A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Josh Trank
Produced By: Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg, Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Francis Ford Coppola’s groundbreaking war epic Apocalypse Now is famous for having one of the most infamous periods of production. Littered with heart attacks, reshoots, budget explosions and an overweight, unpunctual, unprepared Marlon Brando, it’s a miracle the film was able to be completed, let alone proceed to be regarded as one of the greatest pieces of cinema in history.
Josh Trank, the director of 2012’s Chronicle, has entered the public eye over the last year, primarily for the wrong reasons which come from his latest release, Fantastic Four, aka, Fant4stic.
A film that has too been labelled a nightmare to create, the 2015 obligatory release from Fox to maintain the rights to the heroes has officially rendered the brand worthless. Fantastic Four could possibly go down in cinematic history as well, however not for the same reasons as Apocalypse Now…
To many, The Fantastic Four are the most beloved superhero team. A pioneering group serving as a embodiment of the four primary elements, it’s a perfect formula for a diverse range of characters with equally as spectacular stories to explore.
It’s a great shame that a commendable Fantastic Four film has never graced our screens, and upon the devastating reception of Trank’s latest vision (which has again been subject to heavy studio interference), we won’t be holding our breathes for another.
Fantastic Four (2015) is yet another origin story of Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing, this time respectively played by Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell. As every origin story goes, an experiment goes wrong and leaves the human protagonists with superpowers.
On an inter-dimensional voyage, Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) encounter mysterious cosmic energy that dramatically alters their individual physical states.
Upon their return to Earth, the team must now learn to harness their new abilities to save the world from the ominous Dr. Doom. How fantastically original!
The film is not a complete disaster; it has its redeeming qualities, however they’re still few and far between. The most impressive scene focuses appears to have taken inspiration from Cronenbergian body horror and was a missed opportunity for the remainder of the film, tonally speaking at least.
What follows is simply a continuation of the previous onslaught of exposition and build-up to a finale that never occurs. Where the scriptwriters should have cut the dialogue down and focused more on the narrative progression, they thought was important to mention Sue Storm’s liking of the band Portishead…
This is a film littered with fluctuation. Not only does the tone of the film change with every scene, the dialogue alternates between passable and downright embarrassing, with many scenes offering a painful blend of both.
Furthermore, there are countless beats that seem off, misplaced and ineffective, resulting in confusion and frustration, not to mention the ever-changing quality in the special effects.
At points, they appear professional, seamless and of a high calibre, whereas other moments appear to be taken straight out of an amateur green screen studio without being enhanced in the slightest.
Lastly, where Fantastic Four plummets into solid mediocrity and then plummets some more is with the abysmal writing of the villain. His intentions don’t make any sense, not does the decision to allocate the last 12 minutes of the film to his introduction, domination and downfall.
The third act is far too short, rendering the first two-act buildup pointless and completely unfulfilled. The film appears to be a 150-minute film that was cut off at the 90-minute mark and jumbled together; there’s no solid structure or flow to the story.
All in all, Fant4stic could be described as a 90-minute first act. It began rather well, showing some true potential, however after the obvious studio interference kicked in, the film sank into a deep, dark, devastating grave that will take a while to emerge from again.
The Fantastic Four as an investable brand is dead as we know it, however until the next one comes along, we can take solace in the fact that a quality Fantastic Four film already exists and is green-lit for a sequel; it’s called The Incredibles.