The Avengers (1998)

reviewed by
Berge Garabedian

RATING:  7 / 10 --> Good movie

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This is the film that cost $60 million to produce, and earned only $25 million at the domestic box-office. Check. This is the film that had a lot of Hollywood actresses coveting the principal role of Emma Peel before its release, and the same many thanking their lucky stars after the film came out. Check. This is the film that was tagged "an absolute mess" by movie critic James Berardinelli, and not liked as much by many others. Check, check, check! So is it really that bad? Naaaaaaaah! Then again, I liked HUDSON HAWK (7/10), so beware of what you may find in the paragraphs below.

PLOT: Secret agent John Steed hooks up with one fine looking doctor in Emma Peel, in an attempt to figure out what is happening to the world's weather system. Believing that one Mr. August de Wynter is behind the whole conspiracy, the duo set out to stop him and save the world from his meteorological concoctions.

NOTE: I've never seen one episode of the old TV show, so I cannot base my review on any of that. Besides, I like to rate a movie on its own merits.

CRITIQUE: This movie's got a truckload of style, a bunch of funky fashions and mod retro-fun, a decent amount of action, but less than I would have expected, some cool special effects and slick gadgeteries, a quick runtime, but a hole-filled plot line that's just too complex for its own good. There are many things that just didn't work in this movie's narrative, but on the whole, the film was fun for me because it offered just enough style, action and humour, to allow myself to dismiss the entanglement of its plot. The film was also very tongue-and-cheekish from the get-go, and laughed at its absurdity as much as we were supposed to. Sure it had a lame bad guy in Sean Connery. Sure the preposterous idea of one man controlling the world's weather is ridiculous beyond mere words. But seeing that 90% of all action movies that hit our movie screens nowadays have the suspension of disbelief factor grilled up to the highest fantastical levels anyway, I didn't feel like this movie asked for much more than just that.

This movie is bubble-gum for the style lovers, and a spit wad for those not. It had a pretty cool spy-laced score, a bevy of wonderful set designs, and many other original ditties to occupy my mind as it floated through this 90-minute festival of cotton candy. And if you really think that the plot is overly complicated, just look at it this way: Peel and Emma= the good guys, Mr. August de Wynter= the bad guy. Everything else is just pudding after that. Now you may all think that I am reviewing this film positively because I'm high on pot or something, or that my ground-level low expectations elevated this sub-mediocre discovery to decent time. Well...maybe. The truth is that I'm not high, but I certainly did go into this picture with the lowest of expectations. But despite all that, I came out with a smile on my face, and a pretty sweet flick in my noggin. Ocular junkfood for your eyes, cloudy fodder for your mind.

Little Known Facts about this film and its stars: Uma Thurman's full name is Uma Karuna Thurman. She recently married fellow actor Ethan Hawke, and had his child on the 8th of July, 1998. They named their child Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke (natch!). She was previously married to actor Gary Oldman for a brief period between 1990 and 1992. Uma's dad, Robert, is a professor of Asian religion, and named her Uma, after a Hindu Goddess. He was also the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Budhist monk. Uma's born in Boston, Mass. Sean Connery once said that he thought that the James Bond movies were stagnating and that Quentin Tarantino should direct the coming ones. He has two small tattoos on his right arm. One says "Scotland forever", the other "Mum and Dad". He got them when he enlisted in the British Navy at the age of 16. Sean Connery wore a toupee in all of his James Bond movies. He started loosing his hair already at the age of 21. Privately and in most other movies, he wears none. Ralph Fiennes wants people to pronounce his first name as "Rafe", and has a middle name of Nathaniel. Director Jeremiah S. Chechik is born in my own city of residence, Montreal, Canada.

Review Date:        December 29, 1998
Director:                Jeremiah S. Chechik
Writer:                    Don MacPherson
Producer:              Jerry Weintraub
Actors:                   Ralph Fiennes as John Steed
                               Uma Thurman as Emma Peel
                               Sean Connery as Sir August de Wynter
Genre:                   Action
Year of Release:  1998
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(c) 1999 Berge Garabedian

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