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  • Review fantastic four worlds greatest heroes

    In the wake of Fox's 2005 FANTASTIC FOUR movie, marvel commissioned a new fantastic four animated series. This time, marvel rode on the wave of Japanese anime and turned to Moonscoop animation, a French studio famous for such anime styled cartoons like Martin Mystery. They even got voice actors who were best known for dubbing anime to portray the characters here. The result is a decent blend of East and west, traditional 2D art and CGI animation. Decent yes but no where near fantastic.

    Visually, FF: WORLDS GREATEST HEROES or FFWGH as I will call it, is a real treat to watch. The vibrant colours have this luminescent glow and The art is pretty to look at once you get past the whole anime styled designs. No it's not all doe eyed little girls and big breasts. This show takes its visual cues from anime aimed at an older audience. Yes there is spikey hair, yes the characters look anorexic and a little on the long side but nothing that sexualises them. The animation itself is smooth for a TV show and with a decent level of art detail: there are action lines, freeze frames and a few cost cutting measures but nothing as obvious as the typical TV anime.

    At 26 episodes, each episode features an original story not directly lifted from the comics but containing elements inspired by the comics. They are relatively self contained with only thin threads of continuity like Doctor Doom's recurring presence. Other than that you get guest stars like Guardians of the Galaxy's Ronan the accuser, AntMan, and even the Incredible Hulk (whose brawl with The Thing is always something fans look forward to). With original stories comes the good and the bad: it's original so it allows for some surprises. However it does not achieve the level of storytelling that the comics did instead choosing to go with an overall light hearted juvenile tone. There is no sense of peril no matter how many times the world is at stake. There is no thrill seeing as how formulaic each episode can get. Then There are episodes that left me bored beyond belief and it wasn't for a lack of action.

    It was the lack of chemistry. Touted as "marvel's first family", the FF here are more like "marvel's college dorm buddies". You never get that sense of togetherness and most of the time they come across as flat archetypes. While the comics and some of the previous cartoons delved into their inner demons and insecurities, FFWGH barely skim the surface with story after story offering little depth and even less world building. It doesn't help that only half the cast do decent voice acting. TV actress Lara Gilchrist nails the role of Sue Storm and Brian Dobson does an impressive (for a Canadian) tough Brooklyn accent as Ben Grimm but Christopher Jacot as Johnny is a one note loudmouth and Hiro Kanagawa's Reed Richards sounds like he is on the verge of yawning half the time.

    As history shows, Fantastic four once again got the short end of the stick. Mainstays like Galactus and Silver surfer were prevented from being used and Marvel promptly dropped the anime styled property to focus on direct to video productions and the more Bruce Timm inspired Wolverine and the X-men. FANTASTIC FOUR: WORLD's GREATEST HEROES is no travesty but neither is it a smash hit. Not bad, just unremarkable. Everything about it pales in comparison to other super hero animation of the era. So If you do come across a copy going for cheap, it wouldn't hurt to give it a spin just don't expect know....fantastic.
  • BRBcool84 September 2006
    OK, I am a huge FF fan, but I will admit that the first episode had some problems. But this show has potential. The cool thing about it is that its new and different. It has an Anime style animation and blends in CGI as well. I like it overall but I have to get used to the voices, especially Reeds but the script was good and wasn't that cheesy. Also, another good thing about this is that it will follow the original comic story lines. And you must remember that this show is targeted for kids!! As for myself, I am an anime fan so I think this show combines 2 of my favorite things together. So, for my conclusion, I think this show will get better as it goes along and possible be the best run of the FF TV series so far, you just got to give it a chance.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Believe it or not, I actually used to watch this show as a kid until I watched the Fantastic Four movies and The 1994 cartoon. I had no idea that Sue Storm and Reed Richards were supposed to be married but not here. Speaking of characters Mr Fantastic is just too nerdy and his voice is too young, The Invisible Woman acts like a teenager, The Human Torch and The thing are just plain annoying and stupid but funny.

    Again no offense to Canada but apart from X-Men 1992 most of there Marvel shows are just bad like Spiderman Unlimited, this, X-Men Evolution and Iron Man Armored Adventures (Which isn't as bad as this but still bad).

