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Sometimes, a movie comes along that is so notorious, so terrible, so gosh-fucked appalling that no one reviewer may safely tackle it alone. To that end, Unshaved Mouse has teamed up with the illustrious NewtCave and Erik Copper to review the never-released Roger Corman-produced superhero movie; The Fantastic Four.
UM: Hi guys and welcome to Unshaved Mouse. Make yourselves comfortable, don’t touch the continents. They bite.
UM: So. Erik. Newt. What the fuck did we just watch?
EC: I was under the impression that we were just witness to the birth of the anti-christ of comic book movies.
NC: Pretty much. This thing gets my vote for “Worst Marvel Film.” Including Howard the Duck.
UM: Was it though? I mean, can’t we grade of a curve? There were extenuating circumstances here.
NC: Fair point, furry one. But let me put it this way. Elektra? Released in theatres. Hulk? Released in theatres. Howard the Duck? For some reason, still released in theatres. Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four? Kept secret. Kept safe.
EC: Gandalf’s wise words were still not strong enough to keep this mess off of the internet, though. Because as we all know, technology is the MOST powerful of the dark arts.
UM: Speaking of dark arts, Erik, aren’t you supposed to be dead?
UM: Yeah. I totally fed you to a shark at the end of our last review.
EC: Oh yeah. Dick! That was the single most tortorous experience of my life! I had to chew my way out of the shark’s stomach! I still have nightmares! I
EC: It’s not funny!
UM: It was funny to everyone who wasn’t you. Which, y’know, was the entire human race. Needs of the many, Erik.
NC: Should I step outside while you two work through your prior history?
UM: Nah baby, we cool. Let’s get started. Newt, as our resident Marvel buff, what can you tell us about the good ol’ Fantastic Four?
NC: Probably more than is either necessary or interesting. But, limiting myself to relevant information, the Fantastic Four have often been referred to as “Marvel’s First Family.” and that’s only because that’s exactly what they are. Back in the ancient past of 1961, Stan Lee took it upon himself to create a team of superheroes like none that had come before. Instead of a bunch of square-jawed Super Friends, he elected to make a team that was more like a family trying to make the best of a bad situation.
UM: With Square Jaws.
EC: Rather rubbery and slightly malleable jaws, too.
NC: When The Fantastic Four #1 hit newsstands, they didn’t even have costumes or secret identities. They were all about breaking the norms of what people had come to expect from the superhero genre.
UM: I think the FF was really the big bang of the modern Marvel universe. So many of the characters and concepts that make up that world got their start in the pages of Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom, Black Panther, the Inhumans, the Skrulls, the Kree, the list just goes on and on.
NC: Exactly. The company wasn’t even called “Marvel” before the FF came along. Anything before that was published under the not-so-timeless brand of “Timely.”
EC: It was incredible how fast the superhero boom took off. Most of the heroes we know today didn’t even start off as anything other than one-off stories that were just too popular to remain that way. Spider-Man? He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. Thor? He was first introduced in Journey into Mystery. Iron Man? Tales of Suspense. These heroes didn’t start off timeless, but they slowly captured our hearts. The Fantastic Four is no different.
UM: Which is kind of why it’s so sickening how Marvel are treating this title now, basically sweeping it under the rug because they can’t get the movie rights back from Fox.
NC: Well, to be fair, they’re doing that with ALL the properties they haven’t regained the movie rights to, which seems a bit like dirty pool to me.
UM: I dunno dude. The day I see Wolverine and Spidey at the dole office maybe. It seems like the Fantastic Four have gotten it worse than anyone.
EC: I don’t even know who’s side to be on. Fox is being a child not willing to share its toy, and Marvel is being a child throwing a tantrum because they want that toy SO VERY BAD.
NC: It’s a crappy situation, and I think everybody involved lost. I mean, I know we’re supposed to reserve judgement on Fant-four-stic… but yeah. ‘Nuff said, am I right?
UM: I will lay good money on it being the best Fantastic Four film ever.
EC: I will lay good money on it being an attempt. And that’s about all I can give it.
NC: I will lay good money on the team being rebooted with the SAME DAMN STORY enough times that the filmmakers all throw their hands in the air and finally adapt Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602.
UM: Ah, the Fantastick Four!
EC: Yes, and Peter Parquagh! (GOD WHY?!)
UM: Okay, but what about today’s movie? If I may?
NC: Go right ahead.
UM: I thank ye. So, back before Marvel decided to stop letting other companies fuck up their characters and just do it right themselves, they sold the movie rights to the Fantastic Four for a song and a wink to a German producer named Bernd Eichinger. Eichinger had a limited amount of time to make the movie or else the rights would revert to Marvel so, when he couldn’t get the money in time, he teamed up with legendary cheapo movie-maker Roger Corman to make a superhero movie in three weeks with $1 million. The resulting…thing…was never meant to be seen by human eyes. It was solely created to allow the company to hold on to the movie rights. Thankfully, such shady business practices would never occur in Hollywood today.
Now how did that get there?
UM: So, just how bad can it be?