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Aug. 13, 2015

"Fantastic Four" doesn't live up to the hype

by Randima Herath, Online Editor-in-Chief
Hear that? It's the groans of disappointed fans after seeing the newest "Fantastic Four" film. The movie is a disastrous release, with an incoherent narrative and underdeveloped characters. The 100 minute film apparently required $120 million but the end result says otherwise.

Fantastic Four

(released August 07, 2015)
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Chips Rating:
2 stars

User Rating:
0 stars Votes: 0
"Fantastic Four" is a disappointing reboot with bad acting and an even worse script.

Methodical and geeky Reed Richards (Miles Teller), and supportive best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) presents a prototype teleporter at a science fair, capturing the attention of father-figure Professor Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy). Professor Storm works for the Baxter Foundation, a government-sponsored research institute. Professor Storm recruits Richards to work with intuitive Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and hot-headed Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) in order to complete the Quantum Gate designed by troublesome Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell). Though reluctant at first, the four pull it together and soon, facility supervisor Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) manages to send a group of astronauts to another dimension nicknamed Planet Zero. Richards, Johnny Storm, Grimm and von Doom decide to secretly teleport to Planet Zero with the help of Sue Storm, after blatantly being denied an expedition. Things go haywire when the energy of the terrain is disturbed and an emergency return is initiated. The exposure to the unusual energy of Planet Zero leaves each individual with a unique ability although how they use it is their own decision. After a less than thrilling turn of events, four must unite against Victor von Doom in a battle that's not of the ages.

Although the plot of the movie is fairly simple, it lacks the details to make the film compelling or believable. The audience doesn't even know why the young students are so hard at work in a lab until the finished product comes out. That's another problem: up until the creation of the Quantum Gate, the movie is stalling, taking far too long to explain the back story. Flash forward to the battle scene, and the skills demonstrated by the Fantastic Four seem way too advanced, compared to just 20 minutes earlier. That's because one year has gone by and the audience can barely tell. The film barely builds any action or suspense and leaves viewers feeling like the whole thing was stuck in its first act.

The actors also fail to put on a performance worth witnessing. That's not to say they're bad actors; for one, Teller has been a successful supportive character in recent years during the remake of Footloose and the Divergent series. But as a whole, they fail to develop real on-screen chemistry with each other, and as a result, the plot doesn't seem to move. The lack of teamwork offsets almost every chance the film has to reel in the audience emotionally. There are moments where the conversations between the Fantastic Four have potential to liven up the blandness but are then ruined by clichés and other cringe-worthy quotes, such as "It’s clobberin' time". Aside from Teller, almost every other actor seems to be miscast. He's the only one that manages to make some scenes tolerable.

While a box office failure, "Fantastic Four" hasn't completely flopped. Some of the special effects are worth applauding. When Johnny Storm becomes the Human Torch, he really becomes the Human Torch. But the best work is seen when a massacre occurs inside a facility where the Fantastic Four are being held. From the gory deaths to the aftermath of the battle, not a penny was spared in order to create these realistic and unforgettable effects.

Matthew Jensen's cinematography also manages to breathe life into a movie that lacks good pacing. The variety of shots used throughout every scene is the only thing that makes watching the film easy. Besides that, continuity errors with Teller's facial hair and Mara's hair styles, the pitiful lack of chemistry between the main cast and the extra long back story completely ruins any chance the movie has of being the reboot the series has long-needed.
"Fantastic Four" is riddled with nonsensical dialogue and a muddling mess of a narrative. It's yet another foundering attempt by Fox to make the best out of one of Marvel's greatest group of superheroes.

Fantastic Four is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and some suggestive content and is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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