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With the recent DVD release of the Fantastic Four came the prospect of yet more confusing variations between the differing regions. I thought it might be useful to take a look at some of these differences, which are a great advertisement for the freedom afforded to owners of multi-regional DVD players. To be honest there aren't as many changes as there would be in, say, a director's cut, but there are enough to potentially upset those expecting certain scenes.

The most widely-recognised difference between the two versions of the film is the scene in which Reed and Sue first begin to rekindle their romance. In the UK theatrical cut and DVD release this takes place during a walk with a view of the Statue of Liberty, as evidenced by this screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
The original version of this moment is known as the 'Planetarium with a Kiss' scene, which was included in the theatrical cut in territories such as Hong Kong, France and Germany, as evidenced by this screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
However, this scene is actually truncated from the original version, ending in a rather abrupt close-up of Reed before the actual kiss takes place. The full scene is included in the deleted scenes section of the bonus disc and plays a little better, as evidenced by this screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
A curious change, if ever I saw one. However, there is yet more to come. As well as the visual differences, the Hong Kong DVD release also omits one or two lines of dialogue during the climactic battle towards the end of the film. In the UK theatrical and DVD versions Dr. Doom says the line 'Goodbye, Ben' as he walks towards the Thing with a steel girder, but this line is missing from the Hong Kong DVD release. Click here for a clip from the UK disc, or here for the same scene Hong Kong style.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
Next up we have another visual difference between the UK and Hong Kong DVD releases. During the scene in which Dr. Doom is caught in the nova flame, he turns to camera and lets out a yell. In the UK release the yell is just that, as evidenced by the screen capture below.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
However, the Hong Kong release adds a small visual effect to the scene. When Doom turns and yells, a fiery breath is emitted, as you can see from the screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
This is a neat little touch, but another curious difference. The next variation is once again of the aural variety. After Doom emerges from the nova flame in the UK version he says the lines ‘Is that the best you can do? A little heat?’ before he is doused in water. However, the Hong Kong release omits the ‘A little heat?’ portion of the dialogue Click here for a clip from the UK disc, or here for the same scene from the Hong Kong release.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
The final change during the confrontation relates to the way in which our heroes defeat Doom. In the UK release the Thing breaks open a fire hydrant and Mr. Fantastic uses his body to direct the jet towards the molten villain. This can be seen in this screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
However, in the Hong Kong release the Thing doesn’t appear to need Mr. Fantastic’s help, as he is solely responsible for directing the jet with his foot, as evidenced by this screen capture. Oddly, Mr. Fantastic still has wet hair in the following shot, indicating that the effect was always supposed to appear!

Fantastic Four Regional Differences

The final change occurs during Reed's proposal to sue on the boat at the end of the film. In the UK theatrical and DVD versions Reed can be seen bending down on one knee while using his stretching powers to maintain eye level with Sue. Here's  the screen capture for proof.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
However, the Hong Kong release completely omits this shot, instead showing Reed kneeling down to propose without the aid of his powers. Here's the screen capture.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
One last thing I'd like to mention is the difference between Dr. Doom's voice in the region two and region three releases. In the UK version his voice sounds almost natural, while the Hong Kong version has him sounding more like he's talking through a mask. It's particularly evident during the scene in which he tortures Mr. Fantastic.

Fantastic Four Regional Differences
Click here for a clip from the UK release, and here for a clip from the Hong Kong disc. Remind anyone of the aliens from the mini-series V?

Well there you go. There are enough changes in this one to upset those who are familiar with the film, but overall none of the alterations really have an effect on the plot. In fact, a couple of them actually improve the film (I never liked the way Reed looked during his 'stretch' proposal for one thing). If pushed I'd have to say that the UK version just edges out the Hong Kong release because it's more 'polished', but the differences are negligible. I do like the more 'mechanical' voice used for Doom in the Hong Kong release, and those of you unfamiliar with the film might want to plump for that disc simply because it's cheaper and comes packaged in an extremely nice Digipak, as opposed to the boring old Amaray used in other territories. It also appears to have a slightly better transfer than the region two release. Choice is the best thing about owning a multi-regional player and in this case the choice, as they say, is yours.

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