Tag Archive | "Fantastic Four"

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Is This The End Of The FANTASTIC FOUR?

Posted on 10 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

FF mourningIt wasn’t supposed to be this way. This was supposed to be the film to fix all of the franchise’s problems. It was a revamping of the property with a younger, cooler cast and a darker, more visceral feel akin to that of the monumentally successful The Dark Knight. It was supposed to be the Fantastic Four film the would surpass its predecessor not only in financial success but also in critical acclaim.

fantastic-four-2015-posterUnfortunately, that is not what happened. The film’s opening weekend began as an embargo on reviews was lifted, which would eventually lead to an atrocious 8% Fresh Tomatometer rating,  and the weekend would end with the film making only around a paltry $26 million at the box office, slightly more than half what it was projected to make.  Fantastic Four is not going to be a success.

With a failure such as this, pundits will be looking for a cause for the film’s bad returns. Everything from the  tempestuous production period to the uninspired directing and acting to the shoddy pacing will be blamed. Calls for the entire comic book film genre to go on hiatus have already begun. And people will begin saying that the Fantastic Four not a viable film property and will never work on the silver screen.

Is this last point true? The simple answer is that the ersatz version of the characters that were The Incredibles was a success, so the FF should be one too. But for a more complex answer, we’d have to look to what made the comic book a success for almost 55 years. What elements did Hollywood ignore or change that would make for a better movie? The possibilities are endless, but I’ll focus on the four biggest aspects of the comic that Fox has yet to get right that if they did, they would have not have had to do as many reboots.

1. Doom!

Victor_von_Doom_(Earth-616)Doctor Doom is one of Marvel’s most iconic and complex villains, but you would never know that from his appearances is the films. In the Tim Story films, he was a power-mad piece of eurotrash. In Josh Trank’s effort, he was nihilistic loner with a thing for computers. Neither captured the true essence of the character.

You’d need a thesis paper to fully delve into what a great character the comic book Doom is, but I’ll try to briefly sum up here. He is a megalomaniac with a sense of honor. He is a scientific genius and a powerful sorcerer. He wants great power, not only to rule the world, but also to rescue his mother’s soul from hell. He refers to himself in the third person, rules the fictional Latveria with an iron fist, and hates Reed Richards with a passion beyond all measure.

In other words, the comic book Doom is a man of contradictions. A man who has a presence about him. He is bombastic, colorful and larger than life. He’s a great villain for the comic books, and deserves a better treatment in the films.

We can only guess why filmmakers have shied away from going full Doctor Doom. Perhaps the pseudo-Shakespearean way of speaking turned them off. That doesn’t seem to hold Thor back. Did they think Doom’s origin had to be directly tied to the FF’s because he needed superpowers? Well, if moviegoers can believe that Tony Stark can build a suit of armor that could go head to head with the Hulk, they’ll believe Doom can build one just as strong to defeat Reed and the gang. Is the fictional Latveria to goofy for fans to grasp? They had no problem with Slovenkia.

Having a power-mad Doctor Doom who can’t be touched legally due to diplomatic immunity, who craves attaining power so he could fight the devil for his mother’s soul would make him into a more interesting character. Hopefully, the powers that be will realize this the next go round.

2. All in the family.

fantastic_four-heartIf you’ve read any review or article on any FF film, you probably know that the thing that sets them apart from every other comic book team is that they are a family. This has never been fully addressed by the films. The Story films did the best in paying homage to it, but Trank’s film pays little more than lip service to it. Reviews state that the film constantly reminds us that Sue and Johnny are siblings, but shows us nothing like a brother sister relationship between them or signify any unique qualities Sue being adopted plays into that relationship.

The family dynamic in the comics is so special is because it is in essence a six-way dynamic. Here’s the six points.

