Plot: What’s it about?
Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffold) is a genius. He has incredible ideas and a brilliant mind, but he lacks the funds to make his concepts a reality. He sees the chance of a lifetime when a massive solar flare is soon to appear, a chance to rake in funds and solidify his reputation. But when a grant is turned down, he is left with only one option, his old friend Victor (Julian McMahon). Victor has cash to burn and a reputation some would kill for, the kind of status Reed dreams of. The plan is approved, but Richards will be joined by his ex Sue (Jessica Alba) and her brother Johnny (Chris Evans), in addition to his own pilot, Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis). The mission puts the crew right in the center of the flare, but the craft is hit with much more radiation than expected. The crew survives, but when they return, strange changes have occurred…
Thanks to the success of films like X-Men, Hollywood has become obsessed with comic books, with more and more films using them as source material. We’ve seen X-Men, Daredevil, Elektra, The Punisher, Hellboy, and even Sin City, so of course, the Fantastic Four was a given. Now we all know about the version from Roger Corman, but this is big budget, no holds barred version. I loved the classic Fantastic Four comics, but I didn’t expect much from this, as the casting seemed odd and I figured this first film would be like a foundation. In other words, a lot of basic narrative, put into place for future installments to build off. I was right, as this movie covers a lot of ground, but doesn’t go too deep. The problem is that so much time is burned with exposition, the entertainment value is not what it could have been. I still had fun at times, but this could have been so much better. Fox’s treatment leads me to think a Special Edition is in the works, so unless you’re a diehard fan who has to own this now, a rental should suffice until that deluxe version.
Video: How does it look?
Fantastic Four is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As should be the case with such a recent release, the source print looks totally pristine and this transfer shows no traces of compression flaws, which provides a stable visual base. The film’s colors come across well here, with rich hues and no signs of discoloration, as well as natural and consistent flesh tones. Just as impressive is the contrast, with a high level of detail and very well balanced black levels. This movie needed a superb visual transfer and as usual, Fox has more than delivered the goods.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the inferior of the soundtracks found here, but fear not, as it still sounds terrific. But as good as it sounds, the track falters when stacked up against the dynamic DTS option. This soundtrack opens up the material, which means action scenes are more explosive, while even reserved sequences have more presence. The small touches, the kind of subtle details that add to the atmosphere, which can make the experience more immersive, all come across well here. I was blown away by some of the more audio intensive sequences, so fans are in for a real treat here. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary has all the major cast members involved, so the track is brisk and has a lot of humor, though not too much substance. But a lot of folks prefer these lighter sessions, as they’re easier to listen to and often have humorous production stories. So we have what amounts to a fun track, with a lot of people talking, but insight is minimal here. A handful or so of promotional featurettes can also be found, but keep in mind, these are also brisk and offer little in depth insight. Perhaps a future Special Edition will provide a more substantial look behind the scenes. This disc also includes some music videos, a collection of deleted scenes, and the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers.