Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Today you’ll be able to see Fantastic Four in theaters everywhere, and while the reviews mostly seem to be negative with few redeeming qualities, it’s always better to see for yourself. However, it’s hard to care about a movie like this when the director goes out of his way to distance himself from the movie.
And that’s exactly what happened last night, on the eve of the release of Fantastic Four as some audiences were emerging from the first screenings. Josh Trank took to Twitter with succinct lamentation of the film that ended up on the big screen, but he deleted it a short time later. But since this is the internet, his words still live on in cyberspace. Read the brief and sad Josh Trank Fantastic Four tweet after the jump!
The post on Twitter has since been deleted, but here it is (via Zap2It):
And it seems like critics mostly agree that what ended up on the big screen is a huge disappointment beacause it only has a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. That’s lower than the 2005 version of Fantastic Four which has a 27% on the review aggregator. Peter Travers even wrote a particularly scathing review, and sometimes it seems like he loves everything.
There have been several reviews out there making the point that Fantastic Four feels like a movie that was made by committee, and when you take that into consideration with what Trank says about a “fantastic version” of this movie existing a year ago, you have to wonder what decisions the studio made to change his vision enough to result in something that Trank doesn’t believe in.
At the same time, there are plenty of directors who make big budget superhero movies with plenty of interference from the studio and still manage to make a movie that is entertaining and sometimes even substantial. Not all the blame can be put on Trank for the final cut of Fantastic Four, but he’s still the director, and there’s plenty of decisions that he made which contributed to this movie.
The job of directing a superhero movie isn’t easy, because you have an artistic vision that you want to stay true to, maintaining your integrity. But you also have a studio to answer to, who in turn has an audience to answer to that ranges from hardcore comic book fans who have very strict ideas of what they want to see in film adaptations of their favorite properties to general audiences who just want to have a good time at the movies with little to no prior knowledge of the source material. That’s a hard balancing act.
And if you want evidence of that, here’s Max Landis, the writer of Josh Trank’s first film Chronicle, with some thoughts that he posted late last night on Twitter about how difficult this job can be to deal with:
HEY, it’s 1 AM. You know what, fuck it. Let’s be real here.
Chronicle was an incredibly rare and easy ride. I loved writing the script. I enjoyed our producer, John Davis, and our exec, Steve. I also loved collaborating with Josh, who I think is brilliant, and whose ideas inspired my script. I fought hard for him to direct. But Chronicle was a complete fluke. We had so much control because the movie was, in relation to other movies that year, TINY. Some holes opened up in Fox’s slate and Chronicle was cheap and unique, so they were kind enough to make it. Only took 6 months.
At the time, I was like “THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.” I’d sold scripts, but it was my first greenlight. Josh, who’d been for-hire editor and whose only experience behind the camera had been a web series, was a smart, fun collaborator.
During the shooting of the film, I had almost no input, but I was lucky in that the studio and Josh stuck astonishingly tight to my script. But again, even this is a fluke. It was an original idea, a dark character movie with a first time director. Fluke. Freak of nature. But I didn’t know that and I’m sure Josh didn’t know that either. In the five years since I sold Chronicle, I’ve learned the hard way.
You take huge hits in this industry, creatively, but that’s only after you’ve been given the opportunity to take huge swings, which is rare. A movie like Fantastic Four, an assignment with a lot riding on it, was always going to have a tremendous amount of cooks in the kitchen. People always ask me when I’m gonna write a superhero movie. I have. I’ve gotten those jobs. They’re very intense and stressful.
As a writer, I’ve been lucky to work on many, many projects, and seen how different and how hard each road can be, for five and a half years. Josh didn’t get that chance, and his second major project, after one with total freedom, was one with intense oversight. So I don’t think anyone’s wrong or right, necessarily, and I don’t imagine anyone cares about my opinion. But I do think it’s important to say that if you’re not prepared going in to not FIGHT like hell, but WORK like hell, it’s gonna get ugly.
No one is trying to make a bad movie. This job is only very occasionally romantic. Don’t let it own you, try not to let it hurt you. Because sometimes it’s so much fucking fun. But it’s still a job.”
So there’s some real talk from Landis about what it’s like to see your movie get made and his take on Josh Trank’s position in the making of Fantastic Four. It’s easy to sit back and say what went wrong with a movie, but we have to remember it’s supremely difficult to make a movie that allows you to be true to yourself when you have a bunch of people whispering in your ear at the same time.
At the end of the day, not every movie can be good, and sadly the new Fantastic Four is proof of that. But what’s more sad is that no lessons will be learned by Hollywood about how to treat properties like this, and there will always be executives who will meddle with filmmakers, because at the end of the day, this is show business. And if you want to make more movies, you have to make more money. The problem is that sometimes studios want to make good money before they make a good movie.Cool Posts From Around the Web: