Fantastic Four

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Vampire Owl :: I will miss Chris Evans and Jessica Alba while watching this new version.

Vampire Bat :: Chris Evans is Captain America. You won’t miss him. If he returns as the Human Torch, you will miss the Captain a lot more and might even make the decision to skip Marvel forever.

Vampire Owl :: I will just miss Jessica Alba then.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is fair, because I miss her too.

[Gets the tickets and cheese popcorn].

✠ This review was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/986-fantastic-four-movie-review.html

Having the history of an unreleased film in 1994 and adding another reboot and a sequel in 2005 and 2007 which had not much critical appreciation, Fantastic Four doesn’t really have history going in its favour. At least, the two movies could come up strong at the box-office. But one has to feel very strange about this new movie which currently has neither the support of the critics or the audience. With the movie clearly underperforming at the United States box-office, it is yet to be seen how it performs in some other territories, as it released on August 21st, the Friday in India.

Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) have been best friends from childhood, and have worked on building a teleporter for a very long time. Reed has been the brain of this idea which was consistently rejected by their science teachers, until Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) finds the ability in him, as he was already working on this same idea. His adopted daughter Susan Storm (Kate Mara) and his own son Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), along with Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell) work with Reed on developing a giant teleporter called the Quantum Gate which would connect the human world to another dimension.

They are successful in creating the path to this dimension, but when the head of the facility Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) decides to send a group of astronauts from NASA to explore the new world, the scientists decide to become the first people to reach the new world, just like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the Moon. But as they reach this new dimension, the place is full of strange materials and Victor is absorbed into its source of energy. The rest escape, but four of them undergo big changes. They wake up in government custody, and Reed runs away while others are trained to control their powers. But the connection with the other world won’t cease to exist.

This 2015 version is not as bad as most of the reviews suggest, but it is not that good either. People will surely find the earlier version a lot better than this one. It had many advantages over this one, and the most significant one being the actors. The cast which involved Jessica Alba and Chris Evans was a joy to watch, but the same is not the case here. Except for Jamie Bell as The Thing, nobody really makes a big impact in this version. Kate Mara looks very good in that suit, and has her moments. Michael B. Jordan is no Chris Evans, and Miles Teller is not really there either. Toby Kebbell makes an impact much later, only with the mask on him.

The movie also takes a lot of time to get to the interesting part. The first half is more like a stretch which moves slowly towards the possible destination. It struggles to get to the point right through the beginning to the middle. Even after that, the story is not completely there. The beginning of the second half is that point at which the movie should have reached within half an hour. It would have been okay if the beginning was rather interesting, but it couldn’t manage to be so. This goes different and still it is predictable. The action only happens when the movie is close to the finish, and by the time the origins are established, it has ended.

The movie chooses inter-dimensional travel, which is a bold move and a welcome change, even though it is not that well implemented. The special effects are nice, even though there are limitations. There are not much of the superpowers used to display these effects. Still, the power to entertain is there, and the villain does make a better impact in this avatar which is superior to the 2005 version. The villain looks like a true challenge to the four right from the moment his other side is awakened. This version is also darker, which is a positive change. With the consistent struggles and only having the interesting moments here and there, may be this origins story can bring a better sequel.

This Fantastic Four reboot will have a tough time making an impact considering the fine quality which has been maintained by the superhero movies in the past. Even the earlier two movies featuring Fantastic Four were much ahead of this one. So the expectations were a lot higher here with hope to bring something to remember. This is not really a movie that go terrible, but just something that doesn’t go big enough. It can be considered mostly average, but the situation demanded more. In the end, there is something about which the audience can be sure about; it is the fact that among the Marvel comics based superheroes, this one is clearly a level down.

Release date: 21st August 2015 (India); 7th August 2015 (USA)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Castellaneta, Tim Heidecker

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deliver Us from Evil

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Vampire Owl :: You are obviously talking about me.

Vampire Bat :: No, I am not. Why should I talk about you now when I am going to watch a horror movie?

Vampire Owl :: You said “deliver us from evil”. I am evil.

Vampire Bat :: No, you are not evil, not even remotely close to being a bad guy.

Vampire Owl :: But I am bad. Super evil.

Vampire Bat :: Owls are not evil. It is impossible. Bats are evil.

Vampire Owl :: You cannot take my right to be evil. I am going to owlify the world and establish my greatness.

Vampire Bat :: As if that is going to happen. You said you would do it before Mangalyan reached Mars.

Vampire Owl :: Damn. It all happens too fast. These strange space related things are not covered by the vampire newspapers.

