July 27th, 2005

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Fantastic Four," a fun Summertime flick

"The Fantastic Four" is a fun Saturday matinee
science fiction based on a popular Marvel comic.
Professor Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud) and his ex Girl
friend Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) work for corporate
captain Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). While on a
space station, Doctor Von Doom's team witnesses an
interstellar astronomical anomaly. Along with Sue's
brother Johnny (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael
Chiklis), the five scientists are transformed into
mutants.

The conversion from normal life to mutant life is
funny when it happens to Reed, Sue and Johnny. Until
Ben's transformation, the tone had been light and
breezy with clever one-liners that foreshadow a
character's destiny. Yet when Ben is transformed into
the rock like "Thing," the tone takes on tragic
dimensions. Unlike his colleague's temporary
conversions, Ben's conversion as a human boulder is
permanent. During his first super heroic feat on a
Manhattan Bridge, Ben's inner goodness emerges. Given
that Ben and his colleagues were rescuing NYC firemen,
this sequence elicits a few tears.

It is not the superpowers or techno effects that
makes "The Fantastic Four," it is the four chambered
heart of the story. Von Doom's motivations seem
reasonable, but with evil consequences. The unrequited
romance between Reed and Sue resonates with a modern
day love life of a two professional individuals. It is
Ben's humor and sacrifice that makes "The Fantastic
Four" rise from the shallow pulp standards of science
fiction.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Island" generates sympathy for a cow

The intelligence of the scientific arguments is what
drives "The Island." Good science fiction is
metaphor based on what could happen. While "The
Island" has been promoted as an action adventure movie
about cloning, it is actually an animal rights movie.

The film takes the point of view of clones. These
clones are being harvested for their owners who want
to prolong their own life. Substitute a clone for a cow
being bred for the slaughterhouse and one immediately has
sympathy for a cow.

It to too bad that the action sequences are so poorly
directed that one gets bored by manic editing,
unfocused camera work featuring drawn out fist fights
and futuristic car chases. The ensemble cast do their
best to create the futuristic world of 2017, but much
like Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise’s original
collaboration in "Minority Report," this film’s
conclusion relies on clichés to end the narrative.

Given the excitement of America's return to space
flight this weekend, perhaps science fact motion
pictures will be in vogue soon. On September 23, the
Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery plans of
presenting "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the
Moon in 3D," a documentary produced by Tom Hanks.
Until then, keep watching the skies….