider-Man’ films were.

But I was looking forward to seeing the second movie of the ‘Fantastic Four’ film series. I wondered what would happen next for the Fantastic Four and what their next adventure was going to be like.

‘Fantastic Four’ rating – 8/10


‘FANTASTIC FOUR’ (NOVELIZATION)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Prepare For The Fantastic Book

Here is another great novelization of a Marvel superheroes movie!

I’ve loved reading Peter David’s novelization of the 2005 ‘Fantastic Four’ movie! I have fond memories reading this book when I purchased it that same summer following the movie’s release. I wanted to know more about the story and the movie’s novelization seemed one of the best things!

I recall when the ‘Fantastic Four’ movie was released at cinemas in July 2005, there was this Peter David novelization and the ‘Fantastic Four: The Making of the Movie’ book released at the same time. I enjoyed looking through both books as I enjoyed seeing the ‘Fantastic Four’ movie so much.

The novelization by Peter David is a well-detailed book featuring plenty of character development and story-telling. I like this in novelizations, especially as it includes scenes never seen in the movies before and deepens some lovely emotional character drama that I enjoyed from seeing the movies.

Peter David is well-known for authoring many ‘Star Trek’ novels and he also novelized the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy with Tobey Maguire. Having reading the ‘Spider-Man’ movie novels, I was in for a treat and knew that Peter David would do wonders with novelizing the first ‘Fantastic Four’ movie.

The book by Peter David is based on the movie screenplay by Mark Frost and Michael France, as well as being based on the Marvel Comic Book of ‘Fantastic Four’. The book is divided into 24 chapters. I enjoyed reading through chapter and enjoying more of the ‘Fantastic Four’ characters in the movie.

Like with the original ‘Spider-Man’ movie novels, Peter David delves deep into the world of ‘Fantastic Four’ and delivers a book that is engaging and engrossing to read from beginning to end. I found it compelling to read more of the characters in Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben as well as Victor Von Doom.

I felt I couldn’t wait to watch ‘Fantastic Four’ again at the cinemas or wait for the movie to come out on DVD. So I decided to purchase the book from the local Waterstones in Cardiff and read it in order to fill my absence and waiting of the ‘Fantastic Four’ film to be released on DVD for Christmas 2005.

I later re-read the book before reading the novelization of ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ in 2007. Recently, I’ve re-read the first ‘Fantastic Four’ book for this review in the months of April and May in 2017. I was even reading the novel whilst I went away for ‘The Capitol II’ convention in May.

In terms of new scenes added into the book from the movie, I’m surmising that Peter David was novelizing the story from the original screenplay by Mark Frost and Michael France. I’m also guessing that Peter added new scenes by himself in order to enhance some of the weaker aspects to the plot.

Some new scenes in the book from the movie are included in the ‘Extended Edition’ DVD of ‘Fantastic Four’, which I saw for Christmas 2016. I recognised some of those new scenes in the ‘Extended Edition’ from reading the book. This includes new scenes with Ben and Alicia in the movie.

The book begins with an extended arrival to Von Doom Industries for Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. There’s a moment when Ben tries to get out of the taxi they’re in, as he doesn’t want to meet Victor Von Doom again but Reed tries to stop him. This adds to the character relationships during the story.

Also in the first chapter, Reed and Ben enter Victor’s office with a sinister atmosphere created by Von Doom himself. The room is dark as they enter and Victor is hidden in darkness before Reed gives his presentation to him. This makes the scene pretty tense and really dramatic to read in the novel.

There’s a lot of character development in the main Fantastic Four characters. This includes Ben Grimm, as more is given in terms of his Brooklyn background and how he feels when he’s transformed into the Thing. I couldn’t really sympathise with Ben when he felt rejected and feared.

It was interesting how his relationship with Debbie got developed in the book. Debbie clearly loved Ben before he became the Thing. Afterwards, she rejects him when she gives her engagement ring back to Ben. It was pretty heart-breaking when reading it and so unfair for Debbie to do that to Ben.

