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What the hell happened?!?!?!?!?!

Author: Kiwibob (brentonmcintosh@hotmail.com) from Auckland, New Zealand
23 November 2000

Dear God in Heaven what the hell happened with this film?

I got to see this movie for free and I still felt short changed... considering that they had a great cast to work with and a whole lot of cash to throw around SOMETHING WENT TERRIBLY WRONG HERE!!!!!

This film playesd like a Simpsons version of the Avengers... I mean Big Ben being hit by lightning ands EXPLODING?!?!?! WHAT EXPLODED HERE PEOPLE?????? Big Ben has been hit by lightning thousands of times over the years (as have most of the worlds taller buidings) and seems to have survived quite well thank you.... did Sean Connery find out a way to blow up iron?

I hear that the two and a half hour version of the film made more sense(it sure could not make any less)... but I don't want to watch it to find out.

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Ridiculous waste of time

2/10
Author: Neal Klein from TX, USA
18 October 2000

Many negative comments I have read on the film center on a comparison between the TV series of the '60's and this ... film. Taking this movie on its own (ahem) merits, one can see how weak and poor it really is.

Don't try to figure out motivation. Too much of the film ended up on the cutting room floor to leave coherent explanations for DeWynter's reasons for doing what he does. The clone of Emma Peel is a loose end we never really understand. (It's simply another contrivance, like so much of the plot of this movie.) And the chemistry between Fiennes and Thurman is difficult to believe.

Sadly, the cast is a very talented assortment displaying no talent to speak of. Fiennes and Connery deliver their lines with the strength of a TV movie. And while Uma Thurman makes an attempt at actually acting (with a passable British accent), her performance is underutilized by the laughable direction.

And I haven't even compared this to the original TV series. When that is made, you can see this piece of trash for what it really is.

Emma Peel is not a weak or easily intimidated character. The director of this movie thought otherwise. John Steed is not a flat, joyless robot. Apparently, Ralph Fiennes had to interpret Steed in this way as to make him less likeable. The sets did not emphasize the loopy eccentricities made famous in the series. Instead, the feel of the story is incongruous and annoying. And it's revolting if you loved the original series.

I was astonished to see this film being sold in stores for $8 (pre-viewed). Word of mouth made certain it was one to avoid. And to save your time and minimize your revulsion, don't even rent it. Watch the original series and rejoice in that original atmosphere and clever campiness.

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Great film

Author: Peter W. Owens (lightsaber01@hotmail.com) from Maine
27 September 2000

Apparently I'm part of the minority of film-goers who actually liked this movie. Par for the course, since I'm somewhat eclectic in my tastes. Anyway, I thought this film was excellent. It shows, for once and for all, that one does not need a 40-billion-dollar mega-blaster and trillions of rounds of ammunition. Sometimes, the movie points out, the simplest things work the best; I liked the fact that there was a sword-fighting scene, the fact that Uma Thurman's character took out the baddie without using a fancy wristwatch or wristband-laser-gadget. (I want to say, for the record, I love Bond movies, but sometimes the simpler ways are just as good.) The simple humor of tea time and such is a good reminder that, in the grand scheme of things, it's not only important to fight for something, but to occasionally take time out to appreciate-truly appreciate-what one is defending. Tea time, crumpets, and such, to a non-Britisher like me, is showing that you can have a good time without the typical American idea of "let's get drunk and screw." The humor was ideal; cat and mouse, understated with a delicious sense of wanting more, yet being strangely satisfied with the status quo. I absolutely fell down laughing when I saw "Alice" bring a tommy gun out of her handbasket on the bike. It was a gentle spy story, which is a refreshing change of pace with, as I said before, simplicity beating out an agent with a machine gun.

I actually will be so bold as to hope for a sequel.

Long live the Avengers. Mrs. Peel, you're needed!

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a nice little movie with too many special effects

6/10
Author: pzanardo (pzanardo@math.unipd.it) from Padova, Italy
22 September 2000

"The Avengers" contains no obscenities, no coarseness, no trash talk, no beastly violence: this could be largely enough to recommend this little pleasant movie. All the actors are nice and work well: in particular, of course, Sean Connery as the villain is a treat. There is a good deal of English sense of humor, with its amiable apparatus of bowler-hats, umbrellas, cups of tea, etc. For instance, I liked the perfectly good-mannered talking between people killing each other. There are also some subtleties. A remarkable one: when Thurman tries to escape from Connery's palace, she gets trapped into a sort of mathematical paradox, a homage to Escher's paintings (I fear most audience missed to notice it, though). In my opinion, a fault of the movie is the excess of special effects, which fail to blend with English humor. On the whole, to view "The Avengers" is a moderately funny but relaxing way of spending 90 minutes. Possibly, the absence of ultra-violence, sexualities and all that has affected its success, but I will be the very last to blame the director and the producers for this.

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Not quite up to expectations

3/10
Author: mhi from Karlsruhe, Germany
14 September 2000

Admittedly I never did see the original series, but I can't imagine it having been this uncreative. Seemed to me like they tried to put too many things about the main characters into too little showtime, creating all sorts of strange plot holes. Also more than once the gadgets and FX look out of place - using decidedly low-tech giant beach balls to walk across the Thames doesn't really strike me as fitting here.

The preview actually had some better scenes and cuts in it than the movie. I for one felt cheated.

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Sacrilege

3/10
Author: gbheron from Washington, DC
3 September 2000

This movie fails on all levels; acting, story, direction…. you name it and the director and his team screwed it up. And screwed it up bad. Compounding the injury is that it's done with an A-list cast and a big budget. And the topper is that this is a cinematic remake of the much-adored British television show. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

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Awful, saved by one thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author: GizzUK from beverley, east yorkshire, uk
17 August 2000

This has to be one of the worst films i have ever had the misfortune of seeing........APART from one thing, which is the superb cameo performance from rock legend SHAUN RYDER of happy mondays/black grape fame, he is fantastic so its 1/10 for the film, but 9/10 for shaun the superstar!!!!!!

