Fantastic Four Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD (2005)
Starring Horatio Hornblower, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Kerry Washington, Laurie Holden and Maria Menounos.
Directed by Tim Story.
The Fantastic Four Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD comes with a miniature reprint of Ultimate Fantastic Four #12, a $5-off coupon (expired on 31 March 2006) for the 44 Years of Fantastic Four DVD-ROM, and a round “collector’s tin” containing the DVD, eight round “collector’s cards” and CD-ROM containing the first twenty-three issues of the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book series in PDF. In lieu of a regular DVD clamshell case, the collector’s edition also includes a cardboard stand for the collector’s tin.
As gimmicks go, this one isn’t so hot. That’s going to look really nice sitting on the center channel speaker above my television until I inadvertently knock it off while fishing for a DVD or Laura gets tired of looking at it. Either way, the lack of a clamshell DVD case is going to make it a pain in the ass to store. Two points for initial impact, minus several dozen points for impracticality.
The round “collector’s cards” just what you might expect: images from the movie or marketing material with appropriate blurbs on the back. One for each of the main characters and a couple for the movie in general. Nothing too exciting there. Of course, the only place to conveniently store the cards is in the round collector’s tin.
The mini-comic looks like something Pizza Hut might have given away back in the early 1990’s. I can only guess that issue number twelve of Ultimate Fantastic Four was chosen because it is the culmination of the ultimate quartet’s first encounter with the ultimate version of Doctor Doom. It’s not bad, but a direct movie tie-in—say an issue of the comic book adaptation of the movie—would have been a better choice.
On the other hand, I’m very pleased with the other “ultimate” material, despite the fact that it doesn’t reflect the movie version of the Fantastic Four. The first twenty-three issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four (plus the first annual) more than makes up for the impracticality of the collector’s tin and the disposability of the collector’s cards and mini-comic, provided you’re at least interested in Marvel’s “Ultimate” line of comics, which I am. I’ll save comparison of the Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Lee/Kirby classics for another day.
Finally, there is the DVD itself, which has a full-length feature commentary by members of the cast and several “making of” featurettes. There’s also a video diary of the pre-release cast appearances, but to be honest, I can only take so much of Jessica Alba when she’s not portraying someone other than Jessica Alba, so I only watched a couple of minutes before exploring the rest of the disc. There’s only one DVD disc, so the ultimate collector’s edition isn’t exactly brimming with special features. There are a couple of music videos as well as the film’s teasers and trailers.
So which feature did I most enjoy? The Spanish language audio track, of course. I’m disappointed whenever I see that the only languages available on a DVD are English and French. Why? Well, mostly because I have no desire to learn French as a second language, whereas I would very much like to learn to speak Spanish. Also, Laura speaks a little Spanish, so she can relate the occasional amusing translation tidbit. For example, after Johnny Storm performs a stunt on a dirt bike in front of an arena of screaming fans, the announcer calls the stunt “old school” in the English dialog. In Spanish, he says, “We’ve seen that before, Johnny.”
Well, it amused us.
I’ve discussed the merits of Fantastic Four in a previous post, but I will say that the movie works very well on the small screen. The final battle, which seemed rather anti-climactic in the theater, played much better in my living room. Oh, and I like the Spanish version of the Thing’s voice better than I do Michael Chiklis’. Sorry, Commish.