  1. Reed and Ben: These are polar opposites–the erudite brain and the uncultured jock–who have developed a bond that makes them as strong as brothers.
  2. Sue and Johnny: Similar to Reed and Ben, the reserved Sue is forever linked to the wild-card Johnny through shared DNA.
  3. Reed and Sue: This shows the ways families can be created through love and romance.
  4. Ben and Johnny: This relationship mimics the often combative relationship between “brothers.”
  5. Reed and Johnny: Reed often takes on a father figure role towards Johnny, as his reserved nature contrast with Johnny’s impetuous style.
  6. Sue and Ben: Both are the strength of the family, Sue through a more of a steely reserve, Ben in a more demonstrative way. They have kept the family together numerous times and during the times when either has left the group, the family is a much weaker unit because of it. The characters know this similar role they play, and respect each other for it.

If attention is given at all, it is given to the first four points. However, it’s all six that makes the FF as a family sing.

3. It’s Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben: That’s it, that’s all.

FF originWhatever the origin may be–be it getting soaked with cosmic rays up in space or blast by space goo from another dimension–it should be consigned to Reed, Ben, Johnny and Sue. There should be no more, nor no less.

Limiting it to this four adds a reinforcement to the familiar bonds I mentioned above. They are all united by a common curse/blessing and always will be, which draws them closer together while setting them apart from the rest of humanity. And Reed’s guilt about what he did to his friends and loved ones, especially Ben, is a powerful part of the FF’s narrative and works best when the guilt pertains to just these four people.

The film simply cannot let that dynamic stand. The Story films shoehorned Doom into the team’s origin. While this did give the character a set of poorly defined powers, it also weakened the bond between the other four. Now there is an outsider that shares their curse, one who hates Reed and one who hates Reed back. There will never be any unity because Doom will always be at odds with the other four. And Reed’s guilt, since he is a nice guy, will always extend out to Doom, but audiences will not be as moved. Doom is an arrogant ass. Who cares if he gets cured? And if the audiences don’t care, why should Reed?

Trank’s version of the origin goes one worse. Once again, Doom is shoehorned into the origin accident, but Sue is arbitrarily left out. She doesn’t go to the alternate reality, she gets her powers from some cosmic backwash when the boys return. In this circumstance, Sue becomes even a bigger outsider in the process than Doom. She doesn’t have the agency that volunteering for the project typically gives her. It relegates her to the role of the victim who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It cheapens Ben’s standard “I’m a monster” character trait, because at least he has a chance to not go to the alternate dimension. Poor Sue got powers forced  on her through no fault of her own.

This is the origin for the Fantastic Four. Not the Fantastic Five or the Fantastic Three and a Half. Keep the origin to just the four heroes. It will make it more powerful and a stronger beginning as well.

4. The FF are about the awe and wonder, not about the grim and gritty.

FF WonderfulThe comic book Fantastic Four are explorers. Many of their adventures revolve around them investigating the unknown. And these adventures expose the team to many wonderful and, well, fantastic concepts, ranging from subterranean warlords to giant purple men who eat planets, from alternate dimensions to secluded areas of the moon that can support human life. The limits of where the FF go should only be constrained by the filmmakers’ imaginations and their special effects budgets.

The Story films deal with this in the most pedestrian way, with the team being more reactive than proactive in their response to the unknown but with its share of dark moments as well. However, that approach seems almost sacrosanct compared to the approach Trank took, which was certainly influenced by the studio as well. His FF is a darker, grittier take on the concept. The color palette makes 80% of the film look like there’s a 90% chance of rain. Most of the team ends up working for the government, and the film is proud to show the Thing as a killing machine. And Doom’s grand plan is that he wants to destroy the Earth, killing all of humanity for the main reason that, well, someone in an office building on the Fox lot thought that it will be really grim and gritty in a cool way.

The idea that comic book films will be more successful if they are darker is one of the most repugnant trends in modern comic book film. Just like the grim and gritty period in the comic books that followed Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Hollywood is following in the footsteps of The Dark Knight and giving comic book film fans what the studio thinks they want. Of course, like in the comics, the grim and gritty trend does not always fit the original concept, and, in these cases, the result will never be better than what has happened before. And the Fantastic Four works much better when it has a lighter tone.

