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conventional wisdom among collectibles retailers is that children's items begin to dramatically escalate in price about twenty-five or thirty years after the item was made .
that's when the kids of that time have jobs , disposable income and a desire to re-visit the awe and wonderment of childhood that has disappeared from their lives .
check out the prices of toys from the late sixties and you'll find that yogi bear lunch boxes are demanding big bucks .
there's a heavy nostalgia nowadays for the late sixties and early seventies and nowhere is it more apparent than on the big screen .
boomers are now mostly in their forties and fifties and have lived in the work-a-day world for a long time .
they'd like to re-capture some of that fun they remember from days of yore .
hollywood seems more than eager to churn out product to help them .
directors are zealous to put their stamp on icons from that time .
and for the most part they're messing it up .
" mission impossible " , " lost in space " , " godzilla " , " zorro " .
none of these successfully capture the originals .
none of these are even good films .
you can now add " the avengers " to the list .
the british television series began in 1961 .
super secret agent john steed ( then-patrick macnee ) and his third partner , emma peel ( then-diana rigg ) are the pair that the american audience fell for .
surrealistic and witty , the series fit the mood of the times .
the leather-clad rigg probably didn't hurt the ratings either .
after all it's not a coincidence that you can't pronounce her character's name without " appeal " .
now we're in the nineties .
steed ( now-ralph fiennes ) and peel ( now-uma thurman ) are battling evil genius sir august de wynter ( sean connery ) who is screwing with england's weather .
that's about as much of a plot as we have .
there's some footage about a lot of other things that either don't make sense or make even less sense .
we get betrayal for some unknown reason .
evil clones appear and vanish and have no connection to the film .
remarkably ineffective giant flying robot wasps with machine guns in their belly come from nowhere for no good reason .
there's a high tech hot air balloon , but i have no idea why anyone's in it .
the spy agency is run by a man called " mother " who is in a wheelchair and a woman named " father " who is blind . . . at
least in some scenes .
there's probably a reason for all of this , but we'll never know it .
macnee makes an appearance of sorts .
he is the voice for an invisible man whose character goes nowhere in a scene that does nothing .
a group of villains sits around a table , all clad in huge pastel-colored teddy bear outfits .
at first it's humorous to watch the teddies waddle around , but then it becomes goofy .
the movie is a medley of clutter , confusion and wrong decisions around every corner .
it feels like major portions of the film are missing .
the storyline jumps rather than flows .
reportedly the film was re-cut several times .
this is one of those times where the whole is less than the sum of the parts especially since some of the parts appear to be missing .
there's one good point where peel is running from one room to another in a house designed by escher .
other than that , the effects are second-rate .
the weather threat is old hat as are the scenes of huge tornadoes .
thurman almost makes an adequate emma peel but it doesn't work .
she looks good , dresses in all the right fetish outfits but there's no spark .
fiennes fares even less well .
macnee's steed was a witty man of the world with a sense of humor .
fiennes' agent comes across as a dour kid in grown-up clothes who has never been out of his home town .
even connery , one of the greatest living actors , doesn't have much of a presence outside of a few fiery scenes .
the action scenes are difficult to follow .
director jeremiah chechik ( responsible for the atrocious remake of " diabolique " ) somehow manages to put the camera exactly where it shouldn't be .
things happen , people move around , but even if , with the utmost effort , you were able to care about any of it , the scenes are bewildering .
the primary allure of the original was the interaction between the two leads .
witty banter and an underplayed sexual tension were a winning combination .
admittedly there are a few humorous sexual puns in the film , but there's no chemistry and the repartee is anything but clever .
one of emma peel's first lines of dialog is " rules are made to be broken . "
it doesn't get any better .
advance word alone should have been enough to scare off anyone .
the release date was changed several times .
connery refuses to promote the film .
there was no screening for critics which may have been a good choice for warner brothers .
at least this way , they get something of an audience for the first weekend before the news gets out .
admittedly i haven't seen an episode of the television series for a couple of decades .
my guess is that it would be severely dated now .
no matter how antiquated it might be , there's no doubt that it holds up better than this film is at first viewing .
there's no reason to waste any part of the last few days of summer inside watching this movie .
no reason at all .
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