Ben’s antagonistic relationship with Victor Von Doom is also developed in the book. Ben clearly doesn’t get on well with Victor and it was interesting how Peter David explores that in the book. Ben shows a tougher guy approach compared to Reed, especially when they tackle matters with Victor.

I really enjoyed the new scenes between Ben and Alicia in the book as well as the ‘Extended Edition’ DVD of the movie. It would have been nice to have seen those scenes in the theatrical cut of the movie. There’s a brand new scene at the end between Ben and Alicia, after Doctor Doom’s defeated.

I also like how the friendship between Reed and Ben is developed. Peter David makes clear how Reed and Ben are different to each other, with Reed being more nerdy and Ben being pretty tough-guy. But despite this difference, they’re clearly good friends which I did like from seeing the movie.

Johnny Storm’s character is also developed well in the book. He starts off as very cocky and immature. He’s also clearly against Reed and Sue hitching back together as a couple. There’s a new scene with Johnny and Sue about Reed when they’re going up into space which I did enjoy reading.

Beforehand, there was also a scene where Victor Von Doom addresses a press conference before going up into space to the Von Doom space station with Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben standing beside. I’m sure this scene was filmed for the movie. So why it’s not in the ‘Extended Edition’ DVD, I don’t know.

Back to Johnny, he becomes thrilled and gratified when he and the other members of the ‘Fantastic Four’ receive a lot of attention. He becomes convinced that everybody in the crowd loves him and it was fun to read scenes when he does the ESPN Moto X motorbike stunt rides and gets interviewed.

Eventually in Chapter 21, Johnny does a fiery trick when he almost scalds a pretty girl’s boyfriend. The girl bites back at him, telling him he should his powers not for ‘cheap tricks’. This scene is also included in the ‘Extended Edition’ DVD of the film, but it was great to read this from the novel first.

There’s something that puzzles me about this ‘Fantastic Four’ book though. In the book, Johnny has a girlfriend called Frankie. I like to think that this is a different Frankie in the book and not Frankie Raye, since she makes her first appearance in the second ‘Fantastic Four’ movie, but that’s for next time.

The highlight of the book for me is the romantic relationship between Reed Richards and Sue Storm. I love how Peter David enhances their relationship in terms of how it gets explored. It was interesting how the two broke up and how they fell in love with each other again through the story.

Reed is clearly insecure in terms of expressing his emotions and feelings to Sue. Sue is clearly frustrated by Reed’s inability to express love to her. It was interesting how the relationship gets developed before the cosmic storm and afterwards when they receive their superpowers in the tale.

There’s a scene in the book between Reed and Sue that works well and I wish it was in the movie. After Victor bullies Reed in his Baxter Building lab, Sue confronts Reed on it. Reed lets out his anger on her, but she doesn’t bite her. Instead she suggests they go to the planetarium where they dated.

Victor Von Doom is well-developed as a villain before he becomes Doctor Doom in the story. I like how Peter David explores Von Doom’s character. Von Doom is clearly power-crazed, but it was interesting how his power-craze works and why he believes himself superior to everyone else in this.

In the book, Victor is keen to marry Sue when he tries to propose to her. But gradually during the story, Victor comes to realise that Sue isn’t the woman that he had hoped she’d be, especially when she’s with Reed, Johnny and Ben. Victor’s jealously of Reed and Sue becomes evident in the novel.

There’s a scene I liked in the book where Reed saves Sue from falling shelves in his storeroom at the Baxter Building. It’s featured in the ‘Extended Edition’ and Reed and Sue are seen by Ben. But it was also interesting to discover in the book, that Reed and Sue were also seen by Victor on the camera.

Von Doom’s lust for power gets touched upon in the book, especially when he has his electrical powers and his body becomes metal. Von Doom is pretty bitter when Reed takes away his success and he seeks revenge on the Fantastic Four because of that, which was gripping and tense to read.