The Fantastic Four does not work well in a second rate Nolan, Scorcese or Tarantino film. If anything, Fox should aim for a second rate Pixar film. May I suggest The Incredibles?

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New Releases: August 6, 2015

Posted on 07 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

fantastic-four-2015-poster1. Fantastic Four (Fox, 3,995 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 9% Fresh [95 Reviews]): There seldom comes along a film that the public/target audience rises up as one to root for it to fail. This is one such film. People don’t just want this film to fail, but fail badly. Many hope that if this film fails, Fox will simply return the characters to Marvel so they can be “done right.” However, another failure might damage the property more than it could ever recover from.

Not that the studio and filmmakers didn’t help the hatestorm along, with a leaked synopsis that was kept little of the comic, a casting controversy over what seemed like arbitrary casting by the director Josh Trask, leaked photos that generated more disdain than excitement, Marvel going so far as to cancel the Fantastic Four comic book as to not support the film. rumors of studio mandated reshoots that were extensive and an embargo on reviews before the film’s release.

Well, the reviews are in, and they are not good. And it’s so bad that director Josh Trank went on Twitter with a quickly-deleted mea culpa about how his film would have been much better if he was just left alone (not if it was the first synopsis we saw, it wouldn’t have been). The last nail in the coffin might be the films box office receipts. Whether there will be an attraqctive enough corpse for Marvel to take back is anybody’s guess.

Shaun-the-Sheep-Movie-20152. Shaun the Sheep (Lionsgate, 2,320 Theaters, 85 Minutes, Rated PG for rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 99% Fresh [95 Reviews]):If you are looking for a kid-friendly alternative to that film right above us, one that actually got good…no…great reviews, here’s one for you.

Shaun’s plan for a day off go haywire when The Farmer is conked on the head and left in the Big City with a case of amnesia. It’s up to Shaun to try to find The Farmer and get him back to the farm before he loses him forever. This will not be as easy as it might seem.

This is based on the popular British TV show and is done by Aardman Production, who are known for their quality.

Ricki_and_the_Flash_poster3. Ricki and the Flash (TriStar, 1,603 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated PG – 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 56% Fresh [73 Reviews]): Meryl Streep has portrayed everything from a fairy tale witch to a true-life British Prime Minister, from a Australian mother to a fashion editor, so playing an aging rock star should be no big deal. But she really doesn’t look the part, does she? Or is it just me?

The often Oscar honored Streep joins an Oscar laden cast and crew who have been quiet in recent years, including Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (who hasn’t made a dramatic feature since 2008’s Rachel Getting Married), Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (whose career never lived up to the potential she showed with Juno), and Oscar-winning actor Kevin Kline (who should be a national treasure but whose career has been very low-key of late). So, there is reason to be excited.

Streep plays Ricki, a woman who left her family behind to pursue a musical career. However, she is reunited with her ex-husband (Kline) when troubles arise around their daughter (played by Streep’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer.

the gift poster4. The Gift (STX Entertainment, Wide Release,108 Minutes, Rated R for language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 93% Fresh [57 Reviews]): Yes, it is Friday as I write this and we still don’t have an accurate theater count for this film on BoxOfficeMojo.com. Love it when that happens.

Joel Edgerton doesn’t seem to be at the point of his career where he’d be a natural to make the move into writing and directing films. Conventional wisdom states film actors, as exemplified by Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, should spend more time in the the trenches, learning his craft, before moving behind the camera.

Of course, this is a fallacy. There are plenty of writer/directors who never acted yet create movies, so service time really isn’t the issue. It’s whether or not they can get the job done. And judging from the reviews this film is getting, Edgerton is getting the job done.

The film focuses on a couple (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) whose lives are forever changed after the run into an old high school acquaintance of the husband’s (Edgerton). The man leaves a series of “gifts” for the man, each one revealing a secret that should have remained hidden.

