Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Readers' Write (8): Discuss... The Lack of a Great Fantastic Four Film


While Karen and Doug are on vacation in January, our readers have been entrusted with carrying on the daily conversations.  Today's Discuss is a do-it-yourselfer.  As we've done in the past, the first commenter gets to pick today's topic of conversation.

Generally speaking, the Discuss category is for narrow topics.  For example, in the past we've started conversations on topics such as the Sub-Mariner, Animal House, and the Captain America television movies.

Thanks for holding it down for us!

The Prowler would like to discuss reasons why a top-notch film based on the Fantastic Four still awaits the light of day.


Anonymous said...

In light of yesterday's BREAKING NEWS on the Ant-Man front I'd like to propose a topic for discussion. Marvel's first family, the stars of the World's Greatest Comic, The Fantastic Four. What is preventing the powers that be from creating/producing a truly jaw dropping movie worthy of their history? I have been sadly disappointed with the efforts to date.

The Prowler (from the old Spider-Man Crawlspace).

J.A. Morris said...

Good question Prowler, I'm still mad about Galactus being a cloud!

Looks like we'll get a "rebooted" FF movie next year:

Doc Savage said...

Simple laziness ("let's cast Jessica Alba and hope teen boys come") and disrespect for the source material that needs to be "improved."

david_b said...

I'd prefer today's discussion to be a more 'What if I was assigned to produce/direct/shape the new FF franchise..?', but write what y'all'd like.

As for me, I've said a few times now, I'd prefer a retro, cold war, early-60s return to the roots, rocket ship launch, gaining powers.

1) No Alba, need a more serious looking Sue Storm.

2) I wasn't too happy with the Thing suit (too smooth...), hopefully Ben Grimm'll be more a monster.

I'd prefer the Mole Man as a villain rather than Doom. When I originally mentioned my retro-set movie, someone told me it would be too expensive which was silly. If you can do seasons of 'Mad Men' and throw in good CGI, you can set it in nearly any timeframe. You just have to care.

Doc Savage said...

I'm for Charlize Theron as Susan Storm. Take a hint from Marvel and cast real, part-appropriate actors!

david_b said...

NOT TO TYPECAST or be sexist (trust me), but back in the '80s I would have chose Laura Dern as Susan Storm.

I liked her stern, yet lovely face and quiet acting style, but today they'd obviously be looking for a much younger actress.

Edo Bosnar said...

Actually - and this point has been made here before - there has been a really good FF film, only it was animated and called 'The Incredibles.' But yeah, I get the point; those two FF films were pretty lame.
However, that article J.A. linked does not give me much hope, since Fox still has the movie rights - I think it would be better if Marvel Studios took charge of it. Fox flubbed up the first two films, and they're also responsible for the generally grim and joyless X-men movies...

david_b said...

Edo, TOTALLY agreed, 'Incredibles' was awesome and apparently caused much consternation of the FF writing team NOT to duplicate what 'The Incredibles' was doing, since production for both were around the same timeframe.

Perhaps the best thing about a new FF reimage...?


Doug said...


With our Kree/Skrull War discussions in full bloom this month, the Avengers-Defenders War has come up. I've just tweeted links to our three posts on that crossover. Check the Twitter feed on our sidebar to jump directly to them. As they got virtually no comments back in 2009, they may be worth re-posting at some point.

OK, back to FF movie discussion!


William said...

I really don't understand why any studio has any trouble at all making any superhero movie. I mean, 90% of the work is already done for them. Let's take the Fantastic Four for example. There are thousands and thousands of readymade storyboards in existence to pull material from. Special effects are no problem these days, so just find the right cast and adapt a classic story for the big screen. Then sit back and wait for the cash to come rolling in. It's not exactly brain surgery.

The problem seems to be that most of the Hollywood types tend to over think things, and then make incorrect assumptions based on their own prejudices. They have this belief that everyone in the world thinks that comicbooks are stupid, and so everything about them must be completely changed or a mainstream audience won't go see the movie. However, I think that the Avengers has disproved that theory. And it would appear that the opposite is true. The closer you stay to the source material, the better the movie, and the more people who will go see it.

