honest with ya... I never cared much for the Fantastic Four. Something
about the characters just never interested me that much. It seemed like
for every character, there was a far better counterpart in some other
comic book series. I'll take Plastic Man over Mr. Fantastic any day. I'll
take Wonder Woman (and her invisible jet) over the Invisible Woman in a
heartbeat. I'll take the Incredible Hulk over The Thing without thinking
twice about it. And last but not least, I'll take Ghost Rider over the Human
Torch, not just because Ghost Rider is more interesting, but because I
really hate the Human Torch.
the new "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" movie coming
out, I thought now would be a good time to look at the ORIGINAL Fantastic
Four movie. No, I'm not talking about that boring piece of shit from 2005,
I'm talking about the one from 1994 by the legendary b-movie master, Roger "Death Race
2000" Corman! This movie was never officially released in theaters or
on DVD and only had a
budget of roughly 1.5 million dollars. Word is, the studio would have lost
the movie rights to the Fantastic Four if they didn't begin filming
something soon, so they went ahead and gave Roger the reigns to make this
As corny as
this movie may be, I still find it far more entertaining than the 2005 big
budget version of the Fantastic Four. The countless flaws of the movie
provide plenty o' laughs and, If nothing else, at least Dr. Doom
looked right. So with that in mind, I think it's high time I help give
some more exposure to this forgotten film.
First off, a
lot of people wonder why things went so wrong with the experiments that
the Reed and Victor were conducting. Could Victor's accident have been
prevented? I say yes. All you need to do is look at who their professor
was - George Gaynes, or Commandant Eric Lassard from the Police
Academy series as most people know him! You can't have that guy
teaching a bunch of students about astro-physics and not expect something
to go horribly wrong. The guy can barely keep his goldfish out of harm's
way for chrissakes!
Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom decide they're going to
harvest the energy of Colossus - a radioactive comet-like energy source
that just so happens to be traveling close to Earth tonight. Ben Grimm
is also introduced briefly as he plays a video game that looks like a bad
cartoony rip-off of Missile Command. Or perhaps the game is
supposed to be some foreshadowing that Colossus is going to rain down some
pain on them soon. Who knows, and more importantly... who cares?
So back at
the lab, Reed and Victor go over their notes and calculations in
preparation for the arrival of Colossus. Reed, as always, wants to be
extra careful and do more tests, but Victor pushes him to go forward with
their plans because Colossus has already arrived. So, with a display of
some low budget early CGI effects, they start harvesting the energy, but
something goes wrong and the machine crystals overheat. Reed shouts at Victor,
telling him to get out of there, but he refuses to leave as he shouts "I
will not fail! I will not fail!" Well guess what, Vic? You failed.
The electricity bursts out from the machine and pins Victor up against the
wall... shocking and burning the crap out of him. But hey, when your last
name is "Doom" you should probably avoid playing with electricity anyway.
Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.
where it gets a little weird. Two guys had apparently been keeping an eye
on ol' Victor for a while - spying on him at the university 'n
everything. They somehow knew that Victor would one day become Doctor Doom and
were all too eager to become his right-hand guys. So, they impersonate
medical doctors at the hospital and tell Reed that the burns were too
severe and then cart Victor away, knowing full well that he's really
How do they
know and accomplish all of this? Why do they want to become his servants? None of
that is even explained, so I guess you'll have to go back and read the
comic books and hope that the mystery is unveiled. I'm guessing it's not,
but anything's possible I suppose. I should also note that the main henchman has a
really bad Transylvanian-like accent and I expected him to fly away like a
bat before the movie ended. Sadly, this never happened.
Cut to ten
years later, and Reed and Ben show up at Johnny and Sue Storm's house to
invite them to go on a mission to outer space! Reed and Sue clearly have a
history together. You know this because the music gets real quiet with some
faint piano in the background, the two stare into each other's eyes and have one of
those deep daytime drama show moments where they say to each other: "Hello Reed." (long
pause) "Hello Susan." It's a very touching moment
that I'll never forget as long as I live.
was I just talking about?
unfortunately for Reed, he has let his work get in
the way of what could've been... well, a lukewarm romance at best. Still,
a lukewarm romance would most likely be an extremely welcome occurrence in
the life of
your average astro-physicist. Nerds!
Johnny's mom stops them all before they leave and says, "Look at you!
The Fantastic Four!" And that, my friends, is how they got their name... from mom. Aww.
In case you're wondering, yes, Johnny Storm is played by Jay Underwood
from the classic 80's movie "The Boy Who Could Fly" and the "Not
Quite Human" TV movies. I still remember the best thing about the
first film being Fred Savage and his mission to make it around the block
on his Big Wheel before the bullies could stop him. Way to go Fred, you
made it! But I digress...
back in a very dark place, we get the first shadowy glimpse of Doctor Doom
as those same two henchmen are now reporting back to him. They tell
Doom about a precious diamond cluster that's being shipped to Reed
Richards and company. What's funny is that since he's speaking through a
mask, Doom's voice is actually extremely muffled throughout most of the movie.
