Saturday, February 1, 2014

How To Not Eff Up The F.F.

Dear Fox Studios,

I see that you're revving up the engines on a re-boot of the Fantastic Four franchise.  I hear you have big plans for interweaving Marvel's first family with your X-Men franchise, kinda like your own, much smaller, version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I see you have a director and that you're circling around actors for Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm.  Some would say that it's too late to change direction, that your course is laid in.  I believe, however, that it's not too late to fix things and make them the way they should be until the film is theaters.  I also believe you want a movie that's financially viable.  And the path you're currently headed down is not going to lead to much profit.

Why should you listen to me?  Well, Bub, I'm a long-time Fan 4 fan, and I'd like to think I understand what makes them cool.  At least that I understand better than a bunch of clueless studio suits who'd be better suited to flipping burgers than making good movies.  Okay, that was a little low, but if you want to make a movie that makes money and that people won't bitch about after seeing, here's a couple things I think you have to do.

  1. Hire a reputable director.  I know you're set with Josh Trank.  What has he done?  Other than Chronicle, he's never directed an feature-length movie.  And Chronicle, one of those cheesy found footage flicks, wasn't all that great.  So, what makes you think he can pull something of the scale of the Fantastic Four off?  What's so wrong with getting a director that has a bit more experience?  Look what Jon Favreau did for Iron Man, or what Christopher Nolan did for Batman.  Those guys had enough experience directing to be able to handle whatever was thrown at them while creating emotionally satisfying stories.  Same goes for Sam Raimi (at least on the first two Spider-Man films), Joe Johnston, and Zak Snyder.  Trank may wind up being a fabulous director, but he hasn't done enough in his career to prove that he's anything more than a hack.  And the Fantastic Four deserve better than a hack in the director's chair.
  2. Mind the tone.  There is a definite trend in comic book movies recently towards making things dark and serious.  It's worked okay for The Dark Knight movies, Man of Steel, and some of the X-Men movies.  But that kind of tone will kill the Fan 4.  Marvel's First Family should be a little lighter, a little more funny.  It's basically a family sitcom where the family members have to occasionally stop frakking with each other and go save the world.  You can totally pull this off in a movie.  Look at The Avengers, a movie that had real stakes and real darkness, but was also funny as hell in some places.  If you have The Thing grab a guy by the lapels and grunt "I'm The Thing", I swear I'll burn your studio to the ground.  Or maybe just picket outside it.
  3. Don't go so young.  One of the things about comic books is that they really do crossover age demographics.  Some fans are geriatric and some of them are barely outta diapers.  But they all love them some Batman or Wolverine or whoever.  So why make a movie that only targets pre-teens.  Granted I know the biggest part of the movie going public is teenagers, but if you make a good movie, everybody will turn out for it.  And older audiences have a harder time relating to teenagers.  Not to mention the fact that it will be harder to buy a teenage kid as Reed Richards.  The dude is like the world's smartest man, a designation that I would think it would take a little while to attain.  If you want to go with folks in their late 20's or early 30's, that's fine.  But having a teen-aged F. F. is just gonna seem stupid, no matter how young they are in the comics.
  4. Get the right Von Doom.  Of all the things the original movies got wrong, this was the biggest screw-up.  Victor Von Doom is not just some handsome rich dude who gets pissed off cuz Reed steals his girl.  And that seemed to be the way first set of films chose to play things.  Doom should be smart, handsome, a bit regal (he does run his own nation after all), and most of all, menacing.  I'd like to see Erik Bana play Doom.  But somebody like that needs to hold down this role.  Cuz if the villain is stupid the whole movie will go down in flames.  While we're at it...
  5. Get the right Sue Storm.  I love me some Jessica Alba.  She's gorgeous, and in the right part, she's not a bad actress (see Sin City).  But she was wrong for Sue Storm.  The biggest reason is because she just couldn't pull off being super intelligent.  In the comics, Sue Storm is smart, nearly as smart as Reed Richards.  So to see Alba struggle with being all science-y was kind of painful.  Alba was good at the motherly, nurturing stuff, but Sue has to be nurturing and intelligent.  There are actresses out there that can pull this off.  Find one of 'em for Sue.
I could go on, but you get the idea.  In the end, you'll make the movie you make and I'll either love it or wonder why you couldn't just sell the rights back to Marvel Studios.  But please think a little harder about what you're doing and don't just make a Fantastic Four flick just to keep the rights.  Make the right movie, or it'll tank and you'll wish you'd have let the rights go back to Marvel.

(Oh, and Clifton, I'm waiting for you to show up and tell me how wrong I am...)

1 comment:

  1. I only really disagree with the director but I love Chronicle and I think that is definitely what helped him get the spot (not to mention that Marvel has proven how cheap and unknown can be a benefit).
    I'm for a better Doom and Sue, I think a lighter story would be better for the First Family and even though younger doesn't bother me, I'm good with a slightly older group.
    But you're totally wrong.