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Josh Trank Apologizes For FANTASTIC FOUR Movie

Posted on 06 August 2015 by Rich Drees

Fantastic-Four

Studios don’t like bad buzz about their films circulating before the films even have a chance to open in theaters. That is often why if they know that they have a stinker, they’ll embargo press reviews until as close to the film’s release as possible. You generally don’t see the bad buzz coming from the film’s director, so you can imagine that Twentieth Century Fox is probably not too happy with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank this evening.

In what could be seen as an admission of the rumored much-troubled production of the comic book adaptation, Trank tweeted out earlier –

https://twitter.com/joshuatrank/status/629467936793559040

The tweet disappeared out of Trank’s feed fairly quickly, but fortunately, some folks got screen shots of it.

FFTrankTweet

Honestly, while I am surprised that Trank is making such an admission on the eve of the Fantastic Four‘s release, I am not surprised that it confirms the numerous rumors that have been swirling around the production. Most recently, it was being rumored that almost 40 of the 90 pages of the film’s script were reshot months after the initial production had wrapped and that the studio only had a final edit looked in at the end of June/beginning of July, a remarkably late date for a release date in the first week of August. Definitely bad signs.

Currently, Fantastic Four is trending at about 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rather dismal score, and one that is lower than both previous Fantastic Four films. Could Trank’s vision have scored better? Perhaps Fox will let him release his director’s cut, but after this evening, I don’t think they will be in too much of a mind to do anything he asks of them for some time to come.

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Bryan Singer Says That A FANTASTIC FOUR/ X-MEN Film Is Still “In Play”

Posted on 23 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

x-men-vs-fantastic-fourYou know what? I’m getting to really dislike Fox.

Ever since their X-Men franchise was revamped and the Fantastic Four reboot was green lighted, rumors spread that the two franchises would meet up in a grand crossover. However, this was something that Fox, through Simon Kinberg, tried to downplay the idea to the point where it seemed highly unlikely to happen.

And then we get this from Bryan Singer as he promoted the X-Men: Days of Future Past-The Rogue Cut

 

http://benfalkyahoomovies.tumblr.com/post/124844030094/bryan-singer-hints-at-x-menfantastic-four

So an X-Men/Fantastic Four team up is in the works, at least at a small level. I’m wondering if the rumor of a shared universe with Marvel Studios also has a bit of a fire to go with its smoke. A lot will depend on how well Fantastic Four does next week.

Via Collider

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What Killed The Fantastic Four And The X-Men?

Posted on 03 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Fantastic_Four_vsMarvel Comics is in the midst of a line-wide crossover called Secret Wars that will press the reboot button on Marvel Universe. Nothing will be the same again, and some of your favorite characters will not make it into the brand new Marvel Comics.

However, the culling of characters has already begun. Over the last year, Marvel Comics has been systematically removing or minimizing the Fantastic Four and X-Men from their comic line and from their merchandising. The reasons why are shrouded in mystery due to Marvel’s radio silence in the matter. But the topic rose to a head this week when the image for the yearly Marvel poster from Trends International was released. The company has been releasing posters featuring a collage of images of most of the Marvel characters for years. Here is the 2007 version:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2007As you can see, the Fantastic Four are center right, Wolverine is center left, and a number of other X-Men are clearly visible, Now, onto 2013:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2014The prime real estate is taken up by the characters that have appeared in The Avengers, but the X-Men and Fantastic Four are still prominently featured. Now, this year’s poster:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2015I’d send you on a “Where’s Waldo” type of quest for the X-Men and Fantastic Four in this poster, but that would be a fool’s errand. Because while the poster features obscure characters such as Devil Dinosaur, White Tiger and the Wrecking Crew, there’s no Fantastic Four and the only X-Man present appears to be Emma Frost, who appears in between Ronan and Venom in the upper left. Of course, that could be another character or just a mistaken inclusion.

marvel 75 yearsThis harkens back to the incident that started this whole controversy. Last year, Marvel published a commemorative comic book for its 75th Anniversary. The cover, seen at left, was profoundly lacking in any characters from the Fantastic Four, the team that jump-started the Marvel Age of comics, or the X-Men, by and far Marvel’s most popular property over the last four decades.

