Father Geek here with his thoughts on "The Avengers". Well geeks I went to the 1st showing at the Highland 10 here in Austin on opening day. There were about 25 people there , most of them about my age (53). I lucked out in that my $3.75 was covered by my seeing the "Soldier" trailer, coolness, followed by the totally kick butt "Apt Pupil" trailer. Aaaaaaaaaahhh, I was satisfied, in a good mood, etc...etc...etc. Then those great titles flash on the screen, whoa man, could all those ney sayers be wrong? This could be cool? They had my attention, Steed, cold as ice strolls onto the screen, his clothes are right, his manner totally correct, his cool dispatching of his enemies perfectly proper, and there my fellow geeks, only seconds into the film, the movie should have mercifully ended, but it was not to be. I would have to brass it out. Buckle up and ride the ride til the end of the line.
I was a film student when The Avengers TV show was taking the campus by storm. We talked about it in class and in the Union coffee shop. It was different, almost revolutionary, this wasn't like Batman, or Green Hornet, or Star Trek. This show had real style, class, coolness. It was not James Bond, but in a way it was. Steed had a self-confident swagger and those terribly smart Pierre Cardin Edwardian suits. Emma Peel's look was pure Yves St. Laurent and Emilio Pucci, all hip-hugging pants and black leather suits. They had fabulous taste in clothes, cars, art, and wine. I liked the show, but I wouldn't call myself a fan. Oh, I had my share of Diana Rigg stills, still do, but I've never really been into British humour. Not that there's anything wrong with it, this Texas boy just had trouble relating to it, my loss I'm sure.
About a year ago Harry and I got a copy of the script for the feature film. It read alot like the old TV show, with lots and lots of late 60's pop culture references and imagery. I told Harry that it just might work, what with the current interest in all things retro. However I found it some what confusing and hard to follow, and Emma Peel a possible badguy, no way. That won't wash with the fans. Also it was sooooo British , the American audience probably wouldn't support it in big numbers. We decided to with-hold judgement until we heard the casting choices.
When the word leaked out that Fiennes, Uma, and Sean had signed on we felt it was going to work, we were excited once again, but to no just reward. John Steed works for me in this film. It's ashame, because aside from art direction, he is all that works for me in this motion picture, Mother & Father are horrible. Emma doesn't even look good half the time. Sir August is, well he is just terribily, terribily wrong. The Goons might as well not even be in the film for all the effect they have. The Effects look like effects. The music, what music ? I don't even remember any except that end titles stuff that drove me and everyone else to the lobby. Hell, 30 years ago I couldn't get Laurie Johnson's tunes out of my head, and I didn't even watch the show every week. What's with this love affair between the prim & proper duty bound Steed and the married co-worker Peel? Where was all the Champagne from the original? Where was the stable of fantastic classic cars? Where was Emma's wardrobe? (except for the 2 leather outfits it sucked) Where were the people? (an empty London?) Where are the brains of Warner's top brass?