    Anyways avoid this show and watch the 1994 cartoon instead trust me you will be glad you did.
  • I'm giving this show a solid 10 rating. It's the BEST comic book translation for a wide aged audience that I've ever seen. I wasn't sold on it at first because I was afraid it was going to be Fantastic Four against Doctor Doom every episode, but I've just seen one where they meet the Skrulls and it was VERY entertaining! I'm going to give it a 10 because Marvel obviously is going to go beyond Doom and show the FF against all the great villains they have battled, can't wait for them to go against Terminus, Galactus and all his heralds, plus all the other great nemesis they have. Fantastic Four was a great comic to read when I read them from my pre teens to my twenties and this latest cartoon show shown on Cartoon Network is by far the best version ever on TV. Great show, great superhero team! Marvel is getting smart instead of the cr#p they've put on TV in the past, they have learned their lessons well! I hope an Iron Man, Thor, or an Avengers show will someday come out. Daredevil, Moonknight, or Dr Strange would be nice shows to try out also, I know that name recognition dictates Spiderman (which his recent cartoon on MTV wasn't bad, but it wasn't that true to the strip), and X Men, but I would love to see Marvel try out some of these other characters! Back to FF 2006 version, if your an FF fan (or even just a comic fan) I think you'll really enjoy this show.
  • I really hope the other poster was kidding when he said JLU was cancelled to put this on air.

    Bryan Singer did so much to make Marvel a success in adaptations, but let's face it, it's always been DC making the running. First with Christopher Reeve, then with Kevin Conroy...

    Why, oh why can't executives look at WHAT makes a series or a film a success and copy that, instead of looking for a source to butcher. Batman (conroy's) was all style (like West's), but with enough substance to sustain it. It had visuals, it had villains, it had stories and it had PACE. Plus, being a cartoon, they got the best voices available. All the things that were transferred into Superman and then Justice League.

    Fantastic Four has none of these. The action (for desperate want of a better word) is so slow it nearly put me to sleep. The voices are awful, not necessarily because the actors can't act (don't know what else they've done), but, I suspect, because the directors haven't got a clue about emoting in English. The nationalities don't inspire confidence in this department. The scripts are almost passable, but the direction (see "action" and "voices") sinks everything.

    I suspect I may be too old for this, as YouTubing Battle of the Planets brought me face to face with things my memory had edited out (such as the stupid R2D2 clone and his girlfriend on Pluto), but, given the acclaim and success of the recent DC animated adaptations across a broad audience spectrum, I'm willing to say this sucks.

    There just isn't any joy in it. There is no way the cast are having fun recording the dialogue, you can hear it in their voices, or, rather, you can't.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I liked the 2005 Fantastic Four Movie. It also think that the 2007 follow up was entertaining as well. But, this cartoon based off of the movie universe trumps them hands down. The characters are something they have never been before in an animated series...human.

    Reed Richards is still the staggering intellect who can stretch, but there's more to him than that. The voice actor for him, Hiro Kanagawa, brings a slight pipsqueak quality to him which instantly makes Mr. Fantastic endearing and vulnerable---even if he is smarter and richer than you are. It's a blast to see him sigh to himself as his teammates often don't think things through. Susan Storm receives the short end of the stick. However, this isn't because of bad writing. This is because she is usually the heart of the team and is mostly depicted as being neutral, yet still formidable. But, in certain situations, such as in the two episodes involving Namor, we see a more off center side to her personality emerge. The Human Torch is, as in the movie and the comics, the team's comic relief. It's really funny to hear him blast away at enemies with his mouth while he's also blasting away at them with fire. Finally, there is the Thing. Whereas Johnny Storm is the jester, Ben Grimm is played as the perennial, gruff straight man--and it works every time. Last, but not least, is H.E.R.B.I.E. A former black mark on the history of the Fantastic Four, it is now the neurotic, hopelessly high strung operating system for the Baxter Building and Reed's Lab. Think 2001's HAL crossed with Woody Allen and you get the idea. There are also the numerous villains.

    In this series the F.F. deal with the Mole Man, Annihlus, the Kree, the Skrulls, Prince Namor, the Puppetmaster, the Frightful Four, Terminus, the Impossible Man, el Diablo, the Elders of the Universe. and, of course, Von Doom. In most cases, each villain has his own arc which goes over anywhere from two to eight episodes (in Doom's case). Speaking of Doom, he is always treated as a deadly serious villain. Even though he shows up in roughly a third of the episodes, each time the ante is upped. Be it time travel, launching the Baxter Building into space, body swapping, or even trapping the F.F. in the Negative Zone, he is always portrayed as nothing less than a dire threat to the F.F.'s survival and a bitter rival to Reed. I also need to mention the numerous, heroic guest stars.

