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 <email@example.com>
Peter Bart's book "The Gross" covered the film's unfolding disaster in great detail. Among other facts: Warner Brothers greenlit the film largely on the strength of a star-packed cast and their appreciation of Jeremiah Chechik's work on Diabolique (1996) and were horrified when seeing what the first cut was like. The first screening took place in front of a "largely Spanish-speaking, working class" audience in Phoenix, Arizona, who hated the film; the studio then forced Chechik to cut many of his favorite scenes, and conduct reshoots; and the final cut went from 115 to 89 minutes, and was completely incoherent. The studio even refused to hold further test screenings, or to have an official premiere before the film's August 1998 release. See more »
When Emma Peel plays the piano, none of the dampers inside the piano moves up and down. Even though we discover it's a player piano, the dampers would still move every time a key is depressed. The only time the keys are in sync with the sound is in the final closeup as the Chopin piece ends. See more »
[first lines - after negotiating gauntlet]
Well done, Steed.
But the nuns were a surprise.
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Not great, but not the horror everyone else describes
Frankly, when THE AVENGERS was released, I wanted it to bomb--I wanted Hollywood to finally get the idea that ripping off old TV shows is IMBECILIC and almost never successful. Thus, I was happy that the movie did poorly and closed quickly. (I also took a trip to London just as the movie was released, and if you think it was ill-received here, the British took it times TEN.)
Ironically, though, it isn't that bad a movie. Not great, but certainly not the despicable mess that most others seem to think.
It's been called ridiculous, slow, talky, surreal. Well, what a shock, so was the original series. I've recently viewed the entire 1967 season (bought all four boxed sets), and the show is all those things at times. It is slow, generally, at a very langorous pace throughout most stories. It is talky, since most of the charm of the original was in the dialogue between characters. It was surreal, even ridiculous (The Winged Avenger, anyone? Eeee-urp.)
Uma Thurman does a passable job as Emma--she's no Diana Rigg, but who is? She plays the character smart enough, although she doesn't quite capture Rigg's regal command of situation. Ralph Fiennes, however, misses the character of Steed quite a bit, playing him as reserved, without any of Steed's charisma. Steed always had a quality about him that made you feel as if he woke up every morning feeling absolutely smashing--Fiennes seems to miss that.
The problem the film faces is twofold: Those of us who have seen the original will always compare the two, and a copy can't hope to compare. Those who haven't seen the series have no grounds to assess it on--(see some of the above user comments which begin 'I never saw the original series...')and since I think this series is not exactly vividly-remembered by the majority of the population (particularly the 18 and under movie-goers, who don't have much grasp of the nuances The Avengers operated on). Frankly, The Avengers was probably just a bad choice to try to remake
(--LIKE ALL OLD TV SHOWS. Tell me one old-TV remake that has ever spawned a sequel (which Hollywood is always sure to do when something is a success)-- only THE BRADY BUNCH...point proven?)
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