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"Look at you! The Fantastic Four!"
November 19, 2006 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Roger Corman's Fantastic Four movie had been lambasted by many as the absolute worst in superhero moviedom, at least until Elektra and Catwoman came along. Shelved after production, it's hard for the casually-interested nerd to find without having to deal with bootleg video dealers at cons. Thankfully, somebody put it up on the internet in handy Flash video: Part One | Part Two.
posted by beaucoupkevin (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or until the recent Fantastic Four movie came along...
posted by papakwanz at 2:33 PM on November 19, 2006


I bought a bootleg in '94. It wasn't that bad. At least Doom didn't have a slimy East Coast American accent as he did in the big-budget pic last year.

I thought that The Thing looked better in the Corman version, too. And they cast Sue Storm well in Corman's version -- although she was just as lousy an actor as Alba.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure it was any worse than last year's F4 movie.

(And for the worst in superhero movies, Captain America is it.)
posted by solid-one-love at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2006


Yes, yes, bring forth the DailyMotionFilter! This is great! I mean it!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:36 PM on November 19, 2006


Yeah, Corman's Thing did look better than Chiklis'.

Hey, someone had to make that joke eventually, and it's true, dammit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:38 PM on November 19, 2006


DailyMotion is the one that's been brazenly hosting tons of TV episodes for months. They've obviously realised that the key to getting acquired is to outdo Youtube in the copyright-violation stakes.
posted by reklaw at 2:45 PM on November 19, 2006


That and being French.
posted by grouse at 2:50 PM on November 19, 2006


Dailymotion is headquartered in France, where such hosting may or may not be a copyright violation.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:51 PM on November 19, 2006


Statements with "may or may not" in them may or may not be totally useless.
posted by grouse at 3:11 PM on November 19, 2006


DailyMotionFilter

We get enough of that on AxMe thank you very much.
posted by public at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh dear god, SOL, I REALLY agree with you about the Captain America movie.

My friend and I happened to catch that on some tv station in the middle of the night once when we were in middle school...and were horrified at how spectacularly bad it was. The network even cut it off before the end to put on infomercials.

*shudder* Do I remember correctly? Was Red Skull italian in that? Anyway, even though my memory is hazy part of my brain always pushes it forward when any discussion of "the worst movie ever" comes up.
posted by Stunt at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2006


Stunt - you are not mistaken. The Skull was indeed Italian, and since the authentic make-up was so costly, he spent most of the movie in the dummied scars of some reconstructive surgery he underwent during the years Cap spent under the ice. That film was truly a horror. About all it had going for it was the fact that Cap's shield seemed to be circular. Huzzah, filmmakers!

I've heard another Cap movie is in production. Nowadays, it at least stands a chance of Not Sucking. However, they're still going for that "man out of time" angle that has defined the comics since the sixties. I'd be much more interested in a hardcore WWII story with Cap going up against the Red Skull in the European Theater. Give him a hero's "death" at the film's end and save that man out of time business for the sequels!

beaucoupkevin - Thanks for this post. As I understand it, Corman's FF movie was never intended for release - bizzare copyright entanglements compelled Marvel to at least shoot something, lest the rights fall into some schlock firm's hands. Gotta feel bad for these actors who endured all this make-up and shooting for a film no one was meant to see.

Considering what a vile piece of garbage the "official" movie turned out to be, you gotta wonder why they even bothered.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:35 PM on November 19, 2006


Oh yeah, this is a defiantly bad movie. I watched it with a buddy a few months ago, and the foley when Mr. Fantastic stretches made us both physically cringe every time we heard it. Oh, the animated human torch outflying a laser beam was pretty funny. Thanks for the links, beaucoupkevin.
posted by cog_nate at 3:59 PM on November 19, 2006


Had a copy stashed away in the mighty hidden film vaults at Stately Samizdata Manor (tm) for a while. Always good for a serious laugh. And, if ANYONE can come up with a live action Mr. Fantastic that looks anything near convincing, I'll buy them a beer and even (maybe) give them a crack at my tall, blonde girlfriend...
posted by Samizdata at 4:14 PM on November 19, 2006


I watched the other version of FF (the one with Jessica Alba in it) when my little niece, er, "Peaches Swan" was staying with me for a few days last December. Peaches declared that it was her favourite movie (she's only nine, cut her some slack). I thought it drek, but I did manage to sit through it with the help of some knitting. I even laughed a couple of times.
posted by orange swan at 4:43 PM on November 19, 2006


(was I the only person who actually enjoyed the 2005 version of FF?)
posted by davidmsc at 4:52 PM on November 19, 2006


The linked site doesn't include the story behind the movie, the real reason it was made:
In an interview with filmmaker Kevin Smith, Fantastic Four creator Stan Lee said that, unbeknown to the cast and crew, this movie was never intended to be released, and was made only because the studio who owned the rights to make a Fantastic Four movie would have lost the rights if they did not begin production by a certain date.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2006


