Fantastic Four (2005/Blu-ray)
Picture: B Sound: B Extras: C Film: C
years, everyone wanted to see The Fantastic Four become a feature film. It had already been an animated series three
times, including the classic late 1967 series, bizarre 1978 show where R2D2
clone Herbie The Robot replaced The Human Torch so kids would not set
themselves on fire (!?!) and the disappointing 1994 series (reviewed elsewhere
on this site) that already hit DVD.
Around the time of the 94 show, screenwriter Michael France (Goldeneye, Cliffhanger) wrote a screenplay for the film, which Marvel
that he wondered how they were going to do the special effects. Between that and lawsuits over the rights and
a bogus 1994 feature slapped together to hold on to a screen rights, it would
take nine years before the film was made.
Several directors were attached, including Peyton Reed (Down With Love), but Tim Story finally
took the helm and The Fantastic Four
was a reality. Before hitting theaters,
the word was the film was bad and was going to bomb, but a combination of
curiosity interest, good casting and critic-proof fans made the film a huge hit
to the shock of the industry. Why?
the film was a change of pace from the darker, heavier films in the current
cycle that do not always seem to be for children. It was the most child-safe feature since the
first Blade launched the current
Marvel movies. Mark Frost took over and
revised the screenplay to update it for the years passed and the film was
Alba plays Sue Storm who becomes The Invisible Girl… we mean Woman, Chris Evans
is her brother Johnny – The Human Torch, Ioan Gruffudd is Reed Richards – Mr.
Fantastic and Michael Chiklis is a surprise as Ben Grimm – The Thing. Their fates are linked to the rich and
powerful Victor Von Doom (an amusing Julian McMahon) with a name that can only
spell trouble. Vic is fooling with space
toys and they all get zapped in an outer space trip by gamma rays. As with all Marvel characters, instead of
dying of radiation poisoning like most mortals, it turns them into mutants with
not heavily memorable or as good as the 1967 cartoon TV show, the cast and the
gags make this more than watchable, the cast has chemistry, Alba looks great in
every shot, there is money on the screen and the film never lags, which is key
to why it was the hit it was. A sequel
is being prepped as we post, retaining the cast. There is room for improvement, but you can
see why Fox would make this one of their initial Blu-rays. It has that cross-appeal the new format
X 1 1080p AVC @ 18 MBPS digital High Definition image is not bad, as shot in Super
35mm film by Oliver Wood (Jason Bourne Trilogy, The Honeymoon Killers) and does look better than the regular DVD. Yes, the digital can be obvious, but it is
not overdone and as a result does not quite date as badly. Color is better than average for a film with
so much digital, so you could do much worse for a demo of a recent film
6.1 ES HD Master Audio is also an improvement over the DTS on the DVD, but the
sound mix had limits on DVD and in theaters.
It is nice to see DTS HD Master Audio on Blu-ray, with John Ottman’s
score not bad, but not helping this film’s image as a lightweight kid’s
superhero film is the lack of sound design articulation in key scenes. The best example is when the fire engine is
stuck on the bridge. No matter who high
you turn up the subwoofer, the sound of the vehicle slowly breaking up the
bridge is limited and disappointing.
There are some good sound moments, especially when anyone flies, skis or
rides motor vehicles, but I wanted more.
This DTS upgrade is a plus.
include the five stars on a full length audio commentary and the original
trailer in HD, but the 25GB disc could not hold all the extras, so diehard fans
who own the DVD will want to hold on to it.
Otherwise, this is one of Fox’s better debut Blu-rays.
- Nicholas Sheffo