I spoke on that controversy exactly one year ago as I am writing this sentence. I theorized that the quarantine, which was then mostly place on the Fantastic Four characters, might be because of the then pending Supreme Court hearing of the lawsuit brought by the heirs of Jack Kirby. However, more developments have arose that makes this reason unlikely.

First and foremost, Marvel made a settlement with the Kirby Estate, so that sword of Damocles is no longer over their heads. Also, the Fantastic Four titles were cancelled. A mandate was sent out to keep the Fantastic Four characters from being used in any trading card set. Then embargoes were placed on the X-Men characters. Writers were told to not create any new mutant characters for the series. T-shirts based on iconic comic covers would have the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters either removed or replaced with other Marvel heroes. Toy makers were forced to cancel their lines based on the mutant characters. Marvel even went so far as to kill of the popular Wolverine in their books, and it looks like the X-Men books will be cancelled post-Secret Wars, and the X-Men becoming space-faring heroes in whatever series they are in next.

20th_century_fox-logo It has become obvious that what I tried to deny a year ago was really the truth–that Marvel’s mothballing the Fantastic Four and X-Men has something to do with Fox holding the film rights. But what? Some think it’s being done just to spite Fox, or because Marvel is sick and tired of promoting films they have little stock in? Possibly. But throwing away a revenue stream just because it promotes in part a studio seems a bit extreme. And Fox could get more butts in seats with one ad on the side of a New York City bus than all of Marvel’s books and merchandise can give them.

Is it a ploy to try and get the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four back from Fox? Dubious. Fox makes millions on the X-Men franchise and hopes for the same for Fantastic Four. Marvel could kill off every X-Man and every member of the FF and Fox would still not be willing to give up that gravy train.

But I have a theory more outlandish than even that. When Marvel sold the rights for these properties to Fox, it was going through bankruptcy and there was a very good chance that it could have gone out of business. Films were thought to be a quick supply of cash to keep the company afloat, and Marvel was desperate to make a deal. This is why agreement is top loaded in favor of Fox, and why they can keep the rights to the properties as long as they keep films featuring them in production. But what if a desperate Marvel gave away even more than that?

What if Marvel gave all merchandising rights to Fox for the Fantastic Four and the X-Men? What if the same 5/95 percent split in favor of Fox wasn’t just for film merchandise and the films themselves but for any comics and merchandise featuring the comic versions of the characters too?

It seems crazy, I know, but like I said Marvel of the late 90s, early 00s was a desperate Marvel. Marvel’s Tom Breevort has stated in regards to the scorched earth policy about merchandising the properties that Marvel earns a smaller percentage of the revenues for the X-Men and FF characters than the rest of their characters and had mentioned that if someone did not have merchandising rights to the characters, they couldn’t sell merchandise featuring them.

This was taken to mean that Marvel had control over who they gave rights to. But if Marvel no longer had complete control over the rights to the X-Men and FF, the amount of time and effort they take in removing the character from their merchandise would make much more sense.

However, this is just a theory. Unless someone does a cyberhack of Fox’s e-mail, we’ll probably never know the truth. But it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to buy a Wolverine T-shirt anytime soon.

 

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Josh Trank – Fired Or Quit STAR WARS: ANTHOLOGY Film

Posted on 03 May 2015 by Rich Drees

JoshTrank

The big news that finished out this past week was that Josh Trank was no longer to be the director of the second Star Wars spinoff film scheduled for 2018. In hindsight, the announcement was not much of a surprise as Trank was not in attendance for the Star Wars Anthology panel at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim last month, with the stated reason later given being that the director was sick. Coincidentally (?) enough, the newest trailer for his upcoming film, Fox’s Fantastic Four, was released at the same time that the panel was going on.

Star Wars: Anthology is the umbrella title recently revealed for Disney/Lucasfilms’ planned Star Wars spinoff films that will be released in the years between the main saga’s installments.

