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DVD Review: FANTASTIC FOUR

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PHOTOGRAPHY

FANTASTIC 4

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 106 minutes, cast commentary, three deleted scenes, Fantastic Four Video Diary, making of Fantastic Four featurette, trailers, music video, and two Fox Movie Channel featurettes

STUDIO: FOX/ Marvel

RELEASE DATE: 12-6-2005

The FANTASTIC FOUR is the first comic book that really started Marvel Comics back into the 1960s. Without the FANTASTIC FOUR's success, we might not have had the more popular SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN comics. The development of a FANTASTIC FOUR movie took years including a low-budget version produced by Roger Corman which was shelved shortly after it was made (only to show up in bootleg video circles). With the success of the SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN films, a FANTASTIC FOUR movie finally got made (and the special effects were there to help make it live up to the comic book). Like with many other origin movies, FANTASTIC FOUR does stumble here and there. I just think the sequel better be great instead of good. The film is fun, but the fantastic cast and effects sell F4.

The film starts with Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd)and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) going to sell Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) on a science proposal. Victor hooks into it and makes a deal. Ben and Reed go up to a space station research platform owned by Victor along with Reed's ex-flame Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), her hotheaded brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Victor to study a deadly space storm coming near Earth. The storm hits sooner than Reed predicts and it hits the platform. The five of them may seem OK when they return to Earth, but each of them have found out the storm has radically changed the genetic structure of their DNA for better or worse. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) can stretch any part of his body while Sue (the Invisible Girl) can turn invisible (and project invisible force fields). Sue's brother, Johnny (the Human Torch), can cover his body in fire, but Ben Grimm (The Thing) has developed a hard rock shell all over his body. Reed promises to get them back to normal while Victor's troubles start to begin. Not only Victor's company goes downhill, but he also is mutating. This mutation to his body makes Doom want to take revenge on our four heroes dubbed by the media as the Fantastic Four.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The video is up to the usual quality FOX has set for their theatrical DVD releases. Colors, blacks, and image detail are quite good.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English 5.1 DTS, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dialogue is clear. Music and sound effects are nice.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The cast audio commentary (with Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, and Julian McMahon) is fun to listen to and the cast are having fun. Very entertaining. Hope the director does a commentary for next year's extended cut of FANTASTIC FOUR. The three deleted scenes are OK and fun, but they aren't needed for the final cut of the film (Reed is in all scenes and Sue in two of them).

Also included among the extras are music videos and two trailers for F4 (theatrical and teaser). THE FANTASTIC FOUR VIDEO DIARY is a behind-the-scenes look at the press tour for the film (produced by Jessica Alba) hosted by the cast of the film. The MAKING OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR featurette is basically five minutes of promo fluff. Rounding it out are two things that aired on the Fox Movie Channel: Making A Scene (which focuses on the bridge sequence) and the Casting Session (promo featurette on the cast). Judging by the extras, the two disc Collector's Edition will give a much more in depth look at the making of the film than featured on this single disc release.

FINAL ANALYSIS: FANTASTIC FOUR is a fun action superhero film. Buy it if you only want the film. if you want extras on the Making of the film, wait for next year's Collector's Edition which will also include an extended cut of F4.

this DVD Review is (c)12-9-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com