6 July 1999 | possum-3
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?)