Saturday, June 13, 2009

How NOT to do a Superhero Movie: The Fantastic Four (1994)

The Fantastic Four was produced by low-budget specialist Roger Corman in 1994 to secure copyright to the property. Although the director, actors, and other participants were led to believe otherwise, the producers never intended it for release. Based on the long-running Marvel comic book, this version like its more recent cinematic counterpart also featured the origin of the Fantastic Four and their first battle with the evil Doctor Doom. There was also a mysterious Mole Man-like creature that was referred to as The Jeweler.

The cast and crew did the film for low salaries after being told that if it did not get released to theaters, it would be used as the pilot for a potential television series. Among the duped were Alex Hyde-White as Mr. Fantastic, Jay Underwood as the Human Torch, Rebecca Staab as the Invisible Girl and Michael Bailey Smith as Ben Grimm (another actor wore the rubber suit to portray the Thing).

Filming lasted a month and ended in January 1993, after which post-production began. The erstwhile cast gave numerous press interviews and attended comic book conventions in good faith, however in late 1993; the studio announced that the film would not be released. If you are curious, seek it out in the bootleg bins of any comic book convention in North America.


Postino said...

I haven't seen this Fantastic Four movie, but have seen the original Spirit movie with Sam Jones and thought that was mighty crappy. It ended up having one showing on network TV. I haven't seen the Frank Miller Spirit, having been warned off by your review.

Most superhero movies don't work for me for various reasons, but the ones I think really worked are the original 1978 Superman with Chris Reeve, Robert Downey's Iron Man, and the first Spider-Man movie.

Wayne Skiver said...

I saw the Sam Jones Spirit film only about a year ago and I have to say, a bit campy BUT 100 times better than the Frank Miller catastrophe. I rented that recently and WANTED badly to give it a chance, but honestly I didn't make it half way before I shut it off.

This feeble F4 film is pretty bad. Thing and Doom don't look too terrible for a low budget but Reed and Johnny look more like they should be a couple...Not that theres anything wrong with that...(To quote Seinfeld)

Daniel [] said...

I am sooo not curious about this Fantastic Four movie.

On the other hand, unlike El Postino I enjoyed the Spirit movie with Sam Jones. (The Jones film was about as good as it could be, in context. The Miller film was, on the other hand, a willful hijacking.)

Booksteve said...

Alex did some fun low budget films but even with the spray-painted temples, he looks a tad too young to be Reed but don't Jay and Rebecca look more like the comics' version of Johnny and Sue than the ones from the OTHER FF movies?

Unknown said...

I'll be honest with you...the original F4 movie isn't anywhere near as bad as people make it out to be. Personally, I like Dr. Doom in this film better than in the more recent films. I can't stand how the new films don't give him a sinister voice, he's kind of a pansy.