You'd think they would've recorded his voice separately and added
some effects to it in post-production, but no... they just let the guy talk straight through
the mask the entire time. Brilliant!
also note that Doom really likes his metal fingers and the
clickety-clankity sounds they make whenever he moves them. He's always
tapping them whenever he goes. Damnit Doom, keep your hands to yourself.
receives his diamond cluster which will enable him to harvest the energy
of Colussus because they can displace the heat and
give the prisms in the machine a chance to cool off instead of overheating and causing
another mishap like the one from 10 years ago. Reed really wants to right
the wrongs of the past and make Victor's supposed death not be in vain.
Too bad for him that, in addition to Doctor Doom, some crusty old geezer
Jeweler has his eye on the diamond cluster as well. You see, Ben Grimm accidentally
runs into the blind sculptress, Alicia Masters, and she falls in
love with him, but the Jeweler is in love with her and is determined to
make her the queen of his lame underground homeless guy club. He figures
that giving her the biggest cluster of diamonds on earth will win over her
heart. After all, diamonds are a girl's best friend, right?
home, Alicia sculpts a model of Ben Grimm's head based on her memories of
touching his face... all this accompanied by the sweet sounds of
flute music and god knows what she intends to do with that head
afterwards. Frankly, whatever it was, I'm glad it was edited out of the
film. After he's done spying on his female obsession, the Jeweler
heads back to Reed's office to steal the diamond cluster. I gotta say, for
an old geezer who looks kinda like Judge Alvin Valkenheiser from "Nothing
But Trouble", this Jeweler fella can really move. He weaves his way
through Reed's high-tech laser security alarm system almost effortlessly
as if he was playing hopscotch.
He even has a replica cluster that he puts in their place so
Reed won't even know the real diamonds were stolen until it's too late. Doctor Doom
apparently has hidden cameras set up in Reed's office and is all to happy
to see this taking place. Not only does Doom plan to take the diamonds from the
Jeweler later on, but the Jeweler has just saved Doom from having to kill the
Fantastic Four himself. Oh no, what ever will our heroes do?
they fly into outer space in a ship that honestly looks like a cheap kite
or one of those plastic air-powered rocket ships that come with a pump that you stomp on so they
jettison up into the air for a few moments of mild amusement. Yep, that
right there is what those big movie budgets can afford you! Once in space, they initiate
the procedure to harvest the energy of Colossus, but since the diamond
cluster is fake, the ship quickly overheats. As the four of them are
blasted with cosmic energy rays we are treated to a kaleidoscope of moving
colors that surely used up at least 25% of the film's meager budget.
chorus of "ooohs" and "ahhhs", the colors race across the screen
the agonized faces of our four heroes. It's clearly one of those scenes
that's only meant to entertain the same kinds of stoners who attend laser
light shows and stare at them with complete awe. "Whoah! Duuuuude! Look
at those lasers maaaaaan!" Then, Doctor Doom watches them from a
surveillance camera that I assume he had floating around in space and says "Goodbye,
Dr. Richards" as the ship explodes. Look, if you're gonna be an
evil mastermind, you need to have a good supply of surveillance cameras
not just all over the planet, but all over the galaxy.
celebrates with one of those ridiculously long maniacal laughing sequences
that comic book characters are so notorious for. Even better, he does it
while clanking his metal fingers high upon his throne which sits in
between two flaming balls. Now I'm no interior design expert, but I
believe he's trying to say he's the head cock around there. And this cock
will fuck you up if you let him. Well, that's what I imagine he'd say at
done with the laughter,
we cut to the wreckage of the ship and the four who have miraculously made
it back to earth. Obviously, they didn't have the budget to film their
horrific crash, so they just showed the aftermath by scattering some
junkyard metal scraps in an open field. Anyway, while the ship was obliterated, the four of them are
virtually unscathed. That's right, now they all have super powers. Now
they're really the Fantastic Four! After getting some dirt in his nose,
Johnny Storm sneezes and ignites a nearby plant on fire. In a movie this
cheesy, you'd expect Smokey the Bear to pop up from behind the bush and
kick Johnny's ass. Unfortunately, it never happens.
slowly appears as partially visible. When she realizes this, she freaks
out and can't control her legs for some reason and begins to fall
backwards towards a giant shard of the wreckage. Reed reaches out for her
and his arm stretches out to catch her just in the nick of time. But what
about Ben Grimm? You know, The Thing? How come he hasn't made an
appearance yet? Well, I guess it just takes long to grow boulders on top
of your entire body than to make your skin turn to rubber.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN VANISH FROM THE FILM
IN HOPES OF SAVING HER ACTING CAREER?
WILL BEN GRIMM GET A REALLY DISAPPOINTING
SUPER-POWER LIKE "SPEED-KNITTING" INSTEAD?
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