Posts Tagged ‘Stan Lee’

We already talked about Corman’s never (officially) released Fantastic Four movie  at great length couple years ago. In this article we also mentioned at that time work-in-progress documentary from the writer/ director Marty Langford shining a light on this fascinating subject.

MV5BMjAyMDA1MDYxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTIwNzI2OTE@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_… and this is a story of that movie!

If you don’t know the story- German producer Bernd Eichinger tried to get the right for a Fantastic Four movie in the early 1980’s and finally succeeded in 1986. He bought the right for non- glamorous price of quarter a million (remember those were the Dark Ages of Marvel adaptations). Now, unfortunately the rights were about to expire on December 31, 1992 and the movie didn’t even start the production.

Eichinger desperately asked for an extension from Marvel but he got none. So he did the only thing he could– he called B-Movie Grandmaster Roger Corman! Corman being Corman agreed to fast forward the movie and film it for just one million. And  after all that effort the movie was never to be released with Stan Lee claiming it was never meant to be released at all (and it exists solely to extend the rights) with Eichinger and Corman claiming they seriously planned to have it released in the cinemas.

Whatever the truth may be Fantastic Four(1994) will not be released but the documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four has a firm release date as of now! We can enjoy the crazy story of the FF on VOD in October 11, 2016 before it hits the DVD on December 20, 2016. Sing and rejoice!

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For a months this movie was waiting to be reviewed mostly because it is so awful that none of us wanted to write about it. And partly because of insufficient mental strength (‘cough’ wussiness) of the rest of Worsemovies crew. Then recently I have decided that world has to be warned and reminded about this poor excuse for cinematography attempt so it would never happen again! Ladies and gentlemen (Who am I kidding? Just gentlemen) I have this nauseous duty to present you the worst “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” screen version ever!

In a movie put together by blind people, the one-eyed man will be like a God. Or so you would think. Such expectation falls in water when you see that one-eyed man is none other than David Hasselhoff. Now, apart of being white and having a brown hair, David doesn’t look like Nick Fury at all. Nor acts like him. He doesn’t look grizzled, he doesn’t look tough, he certainly doesn’t look smart, he sometimes wears an eyepatch on the wrong eye and I really doubt that real Nick Fury would spend most of his on-duty time being half-drunk (tho, credits for this probably go to David Hasselhoff himself and his cheerful personality). He is over the top all the way and so much that you have no other choice than to sit back, watch and laugh your ass out. Or to turn off the TV if you are not cliches fan.

Yeah that's the guyYeah, that’s the guy

The cliches keep coming when the evil Nazi terrorist organization Hydra attacks a S.H.I.E.L.D. base, under the leadership of Andrea Von Strucker aka Lady Viper (played by Sandra Hess) and her dimwitted younger brother Werner (played by Scott Heindl),
and makes off with the body of their father Baron von Strucker (played by Campbell Lane), the man responsible for Nick losing his left eye. Oh and they had killed Nick’s good friend Clay Quantermain (played by Adrian Hughes) in process. That’s a solid
reason for Nick to came back from retirement, don’t you think? The plan is that he, his ex-girlfriend Contessa Valentina (played by Lisa Rinna), agent Pierce (played by Neil Roberts) and mind-reading agent Kate Naville (played by Tracy Waterhouse) go to meeting with Interpol agent Gayle Runsador (who I had pinpointed to be a traitor the moment I saw him) in a secret safe-house in Berlin? Surprised? The director of agency General Pincer played by Tom McBeath) wants to have Kate read the mind of former Nazi scientist Dr. Zola (played by Peter Hayworth) and see just what he and his cohorts are up to. As it later turns out, this whole scheme to get Zola to open up his mind and talk, was a plot hatched by Hydra in order to locate and rescue him from S.H.I.E.L.D. And yeah, I was right. Agent Runsador is none other than the evil and murderous Viper. Surprised now? He even had managed to infect Nick with South American Yellow Dart Frog venom that will end his miserable life in 48 hours. So now it’s a race against time while Nick and his happy bunch try to find out just where Hydra is planing to unleash this deadly virus called “Death Head” (really creative name). To make things worse agency’s top scientist Gabriel Jones (played by Ron Canada) comes up with a possible antidote that can save Nick’s life. Why worse you might wonder? Well this antidote has to be developed and drawn from the blood of the person who put Nick into this condition in the first place, the only person on the Earth immune from it – Viper. Wow what a twist! No one ever would see that coming! Anyway, that’s the point from which Nick starts showing his true face. You see, Nick knows that he doesn’t have long to live so why should he care about anyone else, like those working with him? It is much easier not to think about consequences of his actions. If he succeeds  then great. If not, well, at least he will pull many other lives down with him. So drunk-looking Nick starts screwing up everything that he touches and almost getting his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D agents killed due to his mindless self-serving and suicidal behavior. Despite his inept and clumsy actions Nick manages to prevent Hydra from destroying downtown Manhattan with a battery or “Death Head” virus loaded rockets. And he does that by getting the code to abort their mission with the help of mind reading agent Neville (Kate seems to be the only capable agent here) from none other than the evil Viper, who was previously captured, and also getting a sample of her blood to save his life (which turns to be much more important than saving entire civilization). The ending has Viper again escaping from Nick (meh who cares, as long as he is alive) together with her frozen stiff and dead father, now alive and well, with her threatening both the world and audience that we haven’t seen last of them. We might consider ourselves lucky that David Hasselhoff for sure will not be in shape to star in the next movie if ever comes to it.

