When an escort girl is found dead in the offices of a Japanese company in Los Angeles, detectives Web Smith and John Connor act as liaison between the company's executives and the investigating cop Tom Graham.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original script follows the same plot structure with a few differences . The most important details , which were either altered or trimmed altogether from the finished film , are the following:
In the opening sequence Emma Peel is working at Prospero Weather Base with her husband Peter Peel and his brother Valentine Peel. All the scientists are dealing with climatic changes. Peter gives Emma a ring. Shortly thereafter the base is blown up. Peter and Valentine are killed in the explosion but Emma barely makes it out alive.
The main villain is not named De Winter but Merriweather.
During the course of the plot, Emma has sporadic visions with Peter talking to her. This stresses the question if she is delusional or not and if she has a split personality.
The murder attempt scene does not take place during a snow blizzard but at a desert. This increases the hallucinating atmosphere and makes Steed more confused after waking up, wondering if this incident was a dream or not. Evil Emma was of course riding a camel during the attack.
During the final scenes Emma confronted Father in a massive room full of giant mirrors.
In the finale it was revealed that the evil mastermind was Valentine Peel in disguise. He had staged his death, was the culprit behind the explosion and killed Peter because he wanted the ring which contained important information about the weather. In an attempt to trick Emma, Valentine initially appears as disguised Peter in order to deceive her to hand him the ring. All the visions that Emma had were staged by Valentine.
The original cut of the film ran around 115m., according to advance reviews. Many of the scenes cut include:
The original opening sequence featured the "Evil Emma" infiltrating a secret base, the Prospero Project. She drives up to the base in a blue Jaguar on a secluded London highway, and enters through a red phone booth by uttering the words "how now brown cow? After gaining access to the base, she proceeds to kill several of the scientists and security personnel, and destroys the base by blowing it up.
The scene of Sir August De Wynter playing organ was originally shown after the opening. As the base blows up, he exclaims "let our revels begin!"
When Emma Peel enters the Gentlemen's club, the attendant who insists that she not enter because she is a woman continues to prevent her from entering, and which point she Karate chops him, which sends him flying down a flight of stairs.
A scene of Sir August De Wynter, dressed in the teddy-bear suit, rhythmically slicing the face of a scientist to classical music while trying to figure out the clues to the Prospero Project.
The first meeting between Emma Peel and John Steed was originally longer. You can see her walking through the corridors before she finally makes her way into the sauna. The dialogue is longer, more frank, and it isn't dubbed, as it is in the theatrical release.
A more coherent explanation of why Emma's Jag exploded after the mechanical bee attack.
Emma Peel drops from De Wynter's arms as she is escorted to his room. He doesn't let go of her, and brings her back up swiftly.
When Sir August De Wynter has Emma Peel in his bed, he lowers the zipper on her shirt just a little more.
More scenes of Peel and Steed walking through the corridors of Wonderland Weather.
Emma Peel bounces back and forth between the walls of her padded cell.
Sir August De Wynter drives to the World Council meeting in a Rolls Royce snowplow after it begins snowing heavily as a result of his weather machine.
More shots of Mother witnessing the worldwide destruction that the weather machine is causing.
More scenes of Peel and Steed walking through De Wynter's headquarters after they lower in through the telephone booth.
An extra shot of Big Ben exploding, shown from slightly farther away.
During the climactic battle between John Steed and Sir August De Wynter, De Wynter slices Steed with his sword several times. De Wynter raises his arms as the battle nears it's end. Steed becomes enraged toward the end of the battle. Note how Steed's shirt is inexplicably cut and bloodied after the fight begins.
After the Prospero Project self-detonates, a countdown clock begins to tick, nearing toward the explosion. When the explosions begins, the silver dome in the headquarters ( the one Steed and Peel pass when they enter) is shown exploding.
Is The Avengers a good film? No. Is it the worst film ever made? No. I first saw the movie at the cinema upon its release and, at that time, I did think that it was one of the worst films I'd seen up to that point. I've watched it 2 or 3 times since then and my opinion of it has improved, well, very slightly at any rate. Apart from a pervading incoherence, I think the film's major problem is its slightness; it's only an hour and a half long and the plot is very simplistic to say the least. It's not hard to imagine audiences feeling a bit short-changed when it first came out, especially as the film was a big-budget, would-be summer blockbuster. Another big problem is the casting of Uma Thurman as Emma Peel. Thurman has shown herself to be a fine actress in movies such as Pulp Fiction but she just looks out of her depth here (I never believed in her as a top-level scientist for a second) and her English accent doesn't sound natural. Nicole Kidman, to whom the role was first offered, would surely have been better, in particular, she's displayed flawless English accents in films such as The Others and The Hours. An English actress I also think would have made a great Peel is Joely Richardson but the studio would probably have vetoed such a choice on the grounds of her not being a big enough name. Ralph Fiennes was a real enigma in this film - there was nothing wrong in principle in casting him as Steed but he looks ill at ease throughout the movie as if he'd rather be elsewhere. I can only assume he'd already twigged that the film was going to be a turkey. What's worse, Fiennes and Thurman have absolutely no chemistry between them, which wastes the snappy dialogue they have with each other throughout the film. The supporting cast fare a bit better with seasoned pros such as Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent and Fiona Shaw making the most of their underdeveloped parts. The retro-chic world of the original TV series is nicely recreated and there's no shortage of nice cars, costumes and locations but what's good about the film is easily drowned out by what's bad; The Avengers is ultimately a shallow, rushed and messy affair, severely hampered by the performances of its two leads. Handled properly, the film could have been a wonderful success for all concerned, the first chapter of an entertaining and lucrative franchise, stretching well beyond the 1990s; instead it's one of the most embarrassing flops of that decade. The original cut of the film was apparently two and a half hours long but, following negative reactions from audiences at test screenings, the studio hacked the film down to its present one and a half hour length. This doesn't actually come as much of a surprise as there is a lack of proper narrative flow to the film suggestive of chunks of explanatory scenes having been cut out. Just one example: towards the end of the film, just before they enter Sir August's underwater lair, Steed and Peel enter a phone box and Peel says "how now brown cow?" down the phone. The phrase seems to be a password to enter the premises but how does Peel know it? There's been talk here and there of the possibility of Warners releasing a director's cut or special edition DVD, restoring the original two and a half hour version. I think this would be a good idea and I'd definitely be interested in watching the full version of the film. It's highly unlikely to be any kind of masterpiece but it's difficult to imagine that it wouldn't improve upon the movie as it stands. At the very least you'd have to assume that it would be more coherent. Sadly I don't think the chances of Warners going down this line are high; I have the feeling that this is a movie the studio would rather forget about than draw attention to.
31 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this