Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Science Fiction > Fantastic Four (2005/Blu-ray)

Fantastic Four (2005/Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C     Film: C



For 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 apparently liked.


Word is 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?


Because 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 rolling.


Jessica 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 superpowers.


Though 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 needs.


The 2.35 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 release.


The DTS 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.


Extras 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


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com