FOREWORD: So finally, Deola, a very good friend of mine who doubles as a movie buff, Deola, has caved under pressure to write what he knows how to do best – give a scintillating opinion of movies. He starts with Fantastic Four, the worldwide cinematic mess that has been raging for days since it was released. Don’t worry, he didn’t give out any spoilers, for those who haven’t seen the movie. And he has promised that his reviews will be as spoiler-free as he can manage.
Check on it below.
When you go to the cinema to watch a movie, it’s quite easy for the average movie-goer to forget that a movie is like a machine, with so many moving parts, each doing duties no matter how small, in order to achieve the goal, which is to make a good movie.
The mark of a good movie, I believe, is to sell me on an idea. Sell it so brilliantly that I am transported into the reality of the movie so much so that I forget that it isn’t real. And to do that, all moving parts of the big machine that is the movie have to work – the director, the screenwriters, the composer of the film’s score, the hairstylist and makeup artist, the graphic designers, down to the editors in the cutting room.
It’s a very rare thing for all these parts to pull together perfectly to create something so magical that it transcends just cinema and becomes art. Such movies are those that stand the age of time. It’s also a very rare thing for almost every single part of this machine that is the movie to completely fail, something that I hadn’t seen, that is, until I saw Fantastic Four.
In an age where reboots, and re-imaginations and re-this and re-that are the craze, in an age where Comic Book Movies (CBMs) are the toast of the box office and the general movie-going audience, it would have been quite difficult for anyone to predict the level of failure that would be this movie. But fail it did.
When the film opens, we hear a young lad talking about what he wants to be when he grows up, and from that moment, Fantastic Four piques my interest and seems to be laying the groundwork for what looks set to be an interesting origin story. Alas, that was where the movie’s promise set sail and then drowned.
The main cast of Miles Teller, Kate Mara (from House Of Cards, whose changing hair in the film was…well, its own mini mess within the bigger mess that is the movie), Michael B Jordan, Jaime Bell and Toby Kebbell are all young and promising actors, who were all let down by the writers and everyone behind the camera (I’m looking at you Josh Trank. I’m seriously looking at you!). These actors gave it their best shot, but their efforts proved futile.
Like Ant-man that came out before it, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama with Fantastic Four. Like Ant-man before it, the casting for F4 raised more than a few eyebrows. Like Ant-man before it, some of the scenes had to be rewritten and re-shot.
So how is it that Ant-man, which was a far harder sell (I mean, c’mon! The dude talks to ants) still managed to pull through and become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) most critically acclaimed entries and has gone on to gross almost $350million worldwide, and Fantastic Four became one of the worst CBMs ever made?
It all boils down to the studios.
Marvel Studios pushed Ant-man. They had faith in the project and as such promoted the heck out of it, probably more than any of their other movies till date, knowing what a hard sell it was. Fox Studios, it would seem on the other hand, knew the dud they had created and barely promoted the movie. Both movies had to be reshot and rewritten, but while Ant-man’s makeover, while still noticeable, barely affected the movie, Fantastic Four’s completely dictated the movie; from the moment when the first hair change of Kate Mara (whose changing hairstyle was a betraying factor of which scenes had been reshot) was noticed, the entire thing fell apart.
From then on, everything seemed rushed, chopped, patched, and sewn up just so as to meet the release dates. The CGI effort was the sloppiest thing I have seen in years. For a movie which cost over a 100million to make and in the year 2015, it says a lot about how poor this was that the CGI from the Fantastic Four films released a decade ago have far better CGI than this one. This mess is best seen when the Human Torch is first shown taking flight, what results is something best described as Mortal Kombat-on-GameBoy level graphics. So bad that for a moment, I thought someone had edited that over the movie.
A lot of time was spent setting up the event that gave the team their abilities, so much so that by the time they did finally get them, I just couldn’t care anymore. I just wanted to see the climax of the movie, and even when that came, it was out of nowhere, weirdly edited and completely ridiculous.
In the end, Fantastic Four was a movie with so much potential with none of it reached. Every single part of the machine that should have made this movie work failed, right from the director, Josh Trank down to whoever it was that was responsible for Kate Mara’s hair (Seriously, you have to see it to believe it). Studio interference, behind-the-scenes drama and a lack of faith in the project – and the result is a weirdly-paced, uneven, heated mess that isn’t worth the watch.
Best Performer was Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm. He played the part and looked the part. He delivered his lines with vigour that the words themselves didn’t deserve.
Worst Performer was Kate Mara as Sue Storm. And this was through no fault of hers. That hair, oh that hair…
Movie Rating – 2/10. Congratulations Fox, you retained the movie rights…for a $120million.
Written by Deola