Moviemaking is hard. There are a lot of forces that have to combine in just the right way for you to be successful. To get a cast and crew together requires a hundred schedules to sync. You need equipment. You need film. You need time and patience. If you’re working on an established property, as they were in this movie, you need the rights to the property and all the individual characters. Most importantly, if you’re going to get anywhere, you need money.
But what actually killed Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four? WAS it money? Was it the film’s quality (or lack thereof)? Was it the closed door Hollywood forces that be? Could it have been Avi Arad? The answer is maybe all of the above.
In the same vein of The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, Doomed! takes a look behind the scenes of the 1994 movie and where it all went wrong. Through interviews with the cast and crew –most of whom have a shoulder shrugging, water under the bridge attitude about the whole experience– the filmmakers unravel the death of the Fantastic Four almost like a murder mystery.
To look at the footage that is shown, it feels really obvious that this was never going to work. (Even the actors began to have their doubts the further into production they got.) To be fair though, it was a different time. The superhero movie was still not the money shoveling juggernaut it is today, and with the exception of Batman, the genre was still not being taken seriously. That said, wait for the limo scene, because…damn. You’ll know it when you see it.
If you’re interested in moviemaking, this one is worth a look. (If for no other reason than as a lesson on how not to let Hollywood screw you over.) Comic book fans might enjoy it as a way to either feel sadness or elation at the movie’s ultimate demise.
For those of you who want to make the effort, the finished product of the movie is available around, because that’s what the internet does. If you have seen it, let us know if it’s any good. I mean, bright blue spandex aside, it HAS to be better than Fan4stic. Right?
Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four is out now in time for the holidays on DVD/Blu-ray.