Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Fantastic Four

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV


Country of origin:USA / UK / Germany
Director:Josh Trank
Starring:Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
IMDB link:

Tagline:Change is coming.
Favourite line:"The end of your world... is the beginning of mine"

Currently sitting at 4 out of 10 on IMDB, this has to be a stone-cold turkey, right?

The plot:
Reed Richards is a massive geek. As a young boy, he liked nothing more than experimenting in his garage, occasionally knocking out the power to his whole neighbourhood in the process.
Now, as a college student, he’s still a geek, and he thinks that he and his friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) have discovered something remarkable – a means of teleporting objects great distances.
Attracting the attention of fellow researchers, Reed and Ben are provided with funds and, just as importantly, a team of co-scientists and, it is discovered, their teleportation device is more than it seems, for the objects it teleports travel far further than they could ever have imagined.
Just as it seems they are on the verge of greatness, the government steps in, and threatens to pull the plug on their activities to take over the work for themselves, for the purposes of weaponisation. Undaunted, the team clamber in to the device and switch it on, changing their lives forever in the process.

A movie so poorly received by pretty much everyone with eyeballs, unusually for us down here at Smell the Cult HQ, we went into this fearing the worst. The blanket policy for all employees at StC is simple: expect a five. Every film starts at five out of five. Points are deducted as the film progresses based on boredom, silliness and general misfiring. With this film, we are sad to report, our viewpoint was tainted before the opening titles even began so it is with some relief that we can state quite emphatically that everyone’s got it wrong.
Listen, it’s not great. It’s no Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s no Avengers. But it’s a darn sight better than Captain America 1, for example, which received no such lambasting.
There are problems, most of which are undoubtedly due to the well documented fallings-out, rewrites and general shenanigans that dogged production. The director walked away with the film about three quarters done. At the time it was suggested his ego was running riot. Now it looks as if he may simply have feared he was making a bad film and decided to bail so he could go all Alan Smithee on our asses. The director is Josh Trank, by the way, the man behind the surprisingly good Chronicle from a few years back, and it’s easy to see why he would have been selected, given the similarity in plot-lines – a group of unsuspecting sorts are suddenly imbue with extraordinary powers. As a side-note, he’s left the Star Wars spin-off movie he was contracted for. Reasons are cloudy as to whether he walked or was pushed, but seems all may not be quite right with his career trajectory at the moment.
Other problems?
Well, at times it looks frankly under-rehearsed. Like the actors are giving it a dry run in a read-through rather than going balls out with a proper performance. Now, whether this is how they were directed to perform, or whether these were takes accepted as adequate well before they were ready, we’ll probably never know.
The music is weird. For long periods there is no music at all, so scenes seem strangely muted where, we are sure, most films would have a background score to add a sense of atmosphere.
The main villain is shockingly under-used. Indeed, the whole origin story arc of all of the characters is undercooked. Heh, it’s not often we complain about a short runtime in a movie but this one’s ninety minutes is pushing it to cram in so much story and character development and, frankly, it fails.
But, even with all of these problems, there is still plenty to enjoy, and the story kind of barrels along, never really surprising, certainly never shocking, just projecting pleasing images and some funny words into your brain-box for an hour and a half until it finishes.
No harm done.
No offence caused.
No problem at all, really.
Won’t remember a jot about it in six months.
Quite enjoyed it whilst it was on.
Weird, that IMDB rating.


  1. Haven't seen it. As a bit of a fan of classic Marvel comics, it never screamed 'authenticity' to me.
    The characters just don't appear right.
    Reed Richards is a more mature man in the books.
    Johnny Storm's ethnicity seems to have been changed just to hit the demographic targets.
    For all their faults, the previous two FF films are at least largley faithful to the source material.

  2. Above comment by Matt, by the way!