Vampire Bat :: I would say that it is more due to your brain’s clock working so slow.

[Gets into the theatre].

What is it about? :: A cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is going through some strange situations, as weird incidents happen in the city, and some of them has almost no reason or solution. A Spanish priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) tries to convince the police officer that these incidents have something with it than what meets the eye. There are three former soldiers from Iraq who seems to be involved with the crimes that has occured in the city, and the priest warns Sarchie that it is beyond the human comprehension as there are two types of evil, primary and secondary, and it is only the second about which the humanity can find answers with its ability to understand things in the scientific way. At first, the cop refuses to believe that the three men are possessed, but he might not be able to hold on with that viewpoint for too long, as things go out of control, and it affects even his own relationships with his wife and daughter.

The defence of Deliver Us from Evil :: The scares are surely working, especially with a number of scenes in the basement which brings the best out of horror. The atmosphere is creepy, and is successfully kept that way and the tension is efficiently maintained. The darkness and the rain are two elements that nicely supports the shocks that the movie dares to come up with. The movie nicely manages to stay in control with the blood and gore elements as well as the horror, and this intermediate path which it has taken can make it a safer bet. There is an attempt to explain evil with the need for faith, and there is some skill in the characterization of the two leading characters who go on to fight evil. The moments in the zoo and the basement of a family with a complaint are two very nicely done scenes, invoking terror as well as mystery, and a certainty that there is something yet to come. The cast is also a fine boost for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more explanations about what is happening around with demons possessing people and making them do things, and by passing through the portal into this world from the other dimension, the question would remain about what they achieve other than scaring people and in the process, killing a few. There had to be a plan which isn’t seen anywhere here. A comparison to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister which comes from the same director is not possible as this belongs to a lower level, and any comparison to The Conjuring is clearly impossible. The movie should have used more special effects, and it could have given a much needed boost to the scary sequences. The end scene is also weaker with a usual exorcism performed in not that powerful manner as it was expected from the way the movie was working with its creatures from the other world. The second half is weaker compared to the first which was an impressive start.

Performers of the soul :: Eric Bana is in full control of things here in one of my favourite performances from him ever. There is something about him that makes him good with this character, and I would guess that his looks and style is pretty much best suited to playing this role. Édgar Ramírez also has left a mark as the new generation priest who has kept himself modern, but has still remained within his priestly world. I remember him mostly as Ares from Wrath of the Titans, and here he seems to fit in better. The prettiest one around, Olivia Munn has an admirable stay, and her character has presence, but she is left is not much to do in a world of demons repelled by one priest and a police officer. Sean Harris as Santino is impressive with his possessions and nicely compliments the horror elements of the movie with his performance. Meanwhile, Joel McHale is also good in his supporting role. Olivia Horton also delivers some terror with her role as the possessed lady.

Soul exploration :: The movie is based on the real life experiences of Ralph Sarchie recorded in his book, Beware the Night also co-written by Lisa Collier Cool. I would guess that it would add to the spookiness and surely has me wishing to read the work some day – it would be difficult to get it here, but there will be a way. The title of the movie is the ending of the Lord’s Prayer. It is that need to be saved from evil that we can see in this movie. There will always be things which are not in our control, and humanity’s minuteness and vulnerability are among those factors which will solidify the same fact. It is a clear thing that we can’t know everything, and no mater how or to whom we pray, there is something that prayer can always do. There is evil in this world, and however we categorize them, there is the need for God’s grace to save ourselves. The free will is there, but it is not the permission to do evil; as there is the presence of sinister forces at work, and only by goodness and faith that one can be redeemed.

How it finishes :: The reviews from critics which were negative, has now improved and the movie has come close to getting a fifty percent, and I would expect it to increase further as the opinions from most of my acquaintances have been quite positive. The other movie of the week happens to be November Man which should have its own audience due to the presence of Pierce Brosnan. Surprisingly, Lucy and The Maze Runner are the movies which stay on to this week, and I wonder more about the former, as it seems to have stayed there so much longer than it was expected to thrive. Deliver Us from Evil should be the movie of the week, and it is going to be replaced by Annabelle as the most awaited horror movie of the year. There is also that expectation for Haider the Hindi contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet along with the seemingly dumb remake of Knight and Day which has been named Bang Bang! which attempts to repeat what Besharam did during last year’s Gandhi Jayanthi. Let’s hope that horror will find a way to thrive!

Release date: 26th September 2014 (India); 2nd July 2014 (US)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Chris Coy, Olivia Horton, Dorian Missick, Rhona Fox, Valentina Rendón

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.