Mad Cow's Guide to :
Well what can I say? Having just seen this movie, and wanting to do the write-up as soon as possible to enable me to get the facts straight, I have to say I'm in a state of confusion.
Lets start with some background while I gather my thoughts...
There was much consternation before the release of this movie. There were no press screenings, (I now know why - but we'll come to that!) Sean Connery one of the main stars of the movie had distanced himself - saying that he had not seen the picture after production had finished, and finally the much rumoured production problems. Had something gone terribly wrong during shooting and production? I have to say that having seen the movie the resounding answer is yes!
The Avengers for those of you too young to remember was a British TV show made during the 60's and 70's. It had a huge following at the time, and over the years achieved a cult status due to repeats by the TV companies. Starring Patrick McNee as John Steed - a British Secret Service Agent - and a bevy of women clad in leather catsuits as his faithful assistants. Launching the career of stars like Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg, the original series was always known for it's slight eccentricity. Lots of fast car chases, some very odd-looking villains, and of course plenty of champagne and red carnations. The whole thing had a very surreal atmosphere - something the director Jeremiah Chechick has desperately tried to bring into the movie.
The updated version
is set in Britain; the year is 1999 but still has a very 60's
retro feel to it. This time round the part of Steed is played by
Ralph Finnes, (best known for his role in the English Patient)
and accompanied by the leather-clad talents of Uma Thurman as Mrs
Peel. Sean Connery pops up as the eccentric August DeWynter. Hell
bent on controlling the weather DeWynter (Connery) promises to
wreak havoc on the world unless the leaders of each country pay
him to supply the type of weather the want. And there the story
line starts and ends.
It seems that a film was shot with one story, then chopped up into many pieces, and slapped back together in no particular order. With vital scenes missing the film trots along for 100 or so minutes, and you can feel yourself wondering where it's going. Suddenly, without warning, everything turns out fine and the titles start rolling. On the other hand the film looks very good. The sets are fantastic, the special effects are ok, and it has some very funny one-liners. Look out for the scene where Sean Connery is holding a meeting with some of his consorts all dressed in brightly coloured Teddy Bear outfits. Alas all this is let down due to the lack of story and continuity.
With other cult TV shows getting the big budget movie treatment, I hope this blunder is a one off. If you looking for a worthy 60's TV conversion I'd recommend Lost In Space. Let's pray that Hollywood doesn't mess up as badly on the conversions of the 6million Dollar Man and the Incredible Hulk as they did on this one!
Anyone for tea and macaroons?
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