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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Search the cutting room floor for clues

Author: jake87 from Westfield, NJ
18 February 2003

As it turns out, the one group of diabolical masterminds that `The Avengers' can't outwit is film editors.

Still, despite its well-documented flaws, this movie doesn't quite deserve the peasants-with-pitchforks-and-torches reception that it got from fans of the 1960s British TV series.

For those who come to it with no expectations, well, your expectations won't necessarily be exceeded, but there are some fun bits. The movie version is as mindless as typical Hollywood summer action fare, but no worse.

First, the good news: screenwriter Don MacPherson does draw on a wealth of wacky plot points from the series; like that show, the movie does have stylish fashions and sets; it doesn't take itself too seriously.

But the heart of the show was the rapport between Patrick Macnee, playing suave agent John Steed, and his various leading ladies. In Cathy Gale, the brisk, buxom Honor Blackman created a leather-clad woman warrior who was still a feeling person. With her fashion-model figure and classical theater background, Diana Rigg made Emma Peel the ultimate in intelligence and charm. Voluptuous Linda Thorson was perhaps too young, but she brought a combination of physicality and bubbliness to Tara King.

Macnee provided graceful support to these three very different actresses, and the show arguably reached its height during the black-and-white Diana Rigg season. While Rigg made an arch, androgynous Emma Peel, her chemistry with Macnee produced role models for female-male relations.

It's a difficult formula to emulate, and there may have been worse choices that Ralph Fiennes as the movie Steed. The Rock comes to mind. But while Fiennes is attractive and seems kindly off-screen, on-screen he generates all the warmth and charm of week-old bath water.

And while Macnee did as few stunts as possible _ as even a cursory glance at a TV episode clearly shows _ he at least looked formidable. Fiennes looks like a gust of wind would blow him away _ unfortunate, considering the film's weather-related plot.

In contrast, the athletic Uma Thurman creates her own special effect as Emma Peel. Her dangerous curves seem to defy the laws of physics, filling catsuits in ways that the underendowed Diana Rigg couldn't imagine, much less match.

And Thurman's Emma starts out well, with her early scenes providing much of Rigg's breezy playfulness. Alas, the more time she spends with Fiennes, the more she mimics his mumbling, diffident performance. As the scenes jump around almost at random, Thurman's version of Emma becomes equally fractured.

Sean Connery gives a one-note performance, and one wishes that only dogs could hear him. Of course, the choppy editing doesn't give him a chance at grace notes. The megalomaniacs on TV episodes were often eccentrics in a script filled with eccentrics, with highly personal grievances and plots.

The movie lacks those charming supporting characters, and in this underpopulated movie, Connery is the obvious bad guy right from the start. Still, even if the cast is adrift, there is some genuine feeling between the Steed and Peel characters. It's a pale copy of the Macnee-Rigg pairing, but one suspects there was a better movie here that got derailed on the Hollywood assembly line.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

You've got to be joking

Author: Robert M. Flaxman from South Orange, NJ
30 August 1998

It looked good on the trailers, and with Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery how could there be anything too wrong with it? Has Ralph Fiennes ever been in a disappointing movie? Well, if he hasn't before, he certainly has now.

The dialogue was forced, the plot came out too rapid fire, and it's never really even explained who was who. There were some good special effects, but movies that think special effects can cover up bad plot are just wrong.

This movie was just bad. I'll give a D and I really wish I hadn't wasted even 87 minutes of my time.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's not a bad movie at all!

Author: darkangel-5 ( from Budapest, Hungary
1 July 2003

I felt forced to write a comment on this movie, because I had previously found it on the top list of worst movies of all times. I still believe it was a nice try, good actors, good acting and lyrically beautiful! I guess most people who had seen this movie concentrated too much on the plot, which actually doesn't really exist, but the movie is not about a possible interesting plot. The movie Avengers entertain us in a different way, it is more like a theatrical piece on the big screen. I really enjoyed the spoken words in the movie, poems replaced conversations. And all this lingual beauty put in a colorful, amazingly well-made, painting-like cinematography. This movie is like indulging ourselves in the world of beautiful paintings and colors, and literature at the same time. So who cares about any plot?

