Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fantastic Four, Where Art Thou? (VOR #28)

2015 is jam-packed with big name films, and getting any one to stand out is important. Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genysis, Star Wars - we've heard lots of key plot details, set photos and casting info to get the hype building ahead of time. 

However, there is one movie that has completely eluded the spotlight - Josh Trank's The Fantastic Four, from 20th Century Fox. Only 10 months away from hitting cinemas, we know next to nothing about the movie, with no trailers, no convention appearances or even set photos. Very myseterious indeed.

So, I ask you this - what's up with that?! Are Fox trying to cover-up another Fantastic Four dud, or playing it safe?

The cast of Fantastic Four, plus the disembodied head
of Kate Mara on set in Louisiana
Firstly, let's run-down what do we know about 2015's The Fantastic Four. Well, we know that Josh Trank, who directed Chronicle, is at the helm. We know which actors are donning the famous blue lycra suits - Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) plays Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic, Kate Mara (House of Cards) plays Susan Storm/Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) plays Johnny Storm/Human Torch and Jaime Bell (Snowpiercer) plays Ben Grimm/The Thing.

We also know that Toby Kebbell (best known for mo-capping Koba in the new Planet of the Apes series) plays big-bad Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom.

Other than that, we know pretty much nothing. Trank, and the cast, have been very tight-lipped on the whole thing, with nothing more than the above Twitpic emerging from the Louisiana set. There was no mention of Fantastic Four at Comic-Con this year - Marvel was there in force plugging Age of Ultron, as were Affleck, Cavill and Gadot for BvS:DoJ. But none of the cast or crew from Fantastic Four were there to tease the movie. There were no trailers, teasers, preview pictures, or costume unveilings. No source text, or synopsis. No on-set Tweets that tease the characters, the setting, tone or story. Literally nothing.

So, my question is, what gives? How come Fantastic Four has been holding out on us for so long? It's not like they're still shooting the film - that wrapped up ages ago. Right now, the film is in the post-production stage, knee deep in effects work. But that shouldn't stop it from generating hype - Guardians of the Galaxy had only started shooting a mere fortnight before it took to the stage at Comic Con in 2013.

The movie's co-writer, Simon Kinberg, has been in the news recently stating that the reason they haven't previewed anything from the film is because they want to certain of the tone, and how they're going to sell it to audiences. He stated that;

"We’re putting it together now, and one of the important things, because this Fantastic Four is a reboot, and is such a different tonality and vibe from those other films, we want to make sure that the first thing we put out really expresses the voice of the movie, and isn’t compromised by not having visual effects ready, or anything like that.
"I don’t actually know when it’s coming out, but I’ve seen all the footage from the movie. I was there for pretty much the whole shoot. It is a very different film from the others, and one that I think is very different from other superhero movies. It’s a very emotional, character-driven, more grounded film than I think people are anticipating"
via Slash Film

So, what can we take from this? Well, to me that reads as "We don't quite know what movie we have here - it's either complete garbage, or so tonally removed from other superhero films that we don't know what to do with it". It doesn't sound promising, does it? To me, Kinberg sounds like he's stringing together some flashy buzzwords to swat away the press for a few more weeks/months so that they can continue running round like headless chickens.

Yikes - it's been a whole
decade since this shite came out.
Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. Let's dial back on the cynicism. I mean, 20th Century Fox obviously have some faith in the project, or they wouldn't have already pencilled in a sequel for July 2017. Maybe what Kinberg means is, "We're not going to rush into showing anything until we know for certain what we want to show". If that's the case, I think that's a brilliant idea. First impressions count for a lot, and The Fantastic Four has to win over a lot of the audience who can still remember the god-awful 2005 and 2007 movies.

This dilemma has peaked my interest because it's so at odds with what we're used to. On the one hand, I'd like a little taster of the movie, a sneak peek, even if it is just a super close-up shot of the lycra suits or Dr Doom's glove. Something is better than nothing, right?

But on the other hand, I quite like the mystery surrounding it. That we know so little about the project has got me interested, and (obviously) eager to blog about it. So, in a way, the lack of material is getting people talking. There is still a buzz around the movie, with the studio generating something from nothing. Who'd have thought that would work, huh?

The counterpoint to this is Zach Snyder's Batman v Superman - the movie doesn't even come out for another 18 months and we've already seen Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot in costume, as well as the new Batmobile and on-set pictures. Every casting announcement and morsel of speculation has been picked apart, reassembled and picked apart again by fans hungry for information - to the point where I'm losing interest in the movie. A week doesn't go by where another hint, rumour or teaser hits the Web, and I tend to skip over them now. Jena Malone as Robin? Hmm, wasn't it someone else last week, and the week before that?

To wrap up, I want to hand it over to you - what do you think of The Fantastic Four? Are Fox struggling to find the right tone, or keeping their cards close? Keen to see some teasers, or eager to be surprised? Most importantly, is the movie set to be a slam-dunk, or plane crash? Let me know what you think below!


  1. I wouldn't put too much stock in the fact we haven't seen much about this movie yet. A few years back Fox was pretty similarly secretive about X-Men: First Class, with nothing really to show of it until just a few mere months before release. While on the contrary, it's not surprising that we've seen so much of BvS already, as Snyder has always been notorious for purposefully letting things leak, before anyone else has a chance to beat him to it. So really, I think the history of those involved says more about what we are and aren't seeing at this point rather than quality. That said, am I looking forward to this one? At this point, not exactly, heh...

    1. Fair enough! :) I think you make a good point about First Class, they kept that movie underwraps for a while also. I just feel like, for a complete reboot, they need to be making a bigger deal about FF. A whole new cast, director, tone, story - and they've given away literally nothing? Makes me wonder if they're not sure what angle they're aiming for with this movie.

      But, I love to be surprised. So, let's hope the movie rocks and I come out looking very red-faced :)



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