Regardless of whether they actually plan to do so or not, at some point every director who sets off to make a big-budgeted blockbuster ends up copying Steven Spielberg. It just has to happen. That’s because the bearded wonder has done so much behind the camera in this genre that you can’t help but pay homage to his efforts in some fashion. And The Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank has now come out and admitted that his goal from the first reel of the upcoming reboot is to emulate the "dark" tone of an "Amblin movie," the studio that Spielberg founded back in 1981 with Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.
Trank made these comments during an interview with Empire, where he was also joined by The Fantastic Four’s writer and producer Simon Kinberg. Kinberg added to these remarks by saying that The Fantastic Four will look to emulate the "Ambin-style approach to characterization, and to contextualizing everything in a real world." Basically, what the pair are trying to reinforce is that The Fantastic Four will be oozing verisimilitude, and the quartet of unexpected superheroes won’t have blue lycra stretched across their body.
But which classic Spielberg tale is The Fantastic Four likely to pay homage to in the summer? Well, the film’s dark textures, color palette and dim cinematography -- each of which were prevalent in the trailer -- immediately reminded this writer of E.T. Even the quick glance of suburbia made me think of Spielberg’s seminal 1982 masterpiece. Meanwhile there’s also bound to be touches of Jurassic Park's suspense and pacing, especially within The Fantastic Four's action scenes.
But, even though it was released before Amblin Entertainment was formed, Trank and Kinberg's aforementioned comments make me think that Spielberg's own Close Encounters Of The Third Kind will be the biggest influence on The Fantastic Four, especially as it plays on how an alien encounter has real-world effect on its characters. It probably won’t be anything like The Color Purple or Schindler’s List, though.
Meanwhile a clearly enthused Josh Trank also spoke at length about the inherent possibilities that are rooted within the material. However, rather than just simply copying the comic’s tone, Trank explained that they wanted to ramp up just how cinematic this tale will be. And what better way to do that than copying the man who basically created the blockbuster with Jaws back in 1975.
It still remains to be seen if Josh Trank can actually deliver his vision. But with each new passing trailer, clip and comment regarding The Fantastic Four, my confidence in the picture grows. And it’s shaping up to be one of the most intriguing and riveting superhero pictures of the modern era. We’ll see if The Fantastic Four can match these expectations when it hits screens on August 7.