In a statement posted at StarWars.com, Trank said –

After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the ‘Star Wars’ universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow ‘Star Wars’ fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, [Lucasfilm VP of Development] Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.

While Trank is explaining away is leaving his Star Wars film due to an ambiguous “personal issues,” the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Trank’s handling, or rather mis-handling, of the Fantastic Four production may have led the studio to show the Trank the door more so than him heading towards of his own volition.

[P]roducers on Fantastic Four, set for release July 30 (sic), are said to have faced great challenges pulling the film together given behavior described by one insider as “erratic” and at times “very isolated.” Trank did not offer clear direction, this person adds, saying, “If you’ve got someone who can’t answer questions or who isn’t sure or is in hiding, that’s not good.”

A Fox spokesman says the studio is “very happy with the movie and we can’t wait for audiences to see it” but acknowledges, “There were definitely some bumps in the road.”

While an unnamed studio source tells the Reporter that the studio is impressed with Trank’s talent – “No question there’s talent there. You can’t do [Trank’s 2012 directorial debut] Chronicle by accident.” – they feel that he may not have been ready to be thrust from the world of indie film into the one of big-budget tentpole pictures, likening the director to “one of these kids who comes to the NBA with all the talent and none of the character-based skills to handle it. There’s equipment he doesn’t yet have.”

The checklist of behavior issues that the studio has to contend with from Trank include such things as approximately $100,000 worth of damage done to a home that the studio had rented for the director while the production was in New Orleans. Trank was also reportedly “indecisive and uncommunicative” on set, necessitating producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker to take a more active, on set hand in the shooting.

The film has already gone through a number of reshoots and pickups even though its release is just a few weeks away. The most recent session of reshoots were three days done at the end of last month that had to be scheduled around the availability of stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan who were all deep into work on other projects. The most reshoots also mean that Kinberg and Parker had to leave the set of X-Men: Apocalypse in Canada, which they are also producing.

Reportedly, it is Kinberg, who was set to work with Trank on the Star Wars: Anthology film as both a writer and producer, who communicated his displeasure with the director to Kennedy, which set in motion the decision for Trank to leave the film. Disney, of course, declined to comment to the Reporter.

If it is true that Trank was bounced from the gig for his Fantastic Four behavior, it makes sense from Disney’s point of view. The studio has much invested in the Star Wars franchise, with it and the films from Marvel Studios serving as a major part of their annual slate. These films need to be in theaters when they are planning on them being there in order to meet certain revenue expectations for each quarter. There is no room for them to miss their release dates. Variety, however, is reporting from unnamed sources that the Star Wars standalone film will be pushed back to 2019, but there has been no confirmation of that.

Fantastic Four has bounced around on Fox’s schedule with two other announced release dates for this year before the studio finally settled on August 7. It should also be noted that Fox has already announced a summer 2017 release date for a Fantastic Four sequel, though no creative personnel, including Trank, have been announced as attached to the project. It is unclear if Trank’s possible non-involvement is a result of a studio decision or one made by the director due to anticipated time needed for his Star Wars: Anthology film.

After years of seemingly uninspiring news about Fantastic Four, the most recent trailer did instill some hope in for me the project. Unfortunately, this latest word of additional reshoots so close to the film’s release goes a way to dashing them again.

So far, there has been no announced replacement for Trank on the project, but I wouldn’t be surprised if stories about a shortlist of directors under consideration for the job start to appear very soon.

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New FANTASTIC FOUR Trailer Hints At A Tolerable Movie

Posted on 19 April 2015 by Rich Drees

FantasticFourDoom

Know what’s a good way to get your trailer overlooked? Release it the same week that the trailers for two other, much more anticipated films release trailers of their own. So kudos on that, Twentieth Century Fox, for releasing a new look at director Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four film the same weekend when everyone is talking about Star Wars: The Force Awaken and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

And in a way, it is kind of a pity, because for me at least this is the first indication that the film will not be a complete trainwreck. Sure, it looks as if the tone is too dark and gritty compared to the comic book series source material, but there are brief hints that some chemistry and interplay between the four heroes – Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) – might actually exist. We also get our first official look at Toby Kebbell‘s Victor Domashev a.k.a. Doctor Doom. But even on a weekend where we wouldn’t have had two other more anticipated trailers that this would indeed pale in comparison against, this new look does excite so much as it generates a begrudging feeling that person this film won’t be such the cinematic equivalent of root canal surgery that all reports have been leading us to believe. Probably just a regular tooth scraping and cleaning. Either way though, it is still feels like a trip to the dentist.

