Classic Film Review: The Fantastic Four (1994)

Marvel vs. DC:

The Fantastic Four, 1994

Directed by: Oley Sassone

Starring: Alex Hyde-White, Jay Underwood, Rebecca Staab, Michael Bailey Smith, Kat Green, Joseph Cult


Originally created to be a major theatrical release, The Fantastic Four was soon bought and shelved (amid controversy over the real reason it was created), and having watched the film, it’s not a shock to see why it didn’t make theatres. The Fantastic Four is an origins story of Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic (Alex Hyde-White), Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Jay Underwood), Sue Storm/Invisible Woman and Ben Grimm (Michael Bailey Smith)/Thing (Carl Ciarfalio) as their experiment is tampered with and goes wrong and they each become charged with superpowers. The experiment went wrong because the precious jewel was stolen by The Jeweler (Ian Trigger), who is then hunted down by Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom (Joseph Cult) who then wants all the superpowers that The Fantastic Four each have.

It’s hard to judge the standard of this film, as it’s unclear on how much has been edited or how close this version would have resembled that which was released, but, that being said, what we have here is terrible. The editing is shocking (with each and every fight scene worse than the previous one somehow!) and the sound throughout is awful. The music playing in the background is so over-the-top with regards to what’s going on, and it even distracts from the film quite often. Add to that the fact that the ADR for Dr. Doom’s voice (in which we can barely understand anything he’s saying and at one point seems to randomly say ‘poo’ when pointing at someone) and it’s awful, awful, awful on the ears and eyes.

But the most annoying thing to me was how they mastered their powers so quickly. Upon waking up Human Torch sneezes and fires at a plant but when he is questioned later on he coincidentally says ‘flame on’ and sets his fire off, but we don’t find out why that’s happened and he automatically knows to say ‘flame off’ to turn it off. Invisible Woman wakes up unaware she’s invisible but when they gang point out she’s got no legs she just walks and can be seen again, and later in the questioning she can miraculously control it. Mister Fantastic randomly reached out to grab Invisible Woman as she was about to fall, rather than being a normal person and walking a step forward to reach for her, then can control his powers instantly. And Thing turns human again at the thought of love and back into Thing when he’s angry. He never changes back again, so what made him change that time? And later in the final battle scene Human Torch flies and Invisible Woman makes a shield, powers that haven’t been introduced or explained or taught. The editing and presentation I can forgive for it maybe not being fully finished or low-budget, but things such as that are unforgiveable because that would have been in the film upon a release and a bad script with a poor and boringly paced plot cannot be amazingly altered by editing.

Understandable and thankful that this wasn’t released, as early Marvel films were taking a bit of a beating at the ratings and this wouldn’t have helped. A very poor beginning for a group of characters who have never quite made it on the big screen.


Plot: *             Acting: *         Writing: *       Presentation: *

Overall Rating: *

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