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Not bad at all, but could have been so much better...

7/10
Author: Sentinel-15 from Antwerp, Belgium
28 July 2000

The original Avengers series is one of the best TV series ever made. It mixed spy intrigue with weird, surreal plots & settings, putting two eccentric heroes against even more eccentric villains. So it was with high expectations fans waited for this movie.

But something terrible happened. Test screenings Warners Bros. did for their stylish adaptation of "The Avengers" (based on the color episodes with Patrick "John Steed" MacNee and Diana "Mrs. Peel" Rigg) were disastrous; for whatever reason, the audience - many of which had probably never seen episodes of the series and had likely expected something different - just didn't "get it". Audience response was reportedly pretty negative, to say the least.

The people at WB panicked and in an effort to somehow make the movie more "accessible" (or whatever) and speed it up somewhat, some 30 minutes(!) of footage (maybe more, I don't have exact figures) were cut. Which, unsurprisingly, shows in the final version. Plot elements - like the mysterious "evil twin" of Emma Peel, and the real Mrs. Peel's knowledge of the password that gained them entrance to Sir August DeWynter's lair - are suddenly left unexplained. What we got was basically an incomplete movie.

Which is a shame, of course, especially since there are so many good things about it. The movie is actually very faithful to the series.

The surreal settings, like the strangely empty streets of London, for example, or the delightfully deranged teddy bear meeting; the scene with the stairs in DeWynter's castle, the rural English village that's actually a training ground for secret agents...

While it is impossible to replace the on-screen charisma & presence of the original actors, in my opinion Ralph Fiennes was decent as John Steed, albeit probably a bit too young for the part. Uma Thurman was good as Mrs. Peel; the movie version was maybe too perfect, being better at everything than Steed, which was overdoing it a bit. But in some scenes another side of her was revealed, showing feelings of insecurity on her part which nicely balanced out the otherwise flawless character. A nice psychological touch, I think (she might be trying to excel at things to make up for that insecurity, etc.)...

Casting Sean Connery - the "original spy", James Bond - as the villain, was an interesting idea. Some more insight in the character would have been nice, but that may be because of the unfortunate "editing"... Apart from that, he looked great in that teddybear suit. :)

For the rest: the movie had a nice Bond-style intro (and a nice Bond-style song by Grace Jones at the end), music was very nice, production design was great, a "60's meets the nineties" look which was a nice touch; SFX were good. There were cameos by stand up comedian Eddie Izzard, and the lead singer (can't remember his name) I believe, of that pop group the Happy Mondays(?) as henchmen of DeWynter. Speaking of cameos, Patrick MacNee, the original John Steed, makes an unseen appearance as "Invisible" Jones.

Final word, part 1: entertaining, not bad at all, but could have been so much better (it is incomplete; we need a director's cut!); if you are a fan of the TV series, or even if you're not, check this movie out, you might find you like it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Final word, part 2: test screenings are, in my opinion, a Bad Idea. (Thanks to the wonder of test screenings we got the infamous "happy ending" and voice-over tacked on to "Blade Runner", to name a good example...) Let's face it: test audiences almost destroyed this movie.

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As good as the TV series?

Author: sivartis from Los Angeles, CA
19 June 2000

My hope is that the series was a lot better. Although I've never seen the television show, I have the distinct impression that this movie was trying very hard to use the same humor as the series(s), yet also couldn't resist it's Hollywood heritage. That of the action flick. Now, as the rather loud people behind me in the theater kept reminding the rest of us, it wasn't believable in the least. Of course that in and of itself isn't a problem. After all, a big joy of movies is removing yourself from reality. However, you shouldn't necessarily be aware of it. With "The Avengers," I was almost painfully aware of discrepancies. I say almost because I'm able to remember more excruciating experiences with "Batman and Robin" (also with Uma. Hmmm...) and more recently with "Armageddon."

The major flaw seemed to be one of continuity within the story. And a sort of unenthusiasm among the actors. To her credit, Uma Thurman looked like she put more into her part than the rest of the cast. Whereas Ralph Fiennes and Sean Connery especially seemed like they weren't having all that much fun. What really disappoints me, though, is that at certain parts of the film, I actually drifted off to sleep. The only other time I've done that was during "The Last of the Mohicans." Yeah, I know. Oh, well, at least I can be consoled in the fact that I didn't pay full price for admission. Ah, matinees, what a wonderful thing.

As for turning "The Avengers" into a franchise, I'd still rather see "Alien 5" or "Lost in Space Again"

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Those Who Remember The Beloved Series Will Weep

2/10
Author: Mitch-38 from Houston, Texas
22 May 2000

Astoundingly predictable, dull and IQ deficient, THE AVENGERS is really not worth the swag of a rental. The script is lame, and it also doesn't help that the two leads possess no chemistry whatsoever. Ralph Fiennes could have just as well telephoned in his performance, and Uma Thurman probably harangued her agent for getting her this gig. The special effects were ok, but it doesn't take Fellini to figure why this tanked at the box office.

Sean Connery portrays the atypical mad genius character, which has been around since the dawn of movies, itself. Sean takes the ball and runs with it, churning out one of the hammiest performances I've witnessed in quite some time. Absolutely merciless. Patrick Macnee has a rather lengthy cameo, as well.

When one takes into account the talent involved, THE AVENGERS should have captured at least a little bit of the magic that graced the 1960's series. Alas, it proved the old adage correct: "You can't turn back the clock."

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