Resurfaced: The Avengers (1998)

In this series of articles, I’ll be posting reviews that have recently resurfaced. A number of the reviews I wrote in the past I thought had been lost to time, but after coming to a realization that they might still exist on the Wayback Machine, I was able to relocate many of them. I believe there are still some that are lost and they may be lost in perpetuity, but I will periodically search for that data or re-write those reviews that I have never found or which I never wrote to begin with.

For now, this series will be extensive with over 300 regular (400+ words), short (400- words), and quickie (1 to 2 paragraphs) reviews. I will attempt to combine them as best as I can. Reviews written in early 1998 or earlier, no date of creation exists. I will post the original writing date where known, otherwise the date will be listed as “unknown.” These reviews were written between the date of my site’s founding in 1996 through much of 2002. It was only after this period that I settled on the standard format and length of reviews as well as posting each one to its own individual page, which is why the old data was ultimately lost.

All but the review content has been replaced to match my current formatting guidelines, which are a bit more thorough than they might have been in those early days. Please note that I am attempting to retain as much of the original editing integrity as possible, so spelling and/or grammar errors may still be present. This may also mean that some factual data is not there as IMDb was not as ubiquitous as it is now. So, let’s get on to today’s review.

The Avengers

The Avengers

Rating

Director

Jeremiah Chechik

Screenplay

Don MacPherson

Length

1h 29m

Starring

Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Patrick Macnee, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Shaw, Eddie Izzard, Eileen Atkins, John Wood, Carmen Ejogo, Keeley Hawes, Shaun Ryder, Nicholas Woodeson

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Buy/Rent Movie

Soundtrack

Poster

Source Material

Basic Plot

A millionaire with a penchant for weather control wants to take over the world.

Review

Television continues to churn out film versions of its most popular shows in history.

This time, it’s the British spy series “The Avengers” that gets the big-screen treatment. “The Avengers appears to be a two-person spoof of James Bond and other related spy films or series.

What are the differences between “Avengers” and James Bond? “Avengers” has lush visuals and large amounts of visual effects. Bond has a sense of style, an intriguing plot and good acting.

The film begins with John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) displaying his ability to pick out an unworthy foe among many potential innocent bystanders. It’s a play on those infamous training yards where cardboard cutouts pop up and the participant must decide if they are good or bad. Only this yard has real people to perform that duty and the most innocent of people are usually the most dangerous.

We then meet Dr. Emma Peel (Uma Thurman). She formerly worked on a secret weather dome project with the Ministry, Steed’s spy agency. Now she’s the lead suspect in the destruction of said dome and possibly as a dreaded counter-agent.

We come to understand that it is actually the sinister Sir August de Wynter (Sean Connery) who is behind the scheme. Only it goes deeper than anyone had anticipated.

The actual scheme is to take over the world by using a sophisticated weather control system to send inclement weather to various major cities of the world unless a specific ransom is met.

“The Avengers” excels in some areas, while it lacks greatly in others.

The acting is suitable, but not laudable. The plot is too run-of-the mill for a spy movie. The action is too vague at times to be anything but mildly entertaining.

On the good side, the score is fun and appropriate, the art direction is marvelous and the visual effects are the best in film so far this year.

However delicious the film is, the story isn’t involving enough and the action is rather pointless. While there is a great deal of humor, it often comes at the wrong moments and rarely is it on par with other spoofs.

“The Avengers” is an average film that will appeal to some audiences, such as fans of the show, but it won’t appeal to the great mass audience. Those interested in a great spy thriller, depending on how they like them, may or may not enjoy this film.

Awards Prospects

Possible nominations in Dramatic Score, Art Direction, Sound Effects, Sound and Visual Effects.

Review Written

September 3, 1998

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