So, hopefully in the future, we'll get comicbook movies that are more closely based on the comics they came from. It seems that the producers of the new Spider-Man franchise have realized this, and are giving the web-head his most comic accurate costume of any of the big screen Spidey movies so far. Let's hope the makers of the next FF film will follow suit (so to speak).

Pat Henry said...

The FF are Old Skool and their powers are kind of lame, not particularly telegenic, and sufficiently generic that the Incredibles were able to lift them wholesale w/o copyright infringement (I mean, how many stretchy guys are there in comics? Half a dozen at least).

All that said, it would be cool to set the FF in the Mad Men era of the late Sixties, their heyday, and not try to incorporate the group into the modern Marvel era. Groovy colors and homburg hats. Mr. Fantastic with a tobacco pipe; the Thing in a boxing gym. The Marvel films set in past era are a hoot and you could cameo some of the cast from X-Men: First Class.

They need to feature the Submariner as the villain. It would be groovy to see him in action, he’s nuanced enough for interest, and you could even flash into the 1940s for a Cap cameo.

Edo Bosnar said...

Off-topic response: Doug, you guys started posting those the Defenders/Avengers war review right at the time I started reading the blog; I remember enjoying them quite a bit, but for some reason I didn't leave any comments. If this month's Kree-Skrull War "reprints" are any indication, re-posting those at some point would seem to be a good idea.

On-topic comment: William makes an excellent point about the comic-book inspired movies, i.e., tons of completely finished storyboards upon which to base a film. On a sidenote, this is the approach that should have been adopted for all of the Conan films as well.
I also find David and Pat's suggestion to set the FF film in the 1960s intriguing. That might just be the way to go.

Doug said...

Off topic response back to Edo --

One of the benefits of tweeting links to our older posts is finding links to images that are now broken. It's a bit of a hassle, but the spring cleaning does ensure that newer visitors will have a good visual experience.

Specifically, I need to get a new image of Roy Thomas for one of those A-D War posts!


david_b said...

The retro aspect of FF isn't really that intriging, it's why the story happened in the first place.......

From 'Marvel Firsts: The 60s', Stan Lee wrote that due to "the rate the Communists are progressing in space, maybe we better make this a flight to the STARS, instead of just to Mars, because by the time this mag goes on sale, the Russians may have already MADE a flight to Mars!"

I thought at one point Ben Grimm commented that the idea was to beat the Communists to the Moon, but the entire concept is still based 50yrs ago in Cold War times. Obviously you can graft that concept entirely into modern times (like the last FF franchise or Iron Man), but more significantly you have here the fundamental reason behind how everything started.

"How would you like telling the story of Steve Rogers and Captain America being birthed out of 9/11 instead of WWII...?"

It would lose something, wouldn't it..?

Hoosier X said...

I thought Jessica Alba was good in the Fantastic Four movies. As were the actors playing Reed, Ben and Johnny. (It wasn't Chris Evans' fault that Johnny was written as an overbearing, egotistical jerk far worse than comic-book Johnny ever was.)

Not that the movies were very good. They both had their moments and I liked them a lot more than the general consensus. They just had so much dub stuff in them. Galactus was terrible, but just as bad if not worse was the ridiculous changes to Doom, especially his costume.

(I don't know why Jessica Alba takes so much of the heat for these movies. I think she's a good actress and comes off pretty well in the FF movies.)

Doc Savage said...

Personally I wouldn't cast Jessica Alba in "The Jessica Alba Story."

Anonymous said...