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

So nobody has a sense of humor anymore, is that it?

Author: Clint Walker from Illinois, USA
13 December 1999

I'm not going to spend a great deal of time trying to argue the point, but I like this film.

I'm too young to remember the original series all that well, but I do recall watching it in reruns when I was a little guy. And let me ask you, what young kid, on the cusp of manhood, wouldn't have dropped their jaws at the original Emma Peel?

Unfortunaly, I don't think that many other people my age feel the same way I do about the series, so I can understand why this bombed in theatrical release. But thanks to video, I hope this film will catch on as a cult hit.

What did I like about it? Well, I thought the campy tone fit the silly feel of the original series quite well; Also, the idea of an unbrella as a weapon of destruction just seems cool to me; Plus, Uma Thurman certinaly isin't Diana Rigg, but she's not exactly hard on the eyes either.

Please don't listen to the critics on this one. If you like Austin Powers or are just discovering the joys of the old spy flicks, you'll enjoy this one.

Just remember to try to find episodes of the original series as well.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Terrible movie making at its worst

Author: raymond-bottomley from United Kingdom
8 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the worst film ever made with good actors bar none. What were they thinking. They have assembled some of the cream of Hollywood acting talent and managed to get the worst performance of each leading roles career.It is a miracle that Sean Connery, Uma Thurman and Ralph Feinnes were all duped into thinking that this was a Stella project to work on.The direction is poor.The script is dreadful.Thurmans accent is awful.Even the effects are below par.The exec who commissioned this tosh must have lost his job after this was aired. It is so bad that it should have been puled before decent people had the displeasure of watching it. Seriously mad man taking over the world with bad weather, I know it is only fiction but how unberleiverble can you get. This film serves as a fine example that you should never under any circumstances revert back to the past. If I could put a lower score I would have done.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: tina_sparks from United States
6 June 2005

I can't remember the last time I have seen such a horrible movie. Went to see it with my sister and walked out of the theater. First time I've ever done that. It's a shame too, because I'm such a fan of Sean Connery. However, I have a real problem with Uma Thurman. She keeps getting worse and worse in each of her movies. What's up with that. But back to the movie - I never saw the television series so I'm not really qualified to compare the two. But after watching the movie, I have no desire to see the show. I can't understand why it didn't work, but if I ever run into Mr. Connery I'm going to ask for my $6.00 dollars back. It's the least he could do

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Um, yes, it's "that" bad...perhaps worse

Author: NotMoreMovies from United States
26 November 2004

Yes, this movie is "that" bad! I can usually find something interesting...something funny in every movie...

And the fact that Sean Connery was in this movie, and not even HE was any good just adds to the confusion.

The screenplay is more incoherent than "Freddy Got Fingered"--a horrible movie also, but at least it made me laugh a few times.

The characters are less interesting than those in "From Justin to Kelly"

This movie is almost like a "Plan 9 from Outer Space" but with modern special effects.

This movie wins my personal award for the "most unwatchable." Meaning, although I advise people to watch movies I might consider "bad" for themselves....PLEASE trust me...don't even bother. :)

I can barely remember any of it, it's a memory my mind is trying to repress.

My all-time "worst" movie award goes to Tom Green's "Freddy Got Fingered." But it's such PURE trash, parts of it are actually worth seeing....I don't know why...but it is. Maybe it's just because he acts so stupid it holds your interest. :)

Please do not rent this movie...patiently wait for it to be broadcast, or if you happen to see it on cable, I DARE you to sit through the whole thing w/out a burning desire to either fall asleep or change the channel! 'Cause if you rent it, you'll demand your money back. :-P

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This film is the work of Satan - that's all I have to say on the subject...

Author: Richard Phillips-Jones from Southern England
2 October 2004

I know that this isn't much in the way of an "in-depth" review, but the experience of seeing this film was too painful to dwell on in depth, so here goes.

This piece of tripe stole 2 hours of my life which I will never be able to retrieve.

I only hope that any fans of the fantastic TV series will be able to wipe the memory of watching this farrago from their memory.

