In that there are Four of them. But Fantastic? More like "Mediocre", or
"Barely Adequate", or "Contractually Sufficient".
For once, the reviewers were right. This film is a big, rambling, poorly conceived, sloppily scripted, shoddily acted pile of orange rubble. Avoid it, or suffer the consequences.
It's hard to know where to begin, there's so much wrong with it. For a start, the acting "talent" is AWOL. TV performers don't inevitably get lost on the big screen, but this cadre evited it. Alba turns in the exact same performance that she always does, going through her entire range, from "pouty and petulant" to "petulant and pouty". Evans is either a strutting superannuated fratboy poseur, or for some reason is deliberately playing one so well that it's hard to tell the difference - either way, his character is thoroughly irritating and utterly unsympathetic. Chiklis is adequate, but is let down by the plain fact that he's a round little man in a big rubber muscle suit. This was a role for Ron Perlman, not Wimpy. Gruffudd is a huge disappointment; he has no screen presence, and his slightly out-of-his-depth portrayal of Hornblower is apparently the man, not the character. It would have been better if he had been invisible, as he manages to fade into the background with ease in every scene. McMahon is the only actor who appears to be enjoying himself, but as he's barely in the film, he can't rescue it.
The script was apparently in development for ten years. I can't see why, as it's one scene, repeated ten times. If this is the refined version, I shudder to imagine what the raw cut would have been like. I find it hard to believe that the lines were written by, or for, adults. There's no real plot to the film, or even a story beyond "Nasty self absorbed un-credible astronauts become nasty self absorbed un-credible 'super' heroes, then argue with each other for a while, take their clothes off for no reason, then beat up some poor disfigured guy apparently because he didn't join their little gang, roll credits." Direction and cinematography was Filmschool #101, the score was instantly forgettable, and the editing was appalling, with the pacing in particular being random and rushed.
The effects were only what we've come to expect from a hundred million dollar movie, which brings me to the big question: what on earth did they spend all that money on? It wasn't on the "talent", either on-screen or off, it certainly wasn't on the rubber suit, and the effects couldn't have cost that much - or if they did, they were seriously over-charged.
I have an idea where at least some of the budget went. From IMDb's Trivia section: "Contains over 25 cameos from real life employees of Fox television affiliates." And I strongly suspect that the IMDb records for this movie contain about 2,5000 comments and ratings and mutual approvals from about five of those real life employees. Reading the top recommended comments, most of which have 10 ratings, reveals a depressing pattern of almost identically styled raves from the likes of "top10dude" and "BigTenPower" with embarrassingly obvious track records of enthusing about, you guessed it, other shoddy Fox movies. When someone rates Elektra a 10, you have to just snort in disbelief at the audacity of it.
I guess it's a pretty good investment for Fox, but this kind of astroturfing drastically reduces the usefulness of IMDb as an early review source. With time, this awful, foul mess of a movie will no doubt settle to its rightful place near the bottom of the ratings pile, but it's likely that the shill reviews will stay stubbornly at the top of the recommended pile for a long time to come. Beware; consider the source.
[2013 update] To this day, the top 'recommended' comment is an early 10 rating from a member who signed up to IMDb just to rave about this one film using the minimum allowed size of review, and then never contributed again. What dedication!
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Reed Richards, a brilliant but timid and bankrupt scientist, is convinced that evolution can be triggered by clouds of cosmic energy, and has calculated that Earth is going to pass one of these clouds soon. Together with his friend and partner, the gruff yet gentle astronaut muscle-man Ben Grimm, Reed convinces his conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor Von Doom, now CEO of his own enterprise, to allow him access to his privately-owned space station. Von Doom agrees in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He thus brings aboard Susan Storm, his shy, though assertive chief genetics researcher and a former lover of Reed's with whom she had an acrimonious break-up, and her diametrically opposed brother Johnny, the maverick and hot-headed playboy pilot. The astronauts make it home intact; however, before long they begin to mutate, developing strange and amazing powers as a result of their exposure to the cloud! Reed is able to...
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