Movie review: The Fantastic Four (2015) – Not so fantastic

I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise reboot come around quite so fast. The last Fantastic Four movie (Rise of the Silver Surfer) was released in 2007, which doesn’t seem that long. It must be a comic-book thing.
Anyway, Rise of the Silver Surfer didn’t exactly thrill me, so I was looking forward to a fresh start with new characters, new director and the involvement of the same production outfit that brought us the brilliant X-Men series.

Okay, first the good.

This outing was a lot grittier than the previous takes. The characters were vaguely human, which usually makes comic-book films a lot more approachable for more people. The special effects were fairly good (especially the Human Torch sequences), and the interaction between the characters were nothing to write a blog about, but were pretty much okay.

And that was the good.

Unfortunately, while the characters were vaguely human, they were also a little bit dull. There wasn’t much to separate them really. The good guys where good, and the villain was  . . . well . . . he didn’t seem that bad. He went about his master plan to destroy humanity as though he could be talked out of it if someone listened to his problems over a cup of tea and generous slice of chocolate cheesecake.

The film meandered from one inconclusive scene to the next, marking time until the final battle – which was over in a few minutes, and didnt’ really add anything to the film or the characters. To be honest, I was glad it was over.

I got the distinct impression that this film was made to a time budget: It was to run for 98 minutes and not a moment longer. The whole thing seemed very compressed; years squeezed into ten minute set pieces that were frustrating and uninspiring.

On the whole, something of a disappointment.

Three out of ten . . . :-(

Just started watching Dark Matter…

Apparently we’re six or seven episodes in already, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. The premise isn’t going to make anyone work too hard: Six individuals wake up on a space ship, with no memory of their past lives. At the moment our heroes(?) are rebelling against their employer by defending a mining colony.

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Dark Matter is based on a comic book (what isn’t?) and seems quite well done, so I’ll probably stick with it and see where it goes.

I have to say that it all does seem a bit familiar: six humans and a machine travelling on a space ship, righting wrongs committed by a sinister corporation?

Looks a lot like Blakes7 to me. . . .

Mad Max was sort of . . . mad

Insane, actually.

This is part four in the Mad Max series, with Tom Hardy taking over the lead from Mel Gibson who last appeared as Max in Beyond Thunderdome (1985, believe it or not).

Nothing much has changed; Max is still the solitary road warrior, still haunted by the deaths of his wife and daughter, still surviving in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has turned against itself in a battle for oil and water: the only commodities that have any worth.

It’s pretty grim stuff, and the great thing about it is that throughout the non-stop battles between cars and trucks (and I think we must have spent at least 70% of the film chasing around the desert), you were never left with the slightest notion that there was any real hope. The human race was heading for a slow exctinction, and nothing was going to change that.

So everything was just about surviving as long as you could before you were murdered for your car, or you died of hunger and thirst.

FURY ROAD (Image courtesy of IndieWire)

The action scenes were some of the very best I’ve seen. Savagely uncompromising and exhausting to watch.

Tom Hardy does a creditable job in the lead role. He does the moody, silent, slightly unhinged thing very well, so I think I would have been a lot more surprised if he’d made a mess of it.

Charlize Theron? Well, I’m always disappointed when I hear she’s been cast in any movie, and then I’m massively shocked at what a great actress she is. This is no exception. Not her greatest play, but a good performance nonetheless.

This is a great film, and if you’re into action flicks with a human touch then it’s well worth seeing. I’m going to give it eight out of ten, and I might actually go see it again.