I can say, in all honesty, that I have never had such a painful movie-watching experience in all my time on this planet.

This film is the work of Satan - that's all I have to say on the subject...

Watch at you own peril!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Worth revisiting - in time a cult classic

Author: ps-614-910386 from United Kingdom
21 December 2009

I saw the Avengers movie at the cinema when it first came out and recall being suitably underwhelmed. As a fan of the original series it seemed all wrong in so many ways. Anyway out of curiosity I bought it on DVD to have anther look and it is actually rather good - it seems to have been improved by time. Rather like a cheap bottle of plonk which has surprisingly matured into a rather fine vintage. So what is better now? Firstly the theme of a lunatic madman trying to control the world's weather has a timely resonance it perhaps didn't have 10 years ago. Climate change topicality aside what was enjoyable was the self consciously clipped and pun laden dialogue between Peel and Steed. 10 years ago we all hated both depictions as somehow not being true to the original but what one realises is that this is two people very knowingly playing (with) the parts and dialogue in a way which is a perfect update and seems to really work now The humour and irony are very nicely understated - it pulls off that all but impossible combination of parody and thriller in a way Bond used to do before it went all machismo.. The only real shame is that it is so short. So if you if you saw it before and hated it - perhaps try again you may be pleasantly surprised.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not as bad as people think, nowhere near as good as it should have been

Author: 23skidoo-4 from Calgary, Canada
7 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Avengers must rank as one of the biggest disappointments in 1990s film. Uma Thurman as sexy TV icon Emma Peel? Ralph Fiennes as suave John Steed? Sean Connery as a James Bond-inspired villain? What more could one ask.

Well, a better grasp of what made The Avengers such as success on television, for starters. Not that the 1998 film version doesn't attempt here and there to replicate the feel of the original series. Connery's weather-controlling madman is right out of the TV show's playbook, as is a segment virtually lifted whole from the classic Emma Peel episode "The House That Jack Built" -- and while I think Elizabeth Hurley or Catherine Zeta Jones would have been much more suitable choices for Emma Peel, Uma Thurman does hit most of the right notes. Elsewhere, though, it falls short.

Fiennes just doesn't feel right as Steed. Except for his opening scene prancing through a Ministry test-fighting range -- considered by some to be the best and most Avengers-like moment in the film (perhaps due to a welcome cameo appearance by the original Avengers TV theme music) -- he comes off as rather wimpy for lack of a better word. Patrick Macnee's Steed had charisma and was revealed in the TV series to be capable of being quite thuggish when the situation demanded. Fiennes displays none of Macnee's qualities. You know you're in trouble when Macnee, who has an amusing voice-only cameo in the film, displays more personality and charisma with his voice alone than Fiennes does in the entire film.

Also a disappointment is Sean Connery, who clearly seems off his game here (thankfully he bounced back in his next film, Entrapment, ironically co-starring one of my dream Mrs. Peels, Catherine Zeta Jones; that film suggests the type of chemistry that is totally lacking between Connery and Thurman in this film). His voice doesn't sound right for some reason, almost as if he played the role with a cold.

The biggest problem with the film was the decision to cut its length considerably, strangely enough in the process deleting many of the scenes in the trailer. Without these scenes, much of the film makes little sense, especially the rather unexplained presence of Peel's evil double, whose existence is better explained in the cut scenes. (I highly recommend tracking down the novelization of this film, which includes the cut scenes and makes a lot more sense than the movie).

As a longtime Avengers fan I was also disappointed by some of the character decisions. Once again modern filmmakers appear unable to take platonic characters from TV and let them keep their lips apart in the movies. The introduction of a romantic subplot between Steed and Peel really feels out of place and goes back to what I said earlier -- that you need an understanding of how the source material works in order to do a good remake.

All this said, The Avengers as a movie isn't the worst thing ever made. And it's entertaining in its own way. At the very least watching Uma Thurman parade through in a series of sexy outfits is not an unpleasant waste of 90 minutes. But as a remake of a classic TV series, this was yet another failed attempt at recapturing the magic, something that is extremely hard to do at the best of times and has only been accomplished by a handful of projects, such as the recent revivals of Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who.

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