Whilst the world was gearing up for Avengers: End game, I decided to watch the 1998 remake of the very popular British TV Show, The Avengers. Now i’m not familiar with the TV show so I have no idea if that would help, but this film made absolutely no sense.
Ralph Fiennes takes a break from intense historical dramas to play super spy in a hat, John Steed. Teaming up with Uma Thurman, they try to stop Sean Connery from messing with the weather. I’m not really sure as it is implied that Connery has the technology to control the weather to begin with and is just using for laughs. Then he storms into the UN and says pay me or i’m going go freeze you all and they just shake their heads and tut a bit.
After watching this film I have so many questions. I know it’s based on a 60s TV show but I have no idea when this film is set. There are nostalgic elements coupled with futuristic tech so it really could be any time period. Is Fiona Shaw’s character blind? I still don’t have a clue. Why does Sean Connery make a clone of Uma Thurman? This film is more frustrating than the TV show Lost.
One thing that really stood out was the fact that London was really quiet. We see Steed drive over Tower bridge as well as past Westminster, but what we don’t see are any other cars or pedestrians. London is a busy place but this made it appear quieter than 28 days later. Speaking of quiet, Eddie Izzard is in this movie with his only line being ‘oh Fuck’ which seemed as out of place as Sean Connery in a giant bear suit. Oh wait that also happened.
Uma Thurman plays Dr Emma Peel, but is referred to throughout as Mrs Peel, at her own request. What the fuck are you doing Thurman? You worked hard to be a doctor, you’re a very clever individual, why insist on being labelled as Mrs Peel? Be a role model to girls. Show them that they can be smart and beautiful, don’t relegate yourself to eye candy. I understand they want to be more like the 60s but sometimes a little progression isn’t a bad thing.
John Steed and Mrs. Peel are invited to, or partake in tea six times during the course of this movie.
Let’s talk Money
Production budget was $60,000,000 which is pretty impressive considering all the hot air balloon explosions and robotic wasps. However it made just over $48,000,000 worldwide making it a pretty big flop. I have no idea how much Sean Connery was being paid but for other films around this era he was earning at least $15,000,000. Whatever he was paid wasn’t enough. Connery has since said that he has regretted making this movie, which isn’t in the least bit surprising.
Looking for a Positive
Casting director Susie Figgis deserves a round of applause. This film has an insane cast. Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Shaw, Eddie Izzard, and Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder (which one of these is not like the other?). I don’t know the details but my assumption is that when Sean Connery came on board it was easier to get people to sign up. I mean, I would. I’d rather that than have anyone sign up on the strength of the script because the script is awful. The cast may be great but they don’t really know what they are supposed to be doing. Connery’s villain is written as an over the top maniacal mad man, and he plays it as realistic as possible which just doesn’t work. It is a very strange balance.
It is really nice that they cast 60s Avengers star, Patrick Mcnee, as Invisible Jones. He’s literally an invisible man who works for a spy agency and they have him looking after the storage. He is invisible! Surely he is the perfect spy. Much better than Ralph Fiennes who looks like a character from a Noel Coward play.
Would I recommend this film?
Watching this is a bit like nodding off during a film. You are fighting to stay awake but you still end up missing small segments without realising. You kind of have to work out how everything is pieced together because you keep missing key moments. The Avengers has that feeling as you keep thinking ‘what is happening? Did I miss something? Do I need to rewind?’ No, it just doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t recommend this film as it is just a lot of money spent on nonsense.