July 16, 2005

Summer of sci-fi

I've caught two summer offerings thus far. The latest was Fantastic Four, the big screen adaptation (finally!) of Marvel's first family. When I saw the trailers on the tube, I admit I found myself doubting the movie from the start. I mean, Julian McMahon playing the world-conquering, mega-maniacal Dr. Doom?? The guy who plays the unscrupulous, womanizing, egotistic Dr. Christian Troy on "Nip/Tuck"? On second thought, yeah -- maybe it'll work!

The movie was about what I expected -- pretty much standard bubble gum fare, but good enough that it should keep Marvel's growing reputation for big-budget offerings alive. The F/X are excellent, certainly, especially Michael Chiklis' make-up as the rocky, lumpy Thing. Hollywood has to take certain liberties, too, as adaptations can't be literal. Dr. Doom, while still being an old acquaintance of Reed Richards, is actually affected by the same cosmic ray storm that gives the quartet its powers. He slowly transforms into a being of "organic metal" (much like the X-Men's Colossus) and develops electricity-zapping powers. (How he came to wear his trademark mask, however, is cheesy.)

A week earlier I caught Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds." This remake remains truer to H.G. Wells' original story than the 1953 movie (which was still excellent in its own right -- way ahead of its time), with the aliens utilizing "tripod" mechanisms to move about, and spraying the "red weed" all over in their attempt to terraform (or should that be "alienform"?) the earth. (I've never read the novel, but I caught Spielberg discussing this on a "Turner Classic Movie Special.") The F/X are boffo, the film's legitimately spooky, and as usual, Spielberg fails to disappoint. (How's that for a double negative?)

Philip's Ratings (out of five):

  • FF: Two and half stars.
  • WOTW: Four stars.

Posted by at July 16, 2005 10:39 AM | TrackBack

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