Monday, March 7, 2011

Movie Griping #1: The Fantastic Four (2005)

I find Chris Pine extremely watchable.  Sure, I'm a straight guy.  But between him and Ryan's not that I would go gay for them.  But they're the two movie stars that, for me, have the greatest "I want to be him" effect.  According to the IMDB trivia for "The Fantastic Four" Pine ad-libbed most of his dialog, which definitely adds to that effect.  Who doesn't want to be a sexy, competent, suave, witty, charming pilot/extreme-sports hobbyist?

Now that I've explained the one thing that's likable about the movie, it's time to move on to the shit.

You can read reviews about how terrible Jessica Alba is at acting anywhere.  What I want to offer you here is a rigorous, one might even say "anal" analysis of exactly where suspension of disbelief needs to end.

So let's start with the space station.  There are several establishing shots that show the space station in orbit.  There is no rotating ring; therefore, there should be no gravity.*  All I ask for is one line of throwaway line of dialog: "Wow, isn't it great that we invented the graviton generator so that we're not all floating awkwardly!?"  But, no dice.  Obviously there is gravity there because filming in zero-G is extremely expensive.  But it's also expensive to make a body burst into CGI flames.  Who am I to question how the producers spent their money?  A customer, dammit, that's who.  Either shell out the extra money for zero-G, show that the space station has a rotating ring, or mention the artificial gravity.  It's not hard.

*Yes, I know there is gravity in space.  But there is the illusion of zero gravity.

But the biggest problem with this movie is the "cure".  In its (awkward, ineffective) attempts at establishing pathos the film shows Ben Grimm (The Thing) hating his new appearance and Reed, his friend, logically offers to try to reverse the process.  Fine, that makes perfect sense.  But then he actually succeeds.

Look, this is a science fiction movie.  I've suspended my disbelief.  I know what actually happens when someone gets exposed to cosmic rays (in a word: cancer) and I'm not going to gripe that they got superpowers instead.  Whatever.  All I ask for is internal consistency.  What that means is that I expect movies to follow their own rules.  So he builds a machine that can reverse the effects of the mutation.  Okay.  But then it turns out that this machine can also cause the mutation.  So, in what a competent movie would turn into a thrilling climax, Ben decides to turn back into The Thing to help his friends even if it means he'll be a social outcast.

But does it?  Think about it: this machine means that Ben can turn into and out of The Thing at will!  Why not hang out and be normal, and then when an emergency arises hop into the machine while shouting "Transform!"  like some '80s cartoon character?  We know that the process doesn't take long since that's exactly what he does at the end of the movie.

Of course, this brings us to the best part: the Fantastic Four now have a machine that can turn ANYONE into a superhero/villain.  Yep, heroes can be made.  Shouldn't every cop/military contractor on the planet be lining up to use that?  Isn't the development of that technology more important than any other thing in the film?

Before that machine was made, I saw the movie as Chris Pine's Escapist Fun Hour with intermissions of tedious pictures of Jessica Alba.  After that machine appeared, I gave up.  The writers had no respect for me or the material.  For shame.  For shame.


  1. Your points made me think of the movie differently. I think I have to rewatch it and try to make better observations. Good luck blogging!

  2. Great points bro, I'm following!