 

Conclusion: In the 1990’s Marvel Comics was in something of a financial strain, and to help themselves out, they would lease the movie and television rights to their characters to whoever had cash on hand right at that moment. This resulted in some tough times for the film adventures of the Marvel characters; Captain America and Punisher got direct to video adventures, the Fantastic Four film never saw the light of day (until couple of months ago), and Nick Fury and Generation X (X-Men spin off) were optioned for series by FOX. But this just can’t be an excuse for this half-ass job. I would bet that people in charge of this haven’t read about S.H.I.E.L.D. at all. True, script writer David Goyer (Blade trilogy, Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel) did read this and he even wrote some comics but he keeps spirit of S.H.I.E.L.D. based on ’60s. The CGI looks pretty terrible, even for 1998, and the physical sets aren’t much better. The action scenes are actually pretty standard for a b-movie: not completely terrible, but not very good either. The film’s version of Hydra is a contradiction of itself, seemingly important events are totally forgotten about, and there are great gaps in logic. For example, S.H.I.E.L.D. can keep their HQ hovering in the sky, yet they keep Von Strucker’s body in a relatively undefended base on the ground. There are many other gaps like this one but I have had my share of writing down them. If you want to see them by yourself then you will have to watch this movie which I strongly don’t recommend!

The actor worthy of Nick Fury’s personality

Now, when you say MARVEL movie you are probably thinking of  mega successful Iron Man trilogy or even more successful The Avengers but the truth of the mater is- Marvel movies were laughing stock of ar movie industry for years. Between barely animated cartoons, horrible TV shows (Spider-man and Hulk I’m looking at you) and occasional low- budget disaster it took couple of decades and New Line Cinema’s Blade (featuring minor comicbook character) to turn the tide. After that FOX decided to put some money into making of X-Men and Spidey franchises and the rest is history.

And now we get to what interests us, the most obscure thing from the Dark Age of Marvel Movie Universe- The Fantastic Four! No, not FOX’s Fantastic Four from 2005 (although that’s kinda bad too) but original Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four from 1992. You never heard of it? Strange- because trailer was attached to your copy of Carnousaur (and don’t tell me you don’t have VHS/ DVD of Carnosaur please). Anyway, the only reason for this film’s existence is the fact that the company that owned movie rights to FF, had to make a movie of forfeit that rights. They didn’t really feel like spending a bunch of money of a comicbook/ SF flick but they still wanted to keep rights (’cause you never know)- so they decided to play it smart and hire Roger Corman to produce incredibly lo-fi version of film (without ever telling him that they don’t really plan on releasing it, like EVER).

So this came down in history as the only Corman film never released but the producer made a deal with MARVEL, they agreed to pay for the movie (securing it never sees a light of day), ended up with a profit of few million and everybody walked away happy. Except for Corman, who’s still pissed about it. Of course bootleg copy eventually find it’s way online and you can finally uncover the mystery of Fantastic Four right here on WM.

 

 

 

 

Movie starts with young Reed Richards and his best pal Victor Von Doom (who wouldn’t want a friend with a name like that) breaking into some science facility (by all accounts located on their campus) and using the passing of a comet for some kind of god awful experiment. Of course as things go awry and Doom gets electrocuted and seemingly dies. This shutters Reed by somehow he recovers in no time. Then we find out that he’s living in a boarding house with a mother of two young children Sue Johnny Storm (interesting).