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The First FANTASTIC FOUR Teaser Trailer Has Been Released

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Rich Drees

Fantastic-Four

After years of speculation and just a day after we got our first real look at it via a still picture, Twentieth Century Fox has released the first trailer for their upcoming superhero adaptation The Fantastic Four.

At first blush and as expected, this ain’t your dad’s Fantastic Four. It definitely appears as if director Josh Trank and writer Simon Kinberg are pulling much of their inspiration from Marvel Comics “Ultimates” variation on the title from a few years ago.

Well, it doesn’t look 100% terrible, but I am still not quite convinced that it really encapsulates what made the characters popular for over 6 decades. We still have a ways to go until the film’s August 7 release, so I tend to think that Fox’s marketing department still has a job ahead of themselves.

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Our First Look At The FANTASTIC FOUR’s Uniform Is Just As Bad As Expected

Posted on 26 January 2015 by Rich Drees

FantasticFour

Superpowered comics quartet the Fantastic Four have fairly basic but iconic uniforms. Simple blue with the number 4 on their chests. There have been numerous variations of design over the years, but they all could be reduced down to those two simple elements.

Well, not anymore.

This evening Twentieth Century Fox has released to Collider our first look at the costumes that the heroes will be sporting in this coming summer’s reboot of the cinematic franchise adapted from the six-decades old comics series. And it looks nothing like what we’ve seen before, as we can see from the photo below of star Michael B. Jordan chatting with screenwriter Simon Kinberg.

fantastic-four-michael-b-jordan-simon-kinberg

So far, the studio has been very aggressive with keeping this film under wraps, very strange and worrying for fandom given that the film is just months away from its August 7 premier date. It is something that Trank addresses in an interview with Collider –

[W]e really want the audience to have the proper reaction to this material seeing it for the first time. You’ve really got to put your best foot forward. You can’t just leak an image to strike up a conversation. You want people to see something that has thought behind it. And the teaser should do just that. With conversations online, you can’t really control it. In this day and age people have come to expect that artists are going to give everybody information on Twitter about what they’re doing, but not every artist is like that. I’m not really like that. If I was painting a picture I wouldn’t want to take a picture of a single paint stroke. I’d rather show people what it looks like when it’s done.

Trank does not state when that teaser will be coming out, so this one image will probably only fuel the discussion he seems to want to avoid. And once we see that teaser? Will we suddenly be able to buy into his vision for the film or will fandom find itself even further upset over they way things are shaping up for the film? Personally, I am starting to think that Trank has an interesting story that is going to stray far enough away from the core Fantastic Four concept that I may find myself wishing that he just told it as its own unique story away from the Fantastic Four franchise entirely.

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Sony E-Mail Hack Has Spoilers For Fox, Warner’s Superhero Film Slate

Posted on 16 December 2014 by William Gatevackes

x-men-vs-fantastic-fourThe Sony Data Breach is a big story, and the amount of information and the nature of its content is what makes it so big. Sony might try to waive a few lawyers in the faces of news outlets to stop them reporting on the leak, but as long as there are juicy tidbits to be revealed, the stories will be continue to march on. However, the latest info to come to light might encourage other studios to chip in for Sony’s legal team. The latest round of leaks includes behind-the-scenes information pertaining to Warner Brothers and Fox’s movie slate, in addition to Sony’s troubled Spider-Man franchise.