I have trouble being too hard on Roger Corman movies, but that's really only because his work is responsible for some of my favorite MST3k episodes.
posted by sparkletone at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2006


no offense, Steven, but that sounds like bullshit to me. Is there another source? The IMDB board aren't what you'd call "remotely reliable."
posted by ®@ at 5:14 PM on November 19, 2006


From the first link:
Consider this a prelude to the upcoming X-Men, directed by Bryan "The Usual Suspects" Singer. Besides both being comic book adaptations, the biggest similarity between the two is the fact that they both suck. Sure, I have yet to actually see X-Men, but undoubtedly, it will suck eggs. When was the last time you saw a good superhero movie?
Man. It's so easy to forget that not too long ago it was basically impossible to name a great superhero movie.
posted by sparkletone at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2006


I'm skeptical about the "had to start filming" story--did they need to edit it? Score it? Do all the post-production stuff on it? If they just wanted to meet a contractual obligation, why do more than was necessary?

davidmsc, I watched the 2005 Fantastic Four the other day and I didn't think it was as bad as I'd always heard. I didn't think it was good, but "predictable and uninspired" hardly makes it worse than many other films that people aren't so hard on.
posted by not that girl at 6:07 PM on November 19, 2006


I'm skeptical about the "had to start filming" story

Steven den Beste's trivia link doesn't give much of the story. Is a Wired article from 1994 a good enough source for you? Apparently, the movie *was* in fact intended to be released, but was then shelved to make way for a flashier version:

Budgeted at a paltry US$2 million, the special effects-laden film was set to premiere this year. Charity events tied to openings were scheduled. Trailers appeared in movie theaters. And along with director Oley Sassone, the actors embarked on a promotional tour for the film.

But The Fantastic Four disintegrated before film critics could whip out their notebooks. German producer Bernd Eichinger and his Neue Constantin Films, which purchased the movie rights from Marvel, sublicensed the rights to producer and B-movie king Corman in 1992. Shortly after the film was completed, Eichinger paid Corman $1 million to repossess the rights.

The $2 million version was shelved so that 20th Century Fox and Home Alone director Chris Columbus could make a flashier $50 million-plus version with celebrity actors.

posted by mediareport at 6:40 PM on November 19, 2006


I remember reading about this in Wizard when I was little. Always wanted to see it...
posted by bflora at 6:46 PM on November 19, 2006


Yeah, I can understand how alot of folks didn't equate the '05 FF to, say, a Spiderman or X-Men flick, but really - it did precisely what it was meant to do: introduce us to the characters, give some "origins," and demonstrate their powers. And IMO, the acting was just fine, the f/x were believable, and the overall effect was good. Not great - but good. And certainly enough to get me into the theatre for the next installment.
posted by davidmsc at 7:00 PM on November 19, 2006


X-3 wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And the recent Fantastic Four wasn't nearly as sucktacular as I thought it would be.

That's kind of my standard for super-hero flicks.
posted by bardic at 7:04 PM on November 19, 2006


Man. It's so easy to forget that not too long ago it was basically impossible to name a great superhero movie.

So uh, it's easier to name a great superhero movie now? I can't think of a recent one. Although that guy called the Batman series mediocre. I don't think that's a fair assessment of the first one.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:13 PM on November 19, 2006


Another movie that I saw part of on TV one night, did a "WTF?" double-take, and FINALLY found it on the intarwebs a couple of months ago:

drwxr-xr-x 5 mrbill admin 170 Oct 14 01:44 Nick.Fury.Agent.of.Shield.Xvid-SER/

Yes. The Hoff as Nick Fury.
posted by mrbill at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2006


So uh, it's easier to name a great superhero movie now? I can't think of a recent one.

By the relative standards of superhero movies, the second X-Men film (and maybe the first one, I've only seen it once and that was years ago), the two Spider-man movies, and Batman Begins are all good enough to at least warrant the label "great superhero movie."

Some of it depends on what your definition of "recent" is when it comes to movies.
posted by sparkletone at 7:55 PM on November 19, 2006


I forgot about Spider-Man. I'd consider that "great". I think the two 2 X-Men movies were good but it's been a while since I've seen them. I thought Batman Begins was dreadful. I'll give you Spider-Man though.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:01 PM on November 19, 2006


I was surprised how much I enjoyed the 2005 FF film. My partner liked it even more, which is surprising. I'm not much of a film critic, I judge them based mainly on how entertained I was. Some films, based on known fictional characters, shatter my own cherished notions of the personalities in an unpleasant way. Others not. Spiderman is a great example of one done right.
posted by Goofyy at 8:08 PM on November 19, 2006


I forgot about Spider-Man. I'd consider that "great". I think the two 2 X-Men movies were good but it's been a while since I've seen them. I thought Batman Begins was dreadful. I'll give you Spider-Man though.

It's a taste thing. I don't really want to go down the Your Favorite Superhero Movie Sucks route.

If nothing else, there's more superhero movies being made these days, so therefore, there's a better chance of a great one slipping through the meat grinder that is Hollywood.
posted by sparkletone at 8:17 PM on November 19, 2006


So uh, it's easier to name a great superhero movie now? I can't think of a recent one.

