Doomed: The Untold Story Of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four – Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Doomed: The Untold Story Of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four - Review

The Fantastic Four have had a tough time of it at the cinema, especially compared to Marvel’s myriad other properties. The troubles of Fox’s much maligned reboot from last year are well documented; reports of a difficult shoot and insidious studio interference were followed by a critical clobbering, and audiences disappeared quicker than Sue Storm. Hardcore fans have even clamoured for a rights deal to be brokered allowing the fearless foursome to join Marvel’s all-conquering Cinematic Universe, as Sony’s Spider-man did following a less than amazing sequel.

It seems timely, then, to see this documentary’s insight into low-budget schlock legend Roger Corman’s ill-fated and forgotten adaptation from the early 90s. Dismissed by Stan Lee and disowned by Marvel, the doomed movie had the plug pulled by the powers that be just days before its premiere.

On a tight schedule and even tighter budget, the film was never intended to compete with contemporary comic book blockbusters like Tim Burton’s Batman movies. Shot in a pest-infested warehouse that had been condemned by the fire department, on sets that had been recycled from Carnousaur, Corman’s bargain-bin answer to Jurassic Park, Fantastic Four nevertheless boasted a cast and crew that were committed to creating a film as best they could on limited means.



While it may now look more Danger 5 than Fantastic 4, it’s an endearing effort, and this documentary displays the passion and integrity of the cast and crew. Principal cast members even organised and funded their own publicity tour, including appearances at comic book conventions and children’s hospitals.

Despite the circumstances, the cast and crew members interviewed here showed little bitterness – just fond memories of a fun film. Having never been given a chance to see it themselves, some were even happy to buy bootlegged tapes on ebay.

While Doomed…’s end reveal may not feel as super-villainous as intended, and the occasionally stretched runtime might benefit from a television-friendly cut, this documentary is a sad but sweet underdog story for film fans.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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