We flash forward to the future- the 90’s (yes the 90’s)! Reed and his new pal Ben Grimm (hope nothing bad happens to this one) are finishing up work on some experimental, crystal powered space- craft. They need skills astronauts to accompany them but Reed being genius that he is decides to take his old friends the Storms for a ride! Now imagine this- strange man that lived in your place in his collage years comes out of nowhere one morning and offers to take your children (now teenagers) to space! Just because. Mother being stupid enough to give housing to this dangerous man accepts to help him potentially kill her children and all is set to go.

The Fantastic Four (1994).avi_000946779“FANTASTIC FOUR”

Reed being a cool cat that he is, dedicates the mission to his “dead” friend Doom and off they go. Spacecraft malfunctions because the Jewler (knock- off of  more famous FF villain Mole Man) steals their fuel- the crystal and replaces it with a cheap knock- off ( how appropriate). Not only do they crash land (which is strange because the ship clearly exploded to pieces)- they menage to get seriously irradiated by “cosmic rays”. Somehow they survive and soon they discover they’ve been mysteriously granted an amazing powers.

The Fantastic Four (1994).avi_001824322Now I see you, now I can’t!

They don’t really get to explore their new found powers because they end up captured by Victor’s man. They eventually get the hang of their powers enough to escape them and regroup back at their base- the baxter building! Only Ben Grimm decides to leave horrified with the fact that he became a rock monster (probably the only decently done FX job in the whole movie). Next we see the Thing staggering the streets, seemingly trying to score a hooker (not sure that could end well).

The Fantastic Four (1994).avi_003728758Thing and his new lady friend

Doom confronts the Jewler because he needs the crystal to finally capture the power of the comet (he still can’t get that behind him after all these years). It turns out he gave the jewel to blind artist Alicia Masters (who he also lovingly kidnapped to be his bride). Now Alicia is of course not impressed with Jewler and his horde of underground dwelling hobos- she likes Ben Grimm even thou he destroyed some of her artwork (or maybe even because of it). Doom, angry, seizes the diamond for himself and threatens to kill Alicia, and then out of nowhere Grimm comes barging in trying to stop him! …and the (I kid you not) HE REVERTS BACK TO HIS HUMAN FORM! You know, the form he can tragically never reclaim! It his one movie Corman and co destroy the whole concept of this truly compelling character and made him into the Hulk Lite (and as Coca Cola Light showed us- nothing Lite is ever good).

The Fantastic Four (1994).avi_004611773Doom is a Gangsta!

Anyway, he menages to Thing- out again couple minutes later but it’s already too late. Doom captures him, the girl and takes them with the famed crystal back to his home country of Latveria in Eastern  Europe. He must have had some superior means of transportation because they are in his castle in about a minute- already draining the Thing of his cosmic power. This already looks a lot like the original incident that nearly killed him- but some people never learn. The rest of a Fantastic Four decide is the right time and after they get themselves a nifty costumes they come to save their peer.They kinda fail, at least at first and get captured (and drained ofc). Mr. Fantastic finally uses his elongating powers to escape and bring fight to Doom. What’s fascinating is how Doom with all that might and resorses (coupled with scientific brilliance) still uses and old fashion gun- a luger pistol as his primary weapon. Then doom launches the rocket that could supposedly bring the end of the world as we now it but in scenes ripped directly form old Fleischer’s Superman cartoons from the ’40 Johnny Storm now Human Torch stops it.

 

 

Directly lifted from Superman: The Mad Scientist (1941)

In the final Doom decides to commit suicide just to further torture the  Mr.Fantastic, who doesn’t seem all that bothered and soon marries his sweetheart Sue and presumably lives
happily ever after.

Verdict: People complain that super-hero movies of today (notably Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Snyder’s Man of Steel) are too dark and grim, too serious but God damn imagine if comicbook movies reverted back into this- now that would be a true horror!

Trivia 1: The legend of this movie became so big that it finally got it’s own documentary DOOMED: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four”. You can see the trailer bellow.

 

Trivia 2: Depending on who you ask, our country Serbia is a neighbor/part of Latveria, the land on evil genius and monarch Victor Von Doom.You can see the proof straight out of Secret Avengers comicbook
(by Warren Ellis and Alex Maleev) right here.

LatveriaALL HAIL DOOM!