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British Ministry agent John Steed, under direction from "Mother", investigates a diabolical plot by arch-villain Sir August de Wynter to rule the world with his weather control machine. Steed investigates the beautiful Doctor Mrs. Emma Peel, the only suspect, but simultaneously falls for her and joins forces with her to combat Sir August. Written by
John Hawkinson <email@example.com>
This movie based on the popular British TV series is such a flop it doesn't really deserve comment, but here are a few nonetheless.
This is the kind of movie making that really has you wonder if you should ever visit a theater again, when you consider the waste of millions of dollars on sets, special effects and high-powered actors that could have been used for such better causes (such as, oh, say a big-screen version of "My Mother the Car").
At any rate, the film got what it deserved by being universally panned by critics and bombing at the box office. It was then rushed out of theaters with the bad-film strategy that relative obscurity would result in more bread at the video stores.
Considering that Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List, Englsh Patient) and Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, etc.) were at the top of their box-office draw potential, and with the addition of the always popular Sean Connery in a unique role as a villain, one would think that this movie would have been a sure hit. However, the potential went lightning fast down the tubes, greased by a stinky script, second-guessed editing and incompetent direction.
The best elements of the original series, namely, its charm and style, are absent. A lot of the charm came from the relationship between Steed and Peel. But Fiennes' Steed is aloof and Thurman's Mrs. Peel is cold as ice. The two appear to be sleepwalking through their respective roles, with visions of fat paychecks dancing in their heads.
Ironically, an imprudent element of the TV series that was indicative of its downhill slide after the departure of Diana Rigg (the original Mrs. Peel), namely, the introduction of the silly character of "Mother," IS included in the film. Go figure.
Connery 's performance as a mastermind who can manipulate the world's weather falls flat. Like Fiennes and Thurman, he appears to be going through the motions of a script he has no faith in.
Quirky aspects of the original series that were cute and amusing have been replaced with gimmicks that are just unfunny strange and head-scratchingly bizarre. For example: the requisite cameo of an actor from the original series features only the voice of Patrick Macnee in the role of an invisible man behind a desk. What this character has to do with anything, other than adding to an already disjointed script, is anybody's guess.
On a website competently dedicated to the series it has been speculated that the director never saw a single episode of the TV Avengers. If you were any kind of fan, you will immediately observe that there is a good reason to believe this. Jeremiah Chechik's direction seems to lack any instinct for the flavor of the original series.
At any rate, with this brand of TV series-inspired movie making, you may find yourself yearning for "Return to Gilligan's Island." Originally hyped as a summer blockbuster, the cinematic version of "The Avengers" is only spectacular in its capacity to disappoint.
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