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Awfully Good: The Avengers

04.25.2012

Wonder why all the ads keep referring to the summer's biggest superhero movie as MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS? Maybe they want to set themselves as far apart from this 1998 turkey as (super)humanly possible.


The Avengers (1998)

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery


Is there a plot?

Voldemort and Mia Wallace must stop James Bond before he destroys the world with his evil weather-controlling machine.

What's the damage?

As an adaptation of the popular 1960s British TV series, THE AVENGERS fails pretty badly. (I haven't even seen the original show, but I can confidently say they stomp all over anything remotely good about it.) As a normal movie intended to be watched by audiences comprised of human beings, however, THE AVENGERS fails spectacularly.

Even the Poison Ivy clone threesome scene couldn't save the BATMAN & ROBIN Director's Cut.

Ray Fiennes and Uma Thurman are both charming thespians in their own right, but together—boy, do they lack chemistry. I don't want to use the words "suck wastewater" because, honestly, I don't think anyone could do anything with the toilet paper script provided, but both actors just feel plain unnatural and unbelievable in their roles as John Steed and Emma Peel. All we know about Steed is that he wears a bowler hat, carries an umbrella everywhere and is kind of a snooty douche-chill that somehow lacks any semblance of British charm. Mrs. Peel, on the other hand, is Uma Thurman with an English accent. I can't explain it but watching them kiss at the end is like seeing two family members drunkenly make out. It just feels wrong.

The VOLDEMORT: THE COLLEGE YEARS prequel went in a different direction than the original Harry Potter series.

And then there's Sean Connery, once again making a huge career mistake tantamount to the legendarily bad ZARDOZ. The one-time James Bond stars as main villain Sir August de Wynter and his character is as stupid as his name. De Wynter is defined by two things: 1) his obsession with the weather and 2) thinly veiled sexual innuendo. Predictably, his two loves often come together. When he's not spouting off painful meteorological one-liners like, "Rain or shine, all is mine!", Connery is instead making horrible come-ons to Uma Thurman about getting ten inches (of rain!) or making her wet (from the rain!). His big evil plan to control and sell the weather is one of the most boring and idiotic villainous schemes I can remember.

(I'd mention Eddie Izzard as Connery's henchman, but he's such a non-character that he literally has no lines until he dies at the end and says, "Oh, f*ck.")

Uma had heard her famous co-star might have a big head, but this was ridiculous.

But ultimately THE AVENGERS makes its biggest mark as one of the most poorly edited commercial films ever presented to a mass audience. You can tell the studio chopped this movie to death, from an alleged 115 minute cut to a paltry 87 minute final release. The result is at best a confusing mess and at worst nigh impossible to follow, taking an already terribly constructed script and making it even more unintelligible. Characters meet for the first time but don't act like it. The action scenes have zero continuity. ("Okay, they're fighting! Now they're fighting in a hot air balloon! Now she's on the ground and the balloon is exploding!") And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some other weird, unexplained things from THE AVENGERS:

It was always awkward when the Beanie Babies Fan Club and the Furry Lovers of America meetings coincided on the same day.

-Why do Sean Connery and his evil cohorts dress up like colorful teddy bears? Since the movie offers no answers, we're going to assume Rainbow Furry Club.

-Why is Sean Connery obsessed with Uma Thurman's character and why does he have a creepy painting of her in his house?

-More importantly, why are there two Emma Peels in this movie? (Aside from the obvious chance to see two Uma's fight each other.) Where did her clone come from? Is she a robot, some chick with plastic surgery, or has Sir August perfected the technology to duplicate human life? And if he can do that, why does he care so much about the stupid weather?

-Flying robot bees, really?

-Why is John Steed friends with an invisible man? And how come the invisible man knows the bad guy's evil plan and location but doesn't say anything until someone asks him?

-If Sir August de Wynter is supposed to be English, how come he makes his big evil villain speech while wearing a kilt?

-Why are they called THE AVENGERS? If it was explained in the show, it definitely wasn’t here. In fact, there's absolutely no avenging going on whatsoever.

A look inside Quentin Tarantino's house.

"Best" Line

Some of Sean Connery's painfully bad one-liners, creepy sexual innuendo and villainous speeches. BONUS: Eddie Izzard's one and only line from the movie.


"Best" Parts

1) Sean Connery and Co. dress up like ethnically diverse teddy bears and have the most awkward meeting ever.


2) A car chase involving giant robot bees. Why? Don't ask me.



Nudity Watch

Uma Thurman wears a tight leather outfit and Ray Fiennes gives up a little buttcrack.


Enjoyableness
Continuum:

HULK SMASH INFERIOR FILM! Buy this movie here!


Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Sean Connery says something stupid
  • Someone eats a macaroon
  • Someone drinks tea or mentions drinking tea
  • The weather changes unpredictably
  • A furry is killed or found dead
  • Uma Thurman uses an obvious stunt double due to her pregnancy


Double shot if:

  • Eddie Izzard speaks
  • BLADE RUNNER is ripped off.


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: Digital Dorm
Tags: awfully good

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