Posted on 7/07/05 11:42 PM
As a child I was a fan of all things Marvel, so naturally, the first official film adaptation of The Fantastic Four excited me. Unfortunately, the film comes from the man behind last year's Taxi, and boy, does it show! Right from scene one I knew this film was Doomed (the capitalization is two-fold). The dialogue embarrasses nearly as much as the acting; each character is lifeless and boring with Julian McMahon's Dr. Doom being the only possible exception. The plot momentum is generated by absurd and muddled motives stemming from Doom's desire for revenge, or maybe it's greed; the specifics of his character's struggle are lost in the shoddy writing. Tim Story's direction is bland and the movie operates using a value system I found antiquated and neutered for mass appeal. Nonsensical scenarios are invented to demonstrate the Four's powers, but are often so forced the only thing Fantastic Four succeeds in is comedy.
Maybe I should have known better (Michael Bay!), but this was much more of a real action movie than I had anticipated. Much of the film's running time is spent watching high-speed car chases or people running from point A to B; for those not big into action that isn't always focused, you may find your mind doing some major wandering. On the less noisy side of things, Ewan McGregor is fine in a dual role, if a bit smug. Scarlett Johansson, someone whose work I normally appreciate, has very little to do and falls into the trap of a few bad line readings. Sean Bean is intelligently menacing and Djimon Hounsou suffers an unbelievable character revelation that makes his character worthless. The story is interesting and the middle of the film is unpredictable. The two worlds of the future are well-designed and plausible (save for some extremely awkward product placement during the film's first third). The end of the film is anti-climactic to an extreme, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth when the end credits rolled. Bay's direction is shaky and disorients when the editing becomes too abrupt; The Island is an enjoyable two-hour experience, but falls flat during its lazy finale.
Note: Special effects and music were not complete in the print screened (effects seemed fine to me, however).