UK, 1998, 89 minutes, Colour.
Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Shaw, Eileen Atkins, Eddie Izzard.
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik.
An article on The Avengers remarked that you can't have nostalgia if you never lived through the era being remembered. Most reviewers (and I will do it too) write of how they remember the series of the 60s, its wit, its ironic comedy, its battle of the sexes with the urbane Patrick Macnee's John Steed and Diana Rigg, the dominating yet urbane Emma Peel. But that's all in the past - and episodes if shown now on TV would probably seem rather creaky these days. And younger audiences don't know what the oldies are talking about!
Which means that Ralph Fiennes is urbane but not as good as Macnee and Uma Thurman looks the part but is not as good as Diana Rigg - for the oldies. Younger audiences will wonder what the fuss is about, will probably not understand the homage to the wit and ironies of the past and will find it a 90 minute actioner that seems a bit weak (even with Sean Connery as the villain). A pity.
1. The popularity of the original? The atmosphere of the 1960s? Television presentation, audiences? The idea for a remake in the 1980s?
2. The negative reaction to the film critically, the failure at the box office? Older audiences finding the remake lacking? Younger audiences not finding it interesting, exciting, or witty?
3. Strong cast, doing their thing? But not revitalizing The Avengers? Script, brevity of the plot and action, ironic minds, innuendo?
4. The basic plot? Science? Projects, secret plans, controlling the weather? The visuals of the weather, the storms, the rain?
5. The introduction to John Steed, Ralph Fiennes, dapper and urbane, manner of speaking, dressing? His role? As an agent? His visits to Mother, assignments? The sequence of his walking through the village and being attacked? His expertise? And the nuns?
6. Mrs. Peel and Uma Thurman? Stature, bearing, manner? Her being the suspect? The cloning? The two Mrs. Peels, clashes?
7. Father, the clashes with Mother, secret service, in the pay of Sir Alex? Confrontations with mother, with Steed, imprisoning Mrs. Peel?
8. Sir Alex, Sean Connery, Scots style and manner? His past career? His mansion? Bailey and his henchmen? His gathering his accomplices, the wearing of teddy bear outfits, the knives and the deaths of the dissenters? His skills, knowledge? His plans, controlling the weather? His comeuppance?
9. Steed and Mrs. Peel and their visits to Sir Alex? Interchanges, battle of wits?
10. Mrs. Peel, her being captured, imprisoned, the escape?
11. The build-up to the final confrontation, the weather, Father and control, Mother unable to do anything? The climax, the role of Mrs. Peel, of Steed? Action and stunt work? Dangers and action?
12. Alice and her role in mentorinig Steed, the attacks, the gun, accosting Sir Alex?
13. Mother, the irony of the titles, the jokes about macaroons, dominated by Father, success at the end?
14. The successful end of the mission?