Update! To “Fantastic Four…!”

Hmm, well on second look there are a few annoying things. First and foremost, it looks like the Puppet Master’s power is also tied in with the FF’s accident (whatever it was), and of course that’s bad: since this is a kid’s cartoon instead of a movie, it doesn’t need (and probably would be better off avoiding) an endless callback to the origin. I mean, is it necessary to have everything tied up in such a neat knot all the time? Can the Puppet Master’s clay not simply be “special radioactive clay”? I mean I suppose you don’t want kids seeking out radioactive clay to play with, but…

A minor quibble though, I guess.

It bugs me a little bit more that Ben has a big blue “4” apparently painted on his chest — in the first episode I saw, I just assumed it was a classic “hey Ben, you need a costume!” thing, and that I’d missed a few scenes of him walking around grumbling “stupid idea…like anyone’s gonna not know who I am…bad enough looking like a brick wall, they gotta put graffiti on me like one, too…” But apparently that never happened. Too bad! Also, Sue is in some kind of phenomenal shape, isn’t she? Looks like she got hit with cosmic Pilates rays…

And Ed was right, the visuals are unappealing for the most part — man, I just can’t stand cheap-looking computer animation, although it has to be said (and I think I did say it) that this is by no means the cheapest computer animation a Marvel cartoon’s ever had…

(Hey, by the way, WordPress is auto-saving my text here as I type…so awesome…)

…But in places you can see it working a bit better than it does in others, so I continue to have hope. And for the most part the figures and backgrounds do manage to look like they were drawn. I think the cheap-ass TV cartoon world has to date not quite settled into a groove with how best to interleave drawn and computer-generated elements yet, and I do believe that the integration of the two will get more seamless in time…hey, in a way it’s just like what’s going on in film: The Phantom Menace sometimes employed its CGI to great effect (mostly in creating more convincing “matte paintings”, that incorporated moving elements as well — hooray!), but then ran too far with it in the placement of unconvincing CGI characters in the foreground…and then you have Lord Of The Rings on the other end of this continuum, where Peter Jackson prefers for the most part to limit his CGI to atmospheric uses…and then where he doesn’t, to spend more time on making the integration smoother…

And, is this weird? I was kind of expecting Philip Masters to be white, somehow, and found it jarring that he was black. I don’t know…there are marriages where the father’s white and the mother’s black, so what’s wrong with that? I’m not calling racism on it, or anything silly like that, but I had a qualm…for a moment I thought “jeez, the bad guy’s black, well crap.” Ordinarily such things don’t bother me, like, one tiny little bit, so I don’t know why I noticed it here…maybe it was just because the Puppet Master’s whole shtick seemed to be misplaced jealousy and rage over other artists making the big bucks instead of him, and they’re all white, and he and Alicia are the only black people in the show…hey, I’m not saying it stopped me in my tracks, but it did occur to me, and usually this sort of thing doesn’t, so…could it have been just a dumb accident? Of course: just like the woman of Asian descent who wrote a book about her father’s confrontation with racism when he came to Canada, and who experienced an unfortunate dumb accident of her own in an interview about it…

INTERVIEWER: “Was it hard for you to write this book?”

AUTHOR: “Well, I’ll admit, it was a struggle…but it was my struggle…”

Italics mine, but really…what? If you were the interviewer, wouldn’t you have turned off the tape recorder at that point, and politely said “listen, no offence, but we’re gonna have to do that again with different words, never mind why, just trust me when I say you’ll be happier with it this way…” And yet it makes it into the paper somehow, and caused me to think “Aw, Christ, lady, please think before you speak…”

Then again, it could totally happen to anyone. So, Philip Masters is black, so what? So nothing, it just struck me as an unforeseen tonal consequence of a change made elsewhere. I notice the same thing whenever people mount productions of “Twelve Angry Jurors”, because to me the key to what that script is about is the interplay and breakdown of traditional authority structures, and representing that with white men seems much more on-point than making the jury room all demographically-balanced…and no one cares about this in the slightest except for me, so again: so what? So nothing. I just noticed, is all, and it’s interesting.

Upshot:  some annoying things, but I’m totally watching this again. Can’t wait, in fact!


One response to “Update! To “Fantastic Four…!”

  1. Pingback: On Blackness, Good And Bad « A Trout In The Milk·

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