Let's first add some context. My 1994 involved the crackle of dial-up internet, Pulp Fiction, and Bill Clinton.
The other thing that happened that year was the release of a Fantastic Four movie. Well, "release" in more of a metaphorical, masturbatory meaning of the word instead of a "film distribution" sense. See, there was some copyright rigamarole (you can find a run-down here) that kept a film that had been made to completeness from being placed in front of the eyes of people.
And so, through the power-coupling of the internet and unsanctioned distribution, we have Roger Corman's Fantastic Four. (Thank you, YouTube)
The story of this superhero team should be about as familiar as how Frankenstein's Monster becomes Frankenstein's Monster at this point. Four people, three dudes and a lady, get scienced into some superpowers. These superpowers are equal parts ridiculous and useless alone (except for the dude who TURNS INTO FIRE), but together they can overcome great evil. That evil comes in the form of Victor Von Doom who is also transformed by the same science-stuff as the other four...the FANTASTIC FOUR.
|Yes, the bad guy's name is Doom...these characters are based on comic books, after all.|
This Roger Corman version hits on all of these notes with the slight variation that Doom is tranformed far before the others in a college science experiment he's working on with Reed Richards ("Mr. Fantastic"...yes, again, these are the most comic-booky of comic books!)
|Reed Richards is...STRETCHY!!|
|Johnny Storm is...FIREY!!|
|Sue Storm is...INVISIBLEY!!|
|Ben Grimm is...ROCKY (no, not the Stallone kind of Rocky...like, he's made of rocks.)|
Of course, this is a Roger Corman movie so it's made on about as much money as a TV-Movie-Of-The-Week. Because of those budget constraints, we can easily make fun of the special effects. So let's do that!!
Let's get two issues out of the way right now. First, virtually no one is a "Hard-Core Fantastic Four Fan" because they're meant to be silly fun, not slaves to comic book canon, frozen in a single moment of their storied history (Ahem: Spider-Man). Secondly, arguments about how this comic book family would have been treated better if only the license had been given to some big corporation for a film-version is...
So we can disregard any sorts of arguments about how this movie would have been better off more "grounded" and "realistic."
We have to simply accept that The Fantastic Four as a movie concept, and as comic book characters, are ridiculous. This film from 1994 is equal parts cringe-worthy (example: when they get those spandex outfits seen in the top picture) and ridiculous (example: the scene where Mr. Fantastic explains the connection of their superpowers to their personality traits), so, more than any other adaptations, IT FITS the source material.
I wouldn't exactly recommend this internet-only comic book movie because, well...the Fantastic Four are pretty stupid. But if you're dead-set on watching a Fantastic Four movie, this is the one you should go with. At least you'll laugh because you're supposed to laugh, instead of weeping at what might have been.
You can usually find Roger Corman's Fanastic Four movie on YouTube.