What has been released in the latest round? Let me tell you:

kravens-last-huntJeff Robinov has found a new job, and he has an idea for a Spider-Man reboot: Yes, you read that right. Former Warner Brothers Jeff Robinov has found a new job (he’s founded his own studio called Studio 8) and Sony is contemplating rebooting the franchise for the third time in less than fifteen years.

Comic book film fans will read Robinov’s name an wince. He was the Warners’ executive in charge of fumbling the studio’s attempts to bring DC Comics properties to the big screen. He most famously was a proponent of making all superhero films “grim and gritty” like The Dark Knight and might be part of the reason why Superman turned into a neck breaking vigilante in The Man of Steel.

So it should come as no surprise that The Daily Beast reports that that Robinov’s idea to reboot the Spider-Man franchise is to adapt perhaps the grimmest and grittiest arcs from the comics, “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” a storyline where Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter gains the upper hand over the hero, shoots him, and leaves him for dead, buried alive. While the real Spidey is out of commission, Kraven adopts his identity and tries to carry on in his name in a far more violent fashion. The story ends with a defeated Kraven taking his own life via a shotgun in the mouth.

Cheery, summer blockbuster material it is. Also fitting that Robinov picks an arc where Spider-Man is barely in the work that acts as his big comeback.

The film would feature an older Spidey, and there would not be another origin story. Robinov also has an apple-pie-in-the-sky list of potential directors, including Brad Bird, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Frozen), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Don Hall & Chris Williams (Big Hero 6), Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie), Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki), Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), Edgar Wright, and David Yates.

Sony was doing the hard press to get Spider-Man into Captain America: Civil War: The Daily Beast covers a different e-mail exchange between Michael De Luca, co-president of production for Columbia Pictures, to Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment that reveals a whole passel of scoops. One is that De Luca really thought loaning Spidey to Marvel for a cameo would be a good idea:

I really feel, in my heart of hearts, that the new spiderman [sic] in cap 3 could just appear in his own film, be it sinister six or a kick ass spidey film of his own, after that intro in cap 3 and people would be cool with it.

There have also been leaked e-mails where Marvel appears to be totally into the lend/lease of Spidey. So how can we make this happen?

Fox IS working towards a Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover: In the same e-mail chain, as De Luca encourages Pascal to create an expanded universe with the Spider-Man characters, he states that Simon Kinberg told him that Fox is working to an eventual crossover between the  Fantastic Four and the X-Men. This is the same Kinberg who has been shooting down that possibility for months.

Of course, De Luca doesn’t give us a timeline, but the meeting between the two franchises might come sooner than you think if the FF reboot is dead on arrival.

Jeff Nichols will be directing 2018’s Aquaman : In news that not even a whisper has appeared anywhere up to now, De Luca mentions that Mud director Jeff Nichols will be directing Jason Momoa in 2018’s Aquaman for Warner Brothers. While Nichols is anything but a household name, Mud received very good notices. And, lest we forget, Marvel built its film empire by hiring great directors that normally would fly under the radar.

Spiderham12Marvel is high on Spider-Ham, Sony on Santa Claus Burglar, neither on Tordenkakerlakk aka The Thunder Cockroach: While which studio owns the rights to what character is a fun game for comic book film websites to play, Sony and Marvel have it down to a science. And, apparently, a spreadsheet. Business Insider states that a spreadsheet listing the Spider-Man characters broken down to which ones Sony might want to use one day, ones that Marvel might want to keep, and ones neither seem to have an interest in has been leaked by hackers.

What characters? How about every single character to appear exclusively in a Spider-Man comic book from the very beginning. There is no character too obscure, as the list ranges from The Black Abbott to the Hypno Hustler. The spreadsheet states that Marvel has “frozen” the rights to Spider-Ham, an anthropomorphic version of  its character,which apparently means that Sony can’t use them. Sony however is very interested in a character called the Santa Claus Burglar, a petty thief how dresses as Santa to dupe young kids into letting him rob their houses. The character has appeared in only one issue (as far as I can tell) and was eventually defeated by Spider-Man and the real Santa Claus.

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