Thank God I’m a target demographic. Otherwise I would never have these movie remakes of cartoons and shows I enjoyed in my youth, such as Spiderman, Batman, Bewitched, and now, the Fantastic
Fantastic Four was one of my Saturday morning staples. My parents didn’t approve of comic books, but somehow animated TV was OK. Therefore, I never read the Marvel comics version. I had high hopes for this incarnation. What I got was another version of my Saturday morning cartoons. The movie wasn’t bad, it was just that I felt like I was watching a two-hour pilot for a TV series. The entire film seemed to get lost in backstory development, the relationships between the characters, and their refusal to accept their new powers. Even after realizing their new capabilities, the transformation from irradiated freaks to superheroes was more like a sitcom than action flick. As Reed Richards put it, “Well, we do have the costumes.” The pilot show analogy seems to be what the producers have in mind, because the ending was left sufficiently open for Dr. Doom’s return.
I can handle the impossible, just don’t give me the improbable.
Thus spake my nephew, Chip, regarding movies. Movies create their own universes that can defy physics at will. You can check your mind at the door, and enjoy a movie that plays fast and free with the laws of physics, as long as that movie stays consistent within its own universe. Fantastic Four doesn’t seem to do that. Reed Richards goes from investor to investor to sponsor a trip into space to check out this rare radiation cloud that only comes around once a millenium, only to find Dr. Doom willing to finance his scheme. Then, he very easily recreates the cosmic ray cloud in his lab. Seems anyone with the right technology and lack of common sense about self-experimentation can be a superhero.
Speaking of defying scientific laws. I had to laugh at one point. Dr. Doom’s physician stated that his body was being transformed into an organometallic compound. Laura’s research area is organometallics, so I’m sure she would have loved to see how that reference was twisted.
As I watched, I couldn’t help drawing comparisions with The Incredibles. Both movies feature a family with superpowers, including a stretchy person, someone with enormous strength, and someone who can project force fields. However, I thought that The Incredibles was much more imaginative, and all-in-all a much better movie. I’m to wonder if the Baby Boomer superhero well has been tapped dry, and if only parodies such as the Incredibles can succeed. It seems that a simple translation to the screen is not sufficient, even if laden with special effects. As the target demographic I am, I can only hope that when they get around to making Space Ghost and Jonny Quest into live-action movies, that they do a better job.