A Jeremiah Chechik Film; starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman
John Steed, Agent of the Ministry, and Dr. Emma Peel investigate mysterious happenings with the Prospero Project, a weather shield protecting Great Britain. From the outset, excentric Scottish aristocrat Sir August de Wynter appears to be the prime suspect, and by golly, those suspecting him are right! Will the Avengers save London from annihilation through bad weather? Of course they will. British singer Shaun Ryder ("Happy Mondays", "Black Grape") makes a mute appearance and comedian Eddie Izzard says two words as henchmen of Sir August; Patrick Macnee, the original John Steed, makes a cameo and yet he doesn't.
The problems begin with the three leads. Ralph Fiennes fails in the most basic way: he tries to be a gentleman, but he clearly isn't. Uma Thurman attempts to act British, yet she clearly isn't. Sean Connery tries to be menacing, but he clearly can't.
Instead, the audience gets a foppish Fiennes, a wooden Thurman and a simply AWFUL Connery performance. (Closer inspection of the footage reveals that all actors involved were obviously "under the influence" while filming.)
One could live with these weak leads if the plot were any good, but of course it isn't. One moment, the villain is inches away from actively doing away with his opponents, then he inexplicably leaves them be.
The movie looks extremely beautiful; the production design is exquisite. An Escheresque staircase especially sticks out. There are a few decent Special Effects set pieces, such as a car chased by heavily armed mechanical hornets and a bout of REALLY bad weather in London (Big Ben explodes, of course).
Bizarre situations abound; a room full of conspiring Teddy Bears is a sight which you are not likely to ever forget. The rest of the movie, though, is better forgotten: At no time does the audience really care about what happens to the characters, one just wishes the whole thing to be over soon.
Fans of the TV series will be especially horrified: Steed and Mrs. Peel actually kiss, and not just once -- these characters have hardly anything to do with the originals.
Don't even rent this one, not even if you are a die-hard Connery fan. Stare at the beautiful photographs in the film magazines (or here, for that matter). The actors should have known better. Fiennes is way too young for the role and, in one particularly embarrassing scene, gives a new meaning to the term "phoning in a performance". Thurman apparently channels all her acting efforts into her obviously fake English accent; the leather costume shown in the advertising posters only makes a brief appearance.
Sean Connery is truly horrible in the role of the lead villain, completely devoid of any kind of charisma. When he leans over a drugged Thurman in one scene, intending to kiss her, he doesn't look menacing; he's just a wrinkled, dirty old man -- and this is the same Connery which -- under better circumstances -- can spark sexuality with as little as an eyeblink.
From the actors involved in this movie, only Eileen Atkins (Alice), Jim Broadbent (Mother), Eddie Izzard (Bailey), Patrick Macnee (Invisible Jones) and Shaun Ryder (Donavan) walk off this movie with their reputations intact. Everybody else ought to be ashamed of themselves, especially Sean Connery, who is forced to sprout inane dialogue such as "Steed, John Steed. What a horse's ass of a name."
What a horse's ass of a movie, Sean.
(Images taken from the DVD of "The Avengers ", © 1998 by Warner Brothers)
>> Drunk On The Set: The
Main Cast of the Avengers Movie
>> Drunk On The Set: The Main Cast of the movie Con Air
>>> Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for "The
About the reviewer:
MOATMAI loves it behind his or her pseudonym and refuses to share any more information, except for this...
Form and Content © 2000 by MOATMAI except where noted. All rights reserved.