I like how Peter David touches upon the superpowers on the Fantastic Four reflecting on their personalities in the book. It’s hinted at in the movie itself, but it’s made clearer when reading the book. It adds to their character development and explains why they got these specific superpowers.

I think this is the place where I need to stop talking about the ‘Fantastic Four’ 2005 movie novelization. It is a really great book by Peter David and I enjoyed how he enhances the characters in the movie.  I loved reading the journeys of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Victor Von Doom in the book.

I would like to hear this novelization of the first ‘Fantastic Four’ movie by Peter David as an audiobook someday. I don’t know who would be the reader, but it would be nice to have either Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans or Michael Chiklis to read this very ‘fantastic’ movie novelization.

‘Fantastic Four’ the novelization by Peter David is a gripping read indeed. It’s highly recommended, especially if you’ve seen the 2005 film and loved watching it. I found it easy to immerse myself into the world of the ‘Fantastic Four’ in this book and I loved the character drama and action scenes in it.

‘Fantastic Four’ (Novelization) rating – 10/10


 

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5 thoughts on “‘Fantastic Four’ (Film)

  1. Timelord 007

    Phew i thought you were going to review the 2015 reboot for a minute which was atrocious.

    I enjoyed this film very much it captures the tone of the comic books & who’d thought Chris Evans would go on to play Captain America who i think was born to play Cap.

    I like the family feel to this movie as each of them alone feels isolated but together they create a strong family unit.

    Do you know there’s a extended cut of this movie that is 20 minutes longer?

    Also did you know they did a FF movie in the early 90’s made cheaply via Roger Corman films it was on You Tube, god it was bad….very, very bad.

    Anyway there’s my pointless trivia for today, as ever Tim a brilliant review on a underrated Marvel movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    No, no. I’ve not seen the 2015 reboot of ‘Fantastic Four’! I was thinking of seeing it at the cinema last year, but after hearing the bad reviews on it on BBC News, I’m glad I didn’t. My best mate from school even told me it was terrible. I think the 2005 version of ‘Fantastic Four’ is the best version of the lot in my opinion.

    Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review on the first ‘Fantastic Four’ movie! I’m very pleased you enjoyed this movie too, as I too felt it captured the original aspects of the Fantastic Four from the 1960s comics.

    Yes it’s amazing Chris Evans played the Human Torch here in these films before he went onto play Captain America. He’s clearly a Marvel superheroes fan himself and he does well playing both Johnny Storm in ‘Fantastic Four’ and Captain America in the ‘MCU’ movie series.

    Yes the family feel aspect of the movie works well. I like it that we get to know each of the characters individually first before they form up as a team at the end of the movie to defeat Doctor Doom. I wish there were more films with this version of ‘Fantastic Four’ instead of the just two films we have of them.

    I do know about the extended version of ‘Fantastic Four’, yes. I even asked my parents to get both the extended version of ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘Spider-Man 2.1’, either on DVD or Blu-ray, for Christmas this year! 😀 That means I’ll have a dose of ‘Fantastic Four’ extended and ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ movies on DVD and the five novel adaptations of ‘Doctor Who’ from Big Finish including ‘Cold Fusion’ for this Christmas! Yummy! 🙂 Thanks for the link, Simon.

    I do know about the 1990s Fantastic Four movie. I’ve not seen it yet. I thought it was on DVD on Amazon, but I must be mistaking it with an earlier 90s version of Captain America on DVD. That bad, is it? Hmm. I must see it on YouTube someday! 😀

    Many thanks for your kind comments on my DVD review of ‘Fantastic Four’, Simon. Glad you enjoyed it and very pleased you approve of this version of the Fantastic Four. Tim. 🙂

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  3. Timelord007

    Oh that Captain America from 1990 is awful mate I think the same people were involved in this FF 1990 film.

    there was two Captain America tv movies in the late seventies Tim one starred Christopher Lee.

    Trust me Tim the reboot it utterly atrocious, I can’t believe the cheek of the producers releasing this travesty & expecting the cinema going public to actually pay to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

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