Fantastic Four – The Complete 1994-95 Animated Television Series

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Beau Weaver as Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards/Additional Voices
Lori Alan as Invisible Woman/Susan Storm Richards
Quinton Flynn as Human Torch/Johnny Storm
Chuck McCann as The Thing/Benjamin J. Grimm
Stan Lee as Himself
Brian Austin Green as Human Torch/Johnny Storm
Simon Templeman as Dr. Doom
Tony Jay as Galactus / Terrax the Destroyer
Neil Ross as Puppet Master / Dr. Doom/Victor von Doom
Kathy Ireland as Crystal
Clyde Kusatsu as Karnak / Annihilus
Iona Morris as Medusa

Special Features:
All 26 Episodes from the 1994-95 series

Stan Lee’s Soapbox

Episode Introductions by Stan Lee

Number of discs: 4

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Running Time: 569 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“It’s here–the longest-running Marvel series in history arrives for the first time on DVD in this spectacular four-disc set, featuring all 26 episodes of the heralded 1990′s animated series. Learn the origin of the Fantastic Four, and be there as Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and The Thing save the world from the dastardly Doctor Doom and his legion of villains. Now you can relive every action-packed episode, complete with exclusive introductions by Stan Lee. It’s a fantastic DVD collection you’ll want to experience over and over again.”

Fantastic Four is not rated.

The Series:
I remember seeing the Fantastic Four animated series when it first aired in 1994. I was somewhat impressed by the Spider-Man series, so I was eager to see how they adapted the “World’s Greatest Comics Magazine”. I am a big fan of the Fantastic Four. So imagine my horror when the first episode started with the FF at a telethon with Dick Clark. (Yes, Dick Clark really had a guest appearance.) Things got progressively worse as the story unfolded. It was a terrible mess. The animation was so poor that the logo on their costumes would become inverted between scenes and the lips rarely matched the dialogue. Johnny Storm’s flames also looked badly pixilated like they were made on a computer. It didn’t help matters that the opening theme song sounded like it came from the 80′s and featured terrible lyrics. Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) was also a spaz and a moron that did stupid antics through the show. Needless to say I didn’t make it to the end of the first episode.

When this DVD arrived, I decided to give the series a second chance. I watched a few more episodes and came to the realization that though it was still bad, it got better as the show progressed. First off, they got rid of the terrible theme song in the second season. Second, they managed to do decent adaptations of the comic books. We see Alicia Masters impersonate the Invisible Woman. We see the Watcher try to protect the Earth from Galactus. We see many other trademarks from the comic stories. The show also featured a ton of comic characters like Annhilius, The Inhumans, Namor, Firelord, Blastaar, Silver Surfer, the Skrulls, and more. There are even cameos by other heroes like Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Thor, and Hulk. So this, in my book, made it a bit more tolerable. It was still bad, but it was tolerable.

This show also had a great voice cast. You had Brad Garrett as Hydro-Man, Michael Dorn as Gorgon, Kathy Ireland as Crystal, John Rhys-Davies as Thor, Keith David as Black Panther/T’Challa, Richard Grieco as Ghost Rider, and John Rhys-Davies as Thor. Mark Hamill even had multiple roles as Maximus the Mad, Sentry, and Triton while Ron Perlman was The Wizard, Hulk, and Robert Bruce Banner. Hearing these guest voices made it a bit more bearable.

But as much as I didn’t care for the Fantastic Four show, my kids have absolutely loved it. Even my daughter has watched it over and over and this is not something she’d normally watch. I’m amazed at how much they like it. So if you’re looking to entertain some kids for a few hours, this will work.

The Extras:
There are only two bonus features on this DVD:

Stan Lee’s Soapbox – Just like on the Spider-Man animated series DVDs, Stan Lee does a brief interview. He talks about how he came up with the idea for the FF characters, his thoughts on the comic, and more. But I was particularly amazed to see him talk about the comparisons between the FF and The Incredibles. Lee takes the imitation very well and says it’s the sincerest form of flattery.

Episode Introductions by Stan Lee – Lee opens each of the episodes with a few brief comments.

The Bottom Line:
Kids will love this Fantastic Four animated series, but the excellent voice cast and the cool comic character cameos barely offset the poor animation and cheesy portrayals of some of the FF characters.

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