Die Fantastischen Vier

I’ve been on a super-hero movie kick recently and a friend lent me four of the Marvel titles I hadn’t seen. Last night, I took in The Fantastic Four. It was pretty ridiculous.

The story with the Fantastic Four movie (at least the story I like to believe) is that when Marvel had fallen on hard times, they sold all their movie rights for cheap. Roger Corman bought several. In the early 90s, Corman actually made a version of the Fantastic Four. The legend continues that Marvel was so horrified by the cheesiness of Corman’s version that they went into bankruptcy to refinance and buy the film from Corman. Then they destroyed it.

Of course, bootlegs exist of the Corman version. And I’ve seen it. It’s like a movie-long version of the live-action Spider-Man shorts that used to air on The Electric Company. You know, where Spidey would just throw a net on a bad guy and we were supposed to think it was a web that he “spun”?

The Corman FF was like that. There was a huge cartoon sequence at the end because they obviously had no effects budget.

The “official” Fantastic Four movie is also pretty much like that only with an effects budget. When the FF need to get somewhere, they’re just there. There’s no transport. There’s no sense to why or how they do stuff. Stuff just happens. All of a sudden, they’re “heroes” after saving some people from a tremendous accident they caused. At one point, Sue Storm has to go invisible and take off her clothes to sneak past some police officers even though Johnny and Reed walk right behind her. And here’s the kicker, the guy who plays Reed Richards is a dead-ringer for the actor in the Corman flick. At least, as far as I recall. The bootleg was pretty grainy.

Anyway, I was never a huge fan of the FF comic so I have no real beef with the film. The effects were pretty cool even when the “story” and “plot” seemed nonexistant. I don’t remember the FF being one of those super-hero groups that was always goofing around but then they did have a guy who was stretchy — the dumbest “super-power” ever concocted.

I am sorta surprised they’re making a sequel. But you know, maybe we need more stupid super-hero movies. I am getting kind of tired of every one being about how dark and brooding super-people are.

Although why you’d turn a hot chick invisible is a mystery to me.