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   THE AVENGERS (1998) 

[Get the Poster]

CAST
Ralph Fiennes
Uma Thurman
Sean Connery
Jim Broadbent
Fiona Shaw
Eddie Izzard
Eileen Atkins

DIRECTED BY
Jeremiah Chechick

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 89 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Action Adventure


Never having seen the television show upon which this film is based, I truly had no preconceived notions about what to expect from this experience – except quality. How a cast of this caliber could be so blind to the giant plot holes in this story is a mystery that will never be solved. It seems like they just used a story from the series and stretched it out to fill an hour and a half. Not a good basis since I'm sure the series wasn't all that complicated to begin with. I was pretty excited during the opening credits, which had great visual design and a cool score. After all, the movie stars two of cinema's sexiest and talented actors. Plus, a fairly competent beauty. I once thought I could sit through anything either Fiennes or Connery made because they are so charismatic. Never again.

The plot can be summed up in one sentence: Disgruntled, weather-obsessed rich man (Sir August de Winter played by Connery) threatens to take over the world with his weather machine, while our heroes, Steed and Emma Peel, try to stop him. That's pretty much it. There's never any doubt who's behind the drastic weather changes, so our heroes don't really have much to do except try to apprehend him. Since they know where he lives, there's no mystery to be solved. How terribly hard could it be for two super agents to catch an aging eccentric? Sure, he commands the weather, but it's nothing Londoners aren't used to.

The story attempts to be more complicated than it is, by throwing in a silly twist that implies Mrs. Peel is in cahoots with de Winter. If it were actually true, it would have added some degree of character definition, but alas that's not meant to be. An invisible colleague of Steed's (yes, I said invisible) reveals that de Winter was in charge of a cloning program years earlier, but was fired from the project when all he produced was three-headed goats. I'm not kidding. We are left to assume he got better at it, creating an evil Emma, but this is never fully explained. Another intriguing element left to whither by the wayside.


"He says unless we accept his demands, the weather will keep getting colder and colder until we'll all have to go to hell just to warm up."

I can't fault the talent for this travesty. They did the best with what they got. Fiennes is still one of the sexiest men alive and he and Thurman have good chemistry together. Unfortunately, it's never given time to develop. Enough to tease, but not to satisfy. In this instance, it's the cute and clever dialogue that gets in the way. It's so forced and obvious, in an attempt to make them appear cool, no real connection between them is made. What's worse is Connery's role in the piece. All his character does is threaten the world, lust after Thurman and scream at Fiennes. We never get a satisfying reason behind his weather obsession. He's just insane. That's all the info needed. It's sad to see him sink so low.

The film does have some witty dialogue and exciting scenes, but they were so few and far between it was like finding the needle in the haystack. What's even more disappointing is that the production design is so wonderful. It's very unique and stylish, giving the film a first rate look. With the sound off, the movie would probably hold up on the strength of the visuals alone. It's too bad all of the other elements aren't even half as good. Even Uma in a catsuit – and she looked amazing I must say – can't save this movie.


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