The Avengers
Rating -

 Action (US); 1998; Rated PG-13; 89 Minutes

Cast
Ralph Fiennes: John Steed
Uma Thurman: Emma Peel
Sean Connery: Sir August de Wynter
Eddie Izzard: Bailey
Eileen Atkins: Alice

Produced by Susan Ekins and Jerry Weintraub; Directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik

Review Uploaded
8/31/98

Written by DAVID KEYES

Uma Thurman is a gifted actress. It's no coincidence that every movie she's been in happens to be a movie where she is the center of attention. If the film is bad or good, she always stands out. Sometimes, she can even make a bad movie almost decent. She's got the fluttering eyes and the crooked smile that we can all appreciate, and the voice and talent that everyone can come to recognize. From "Jennifer 8" to "Pulp Fiction" to "Batman And Robin," here is a woman who, no matter how good or bad the picture is, manages to make every movie she stars in hers. If she was in some of the worst movies ever made, like "Dazed And Confused," I could stand to watch them.

She is a figure of beauty and strength, and she once again tests our observance in "The Avengers," the new movie follow-up to the television series of the same name. She's great in it--so great that I'm almost tempted to recommend the movie. But I can't, because "The Avengers" is a severely doomed movie weighed down by dull story, meaningless plot direction, and clumsy characterization. I imagine those faults existed in the television series, and what these movies do is make them worse than they really are, because instead of expanding on story and improving upon faults, they stretch the story too thin and overdo the special effects, chase scenes, characterizations, etc.

Perfect examples on that bill are "Lost In Space" and "Star Trek." "Lost In Space" is one of the worst movies of the year, because instead of capturing flavor that made the series so popular, it was too over ambitious and destroyed any little redeeming value that series probably had.

I have a feeling the genre of movie remakes is about to crumble, and "The Avengers" is proof of that. It is totally incompetent, unorganized, and very predictable. It's almost like watching a 30-minute television show by slowing down the tape so that the final result ends in two, and if that isn't bad enough, the movie is almost identical in story and direction to the James Bond series. But the James Bond movies go on and on and on--there's no stopping them. "The Avengers" will not have a sequel, likely because most movies that are bad just aren't followed by them (unless, of course, you take "Police Academy" in mind). It's good movies that get sequels (most of the time, anyway), and if "The Avengers" had something decent about it (other than Uma Thurman), I'd at least expect consideration for a sequel.

The movie is so disorganized that I'm not even sure what it was supposed to be about. Emma Peel (Thurman) is (I guess) a government agent who has been assigned to work with John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) in hopes to stop a madman named Sir August de Wynter (Sean Connery) from manipulating weather patterns on the planet which would give him natural control over all the earth.

There are moments of the movie that suggest this type of material could work great as a comedy, strangely enough. Connery himself says some frighteningly realistic and humorous lines, all of which seem to lift a little of the dark clouds which set over the script. This dialogue, along with Uma Thurman, give at least some quality to "The Avengers," unlike "Lost In Space," which had absolutely nothing decent about it. That, I guess, deserves one and a half stars for this movie, which is probably more than most would give it. But I'm just being nice--after all, did I mention that Uma Thurman manages to make any movie she's in watchable?

Yes, "The Avengers" is somewhat watchable, but just barely. The director of the movie is Jeremiah Chechlik, who, you may remember, was publicly bashed with another one of his films, called "Diabolique." That, too was a remake, only it had a certain delicious evil woven into it, which made me give the movie a positive review. If "The Avengers" had a decent script, I would have given it a positive one, too. The final word here is that "The Avengers" is severely screwed up, with, of course, the exceptions of Thurman and Connery, who at least try to make moments of the picture seem somewhat plausible.

What's even more plausible is how the studio released the film. They opened it up on Saturday, probably to avoid criticism by film critics. Now if you want to make money off of bad movies, that's the way to do it.


1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
 
 
           
     
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