    The Hulk, Iron Man, Ant Man, and She Hulk all grace this series in guest starring roles. Usually in cartoons based off comics, when there are guest stars the show tends too loose a few I.Q. points. That's not the case here. The brawl between the Thing and the Hulk is masterfully drawn, paced, and though out. Tony Stark was shown to be both arrogant and a genius on Richard's level, without taking anything away from the F.F. Hell, even Ant Man, who talks to ants, was handled in a way that made the character engaging. A large part of what pulls this off is the animation.

    This show treads that fine line between detailed imagery and fluidity that often cancel each other out. The flame covering the Human Torch is shown licking all around him in great detail. The cracks on the Thing's thick hide have a slight 3-D quality to them. Even so, no one ever stops moving. There is absolutely none of that awkward stillness that usually follows a sharp increase in detail. As a fan of animation, I find this amazing. Yes, some of the character designs (the Torch and Thing) take an episode or two to get used to. Once you do, they are hardly a problem.

    The stories are well written and animated. The characters are true to their roots, with no compromises being made. The writers of this show even found a way to balance grave danger with mild humor in a way that manages to never pull any punches. In short, this show surpasses every previous animated incarnation of the Fantastic Four to ever grace the screen by miles.

    One last thing, buy the season box set and not the other smaller releases. This way you can sit back and enjoy the story lines in the order they were meant to be seen. Trust me, it really makes a difference and puts this program on top as it has a fairly tight serial quality to it. Season one of the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes costs about $26.99, at Amazon, which is pretty much a dollar per episode. I cannot stress how much this was money well spent on my part or how blown away by this series I was. Shame on you, Cartoon Network, for not giving it a fighting chance.
  • It doesn't seem to me that many comic book fans enjoy many superhero shows focused on humour itself, or maybe it's just me.

    But quite frankly, this is not only by far the best animated series the FF were ever featured on, but also one of the most enjoyable superhero shows period. I say this not only due to the animation - which, fortunately, is mostly based on real drawings rather than 3D effects, mostly used for some background elements like cars -, but also due to the humour: everyone's expecting a high-tempered Thing and a prankster-like Human Torch, but my biggest surprise was the representation of the other 2, which really had no meaning to me until the release of this series. Reed Richards is a pure stereotype of "geekiness" which delves himself too deep into his own curiosity and ends up generally procrastinating; The Invisible Woman, on the other hand, is the "mother", most adult-behaving member of the group, and not afraid to take the spotlight when everyone else misbehaves - and I really end up believing that she is, in fact, the real leader of the group, rather than Reed Richards. Other than that, some of the ideas are well represented, Doom is a respectable villain - although a bit underpowered IMO -, and some special appearances of other Marvel superheroes are a breathe of fresh air.

    To sum it all up, the show's funny and lighthearted, never taking itself TOO seriously, but isn't that one of the key elements in most of Marvel's Animation? - excluding maybe the X-men and Spider-Man animated series, which even themselves were sometimes able to add some laughs to the scene -. After all, isn't Marvel supposed to feature younger and more adolescent-like heroes we can identify with?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A good natured, highly energized Anime style animation take on Marvel's Fantastic Four characters, pitting them against most of their classic foes: the Skrulls, Dr. Doom, Mole Man, etc.

    The voice acting is decent for the most part, with Brian Dobson being the stand out as Ben Grimm/The Thing, the writing and overall characterizations are good natured and not overly in your face with hipness and cynicism - though they do tend to overplay the Human Torch/Johnny Storm as a kind of reckless male bimbo - and the animation is bright & perky in its Japanese Anime type of way. The writing may not be Earth shattering - at times it feels like they tried to mix the happy go luckiness of Superfriends with the action sequences of various DCAU shows and even previous Marvel shows like the early 90s X-Men or Incredible Hulk season 1 - but it's still better than the 2005/2007 Fantastic Four movies directed by Tim Story of all people (at least the show remembers that Sue is a beautiful Caucasian woman and not a pasty skinned Hispanic girl with a bad bleach job).

    All in all, decent entertainment. There are worse ways you can spend your time.