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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday, September 1, 2014 - Edition No 912 
Reckoning

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FANTASTIC FOUR

SYNOPSIS:
A space exploration accident with cosmic radiation enhances a group of astronauts with super powers. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud), inventor and leader of the group gains the ability to stretch his body, and takes the name, Mr. Fantastic. His girlfriend, Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), gains the ability to turn invisible and create force fields, calling herself the Invisible Woman. Her younger brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) gains the ability to control fire, including covering his own body with flame, becoming the Human Torch. Pilot Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) is turned into a super-strong rock creature calling himself Thing. The foursome need to use their powers to try and thwart the plans of their nasty enemy, Dr Doom (Julian McMahon), who financed the mission into Reedís genetic research that would help the world.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A boysí own adventure from the Marvel comic stable, Fantastic Four is perhaps the most narrowly targeted comic adaptation, appealing largely to 16-18 year olds whose fantasies are kept burning by the fires of gee whizzery. There is an adolescent tone through the film (not helped by cheesy or clunky dialogue), which is never really overcome even by the insistent references to the ex romance between Reed (Ioan Gruffud) and Sue (Jessica Alba), which is due to be resuscitated.†

Indeed, the film tries hard to bridge the gap in its appeal so that it gets as broad an audience as possible, but in the end this defeats its own core elements of superpowered heroes. Trouble also stems from the fact that these characters are actually not that heroic; having discovered that radiation from a storm in space has given them strange powers, they tend to relish the novelty. The party tricks aspect takes centre stage and there isnít a mad genius about to destroy the earth on whom to exercise the potent powers of flexi-body, fire-flying, force shield or brute strength.†

Itís not until the end that Dr Doom comes fully out of the closet and threatens them with destruction, using his own electro-powers that the Fantastic Four get an enemy in their sights.†

Itís something of a soap opera, with Reed and Sue the central romantic engine, and Jessica Alba does indeed look, move and dress more like a tv soap star than the genetic engineer that Sue is supposed to be. Of course, the film is not intended to be a reflection of reality; this is a world where anything can happen Ė and does, for the sake of entertainment.†

And as todayís audiences (young ones especially) expect and want larger doses of effects and stunts and pyrotechnics, the film is made in the internet equivalent of capital letters and its simplistic morality stands out on the big screen more so than on the small page.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

FANTASTIC FOUR (PG)
(US, Germany, 2005)

CAST: Ioan Gruffud, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington

PRODUCER: Avi Arad, Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter

DIRECTOR: Tim Story

SCRIPT: Michael France, Mark Frost, Simon Kinberg (comic & characters by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Wood

EDITOR: William Hoy

MUSIC: John Ottman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Boes

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 7, 2005







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