I agree with William, there is a wealth of stories just waiting to be told. And david_b is correct in asking, What would you do to fix the FF movie franchise? A 60s reboot would frame the FF perfectly. The trouble, as I see it, with the FF is the origin has a huge whole. The smartest man in the world (okay, free world so not including Victor Von Doom) take his best friend, his girl and her kid brother into space!?! I said "What"? And she said "What"? And we said "Whaaaat"!?! But tweek the launch from racing the Ruskies to Reed racing the Military. If he can get there first, then his patents kick in, REEDCO controls the space race and not the military. A military race would result in a USA/USSR dash to put a base on the moon. You need four people to operate the rocket. Reed for computers, Ben's the pilot, Sue's life support and Johnny has communication, CAUSE HE'S A MEMBER OF RICK JONES' TEEN BRIGADE. Johnny's a HAM, Ham Radio Operator. Launch = powers. Second half of the movie, govt comes to the FF cause in an underwater atomic test, one of the bombs go missing (cue Sub-Mariner). OMG, this could work. I think david_b did it. I think he fixed the FF. Second movie is the Negative Zone. Third is DOOM.

The Prowler (from the old Spider-Man Crawlspace).

david_b said...

Thanks much, Prowler.

(As David_B feverishly blogs away in the Hollywood Facebook pages and hunts down copyright lawyers...).

Seriously, retro movies always bring a nice sense of charm (ie, Rocketeer and others).

The only serious setback to throwing the FF back to where they started is you can't have some future match-up with the Avengers at some point. But.. quite frankly, the Avengers have their OWN lineage of characters/stories/separate character franchises to keep 'em busy. So who needs a cross-over.

Along with the soon-to-be-HUGELY-successful Ant-Man franchise.

As Steve Martin prophesized many years ago.., 'Lets Get Small'.

Edo Bosnar said...

Actually, David, if the FF took the retro '60s route, it would be cool to have the elderly, long-since retired members of the team making a cameo appearance in a future Avengers (or Avengers-related) movie. However, all of this talk of crossovers remains in the realm of vain fanboy speculation, since Fox is still doing the FF (and X) films, while Marvel Studios is handling the Avengers universe...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've thought about it at work (boy are those gonna be some numbers that need explaining) and here's what I would do.

First movie, the race to the moon. USA and USSR see it as the ultimate high ground. Control the moon with an atomic stockpile and you control the world. Howard Stark is leading the American effort. He's using magnetized transistors to power huge rockets that would land 4 man crews on the moon. Each capsule would be used as living quarters and eventually all would link up to create a village. The crewmen/soldiers would use armored suits to help protect them in the moon's harsh environment. Leading the civilian effort, and largely funded by the Storm Foundation, would be Reed Richards. His pioneering efforts with unstable molecules would allow entire mechanisms, once treated, to be sent in single, reusable rockets. These shuttles would ferry men and materials to establish a space base on the moon. This base would be a launching point to exploration. Within a year, a fully functionally base/city would be in operation.

Many of Reed's patents, including the unstable molecules, are conditional on he being the first in space, to the moon and back. He builds a four man shuttle in a race against the Soviets and Howard Stark. On the night before Howard's launch, Reed goes into space. With long time friend Ben Grimm as his pilot, his benefactor Sue Storm and her kid brother, Teen Brigade member, Johnny Storm the four launch their rocket, mere hours before Stark's.

The Prowler (type more later).

Anonymous said...

Everything goes great, shields hold no cosmic radiation, they are five by five. As the slingshot around the moon for their return to Earth, Sue is using the onboard cameras to record footage of the moon. Suddenly, she cries out, "Reed, what's that!" On the monitor is what appears to be buildings. On the moon, in a sunken crater (as opposed to all the other kinds of craters) are buildings. And nearby, a dome? Reed turns to Ben. "Can you angle the ship so I can see out the window?" They only had enough money for one window. "Keep your pants on Stretch, I can thread a needle with this thing" Ben grouses. As the moon begins to fill the window BLAMMMM!!!! Every alarm in the world goes off. A small meteorite digs a furrow in the side of the rocket. Shields shredded the rocket will soon be exposed to the deadly cosmic radiation. If not for the maneuver the meteor would have torn through the very center, destroying the rocket mid-flight. Exposure = powers. End first half of movie. Part two would be the atomic testing in the Pacific and conflict with the Sub-Mariner. End of first movie.

Second Movie......

The Prowler (yadda yadda yadda)

Doc Savage said...

Honestly think setting them in the '60s would be a bad idea.

Related Posts with Thumbnails