Patrick's Rants


Fantastic 4

Filed under: In theaters,Reviews — site admin @ 7:56 am

Over the weekend we took some free movie passes and traded them for tickets to the Fantastic Four.
There have been a large number of movies lately that are comic book based: Spiderman and Spiderman II, The Hulk, Mystery Men, Daredevil (and the follow up Elektra) and the whole Batman series. Add one more to the list: Fanastic Four. Immediately following the movie my step-son and daughter said it was boring (although he could be heard talking excitedly about the action later with his sister at home).
The hardest part of making any movie is developing the characters. In a book an author can spend a huge amount of time developing the character and background. The same goes for a comic book where the author can give us the introduction and background on our hero in one or two issues – before they even have to start fighting villians. Comics also have the advantage of being able to give the whole background in a frame or two – even a whole page doesn’t diminish the remainder of the story. This is much harder to do in a movie – at least it has been in most movies I’ve seen. Any more than ten minutes of background development slows the pace of the movie. Any less and the background is not fleshed out very well.
Fantastic Four chose to go long on character development. The result is a movie that probably could have gone to four hours long – but instead sacrificed action in favor of better characters, personality and backstory. Admittedly, this sets us up for sequels galore; since the sequels don’t have to develop the background story they can plunge right into butt-kicking villians. Unfortunately, this has the effect of recreating the Saturday morning cinema protracted over years instead of just leaving us hanging until next weekend in a time when attention spans seem to be getting shorter due to all the things that tug at our concentration.
If you do go see Fantasic Four, be prepared for decent characters and background development, one great final fight scene – and lots of skirmishes that last under five minutes, and the expectation that there is more to come. If you can handle the multi-year protracted Saturday Morning Matinee feeling, go see this movie. If you can’t, wait five to ten years to get the whole collection when it comes out on DVD.
Rating: 2/5 something… when I get the graphic figured out that’s what it will be.
1 – radioactive – due to it being comic based.. radioactivity creates superheros


  1. Well you can’t forget the original Superman movies. I think that’s where the comic book to movies thing started. The Batman series wasn’t bad. I really liked the most recent one. In my opinion that brought the current movie series back to life (not to mention it used Chicago and it was fun to see this city re-created as Gotham although seing a one way street/draw bridge be two-way was pretty amusing!) Then there, of course, was Darkman and the Spiderman duo (done by Sam Raimi,) and the others that you mentioned.
    Honestly, my opinion of movies depends upon creation of the heroes. Batman Begins was excellent because of this, I think. It was a good story ™ and I hope that is what the Four is like as well. I don’t mind if it brings a smattering of sequels so long as it stays true to that. The Batman series suffered from this. I was about to turn off the Batman & Robin after the first scene because of this.
    Not that the story has to always be there. Take Hellboy for instance. It had decent characters but they didn’t have to be too believable. They were fun. They were ok. The action was amusing. The characters were amusing. There may and may not be a sequel but the movie was tolerable on its own.
    Of course if you want off-the-wall amusement about the whole comic book-to-movie genre, check out Comic Book the movie. Make sure to watch the extras because only the really really hard core comic book geeks will catch half of the little things in it.

    Comment by Steve — 8/9/2005 @ 7:38 pm

  2. Well… I forgot Dick Tracy the new Sin City, Cruel World was the comic book come to life in the movie. I’m sure there are more out there 🙂

    Comment by site admin — 8/14/2005 @ 7:38 pm

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