John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) has been called by Britain's top secret agency to investigate
strange goings on with the weather: freak snowstorms and wildly fluctuating temperatures.
Someone is out to control the weather, literally, and bring the country and the world to
its knees. Who could master such a brilliant plan, to extort the riches of nations in
return for a temperate day? All bets are on Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery), former
agency man, who is very rich, very odd, and very very smart. Steed is paired with the
unflappable Mrs Emma Peel (Uma Thurman), a master of jujitsu, a doctor in meterological
science and a body made for haute couture.
"Rich in style but bankrupt in substance and involvement, The Avengers desperately tries to find its own personality, but flounders dismally. Apart from the title and character names, the film bears no relationship to the TV series, and this is the first problem. Why promise the fans something that belonged to an era gone by when in fact, the film takes ideas from James Bond, Batman and Starship Troopers? Even the theme sounds a little like a Bond. That's not to say that there aren't some good things about the film, because the production design, effects and concept are intriguing and visually stimulating. In fact, just watching the film and listening to the oomphy soundtrack is quite a treat. The script, however, bogs down with contrivances and cliches, which at times deserve a massive groan and border on the ridiculous. At the epicentre is the marvellous Sean Connery, who suffers no damage at all from his performance as St August De Wynter, the baddie bordering on madness. Connery has style - say no more. And there are some genuinely wonderful ideas such as the multi-coloured teddy bears, acting as disguise for some of St August's disciples. Uma Thurman repeats her cool, detached persona from Gattaca, while clad in leggy leggins, hotpants, long boots and moulded batman-like black suits. Ralph Fiennes does the best he can with the material, but the chemistry between him and Thurman is non-existent. It's a bit like watching the director scall 'Action!' and then sit back for the action. But none of it is believable, nor do we particularly care about the characters. I did, however, especially like the hypnotic opening credits which allow the imagination to soar."
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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES
Director Jeremiah Chechik TELLS Nick Roddick why Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman make the
perfect Steed and Mrs Peel.
AVENGERS, THE (PG)
CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Patrick Macnee, Jim Broadbent, Jiona
Shaw, Eddie Izzard, Eileen Atkins, John Wood, Carmen Ejogo
DIRECTOR: Jeremiah Chechik
PRODUCER: Jerry Weintraub
SCRIPT: Don MacPherson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roger Pratt
EDITOR: Mick Audsley
MUSIC: Joel McNeely
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 5, 1998