The Incredibles.
posted by SPrintF at 8:25 PM on November 19, 2006


When it comes to list of the Best Stretchy Superheroes Married To A Woman Named Sue, your Reed Richards, the so-called Mr. Fantastic will always come in a distant second.

#1 is - and will alway be - the World's Greatest Detective, Ralph Dibny
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:20 PM on November 19, 2006


I'm still waiting for the Dangermouse movie.
posted by quarsan at 9:28 PM on November 19, 2006


quarsan: now that would be something I'd queue to see. But only if they show the Custard Mite of Glut.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:19 PM on November 19, 2006


"(was I the only person who actually enjoyed the 2005 version of FF?)"
posted by davidmsc at 10:52 AM AEST on November 20

Yes.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:05 AM on November 20, 2006


Jesus, that was awful. Even though I fast forwarded through much of it, precious minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back were wasted on Roger Corman's Fantastic Four.

Curse you, beaucoupkevin! Curse youuuuu!!!
posted by moonbiter at 1:31 AM on November 20, 2006


I liked Elektra. It was simple and striking - although I'll never work out why Elektra had to do her most important fights dressed in scarlet satin department-store underwear.
posted by Summer at 2:20 AM on November 20, 2006


The Incredibles.

Christ. I can't believe I forgot that one. That's, like, the most obvious example of them all.

And I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually looking forward to skimming the Corman FF when I get the time.

I blame Joel, Mike and the Bots.
posted by sparkletone at 2:31 AM on November 20, 2006


Ah, FF along with the Star Wars Christmas special were the bootlegs that we would watch to test the gag reflex and torture threshold of our nerd herd in the 90's.


I can still recall Doom's dialog "MMbhhh mm MBbrnnn MMMmmm Lllbbbmmmmm DOOM!!!"*



*I gues they forgot to mic the mask or do any voiceover work.
posted by Megafly at 11:08 AM on November 20, 2006


SCDB posted: "In an interview with filmmaker Kevin Smith, Fantastic Four creator Stan Lee said that, unbeknown to the cast and crew, this movie was never intended to be released, and was made only because the studio who owned the rights to make a Fantastic Four movie would have lost the rights if they did not begin production by a certain date."

­­®@ replied: "no offense, Steven, but that sounds like bullshit to me. Is there another source? The IMDB board aren't what you'd call "remotely reliable.""

It's true. I heard it straight from the actors themselves, who were guests at our cartoonist's group last year right around when the new movie was released. They thought they were making a legitimate movie, nobody told them it wouldn't actually see daylight. Even Corman may not have known, but nobody's sure about that one except Corman.

I was entertained by the 2005 movie, the Johnny Storm guy totally stole it, but it was definitely crap. I just knew that going in and turned off my "film critic" filter. I don't think anyone can claim it's a good movie.

The Incredibles is the best superhero movie ever made, period, as well as being the best Fantastic Four movie that's ever been made or ever will be made. It's actually on my Top 10 Best Movies Ever list, because I haven't found anything wrong with it yet. It's brilliant on every facet of filmmaking.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2006


this movie was never intended to be released

Then why'd they devote FIVE pages to it in Marvel Age Magazine, smart guy?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:05 PM on November 20, 2006


Hey, that's the Six Feet Under house!
posted by serazin at 12:24 PM on November 20, 2006


The Incredibles is the best superhero movie ever made, period, as well as being the best Fantastic Four movie that's ever been made or ever will be made. It's actually on my Top 10 Best Movies Ever list, because I haven't found anything wrong with it yet. It's brilliant on every facet of filmmaking.

One fault with it: that is a hell of a Randian subtext they stuck in the middle of a fairly entertaining movie.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2006


They thought they were making a legitimate movie, nobody told them it wouldn't actually see daylight. Even Corman may not have known, but nobody's sure about that one except Corman.

I dunno, zoogleplex, they did go pretty far along the process for a movie that was *never* intended for release; that Wired article I linked above mentions trailers in theaters, the actors on promotional tours, etc. It's certainly possible that was just leverage to get Fox to jump, but that would mean the film's pulled release really did come about from a deal at the last minute, wouldn't it?
posted by mediareport at 7:42 PM on November 20, 2006


One fault with [the Incredibles]: that is a hell of a Randian subtext they stuck in the middle of a fairly entertaining movie.

I prefer to see that stuff as the insane/misguided ramblings of a supervillian/7-year-old. It's not the movie that's saying it would be horrid if everyone had super powers, that's Syndrome's warped perspective. The Incredibles aren't fighting him to keep from making everyone Super, they're fighting him because his stupid robot is killing people.

And Helen Paar is the greatest action heroine evar. That cockpit scene, with its mixture of professional competence, escalating but controlled panic, and parent-child dynamics might be my favorite scene in an action movie. I've got a total crush on her, but I know I could never fill Mr. Incredible's tiny little shoes.

I'm with zoogleplex. I think it's the perfect action movie.
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2006


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