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Hot effects help 'Fantastic Four' overcome plot

July 12, 2005|by APRIL VESELY and SARAH BROWN

Movie review: "Fantastic Four"; three stars out of four; rated PG-13; 106 minutes

"The cloud has fundamentally altered our DNA," said Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), captain of the Fantastic Four crew.

"Cool," was all Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) could muster in response.

"Who are the Fantastic Four?" you might ask. They are astronauts who are otherwise normal people, like you and me. The only difference? An unfortunate accident on an experimental space satellite gives the entire crew (including Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis) amazing powers.

Now, for some reason, you probably could not stretch yourself to impossible lengths, like Richards, or become a flaming ball of fire like the Human Torch. Sue Storm (Alba) has an incredible force that could knock you right out of your chair, and the Thing (Chiklis) becomes just that: a human-shaped thing with incredible strength.

As the heroes discover their unnatural abilities, they attempt experiments in order to return to full normalcy. This process is halted, however, by a jealous billionaire (Julian McMahon) and his newfound power (playing with electricity and becoming metal).

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Although it contains those action heroes that we all adore, the film lacks a continuously moving plot. It seems as though, compared to other comic-book-turned-film movies, "Fantastic Four" stalls, and the suspense falters, but the beautiful and realistic sets, costumes, acting and special effects make up for many of the shortcomings.

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