Avengers '67: Box One
Review by Gordon Dymowski
Yes, in addition to my usual "ADVENTURES IN MATURITY" piece, I decided to
write about one of my Christmas gifts, which was this three-video boxed
set, the first of four rereleases. I can understand why the movie tanked
- people were saving up their pennies to purchase these sets, which is
the Avengers done right. I mean, any movie with Uma Thurman - a chick
loopy enough to *breed* with Ethan Hawke, much less do the nasty with him
- deserves to tank. But enough of my slams - my open letter
to Joel Schumaker speaks for itself...
I remember watching this as a small child, staying up late against my
mom's wishes, and fell in love with this series. Patrick MacNee and Diana
Rigg portrayed John Steed and Emma Peel, two secret agents who fought
larger-than-life menaces with tongues firmly in cheek, and who were
partners in every sense of the word. Watching the episodes on this boxed
set have made me realize that 1) I intend to get the other three boxed
sets, and 2) this is a series that, in many ways, was a product of - and
ahead of - its time. Whoever had the bright idea to make it into a
movie...lost the point.
These episodes - as well as the other released - have been "digitally
remastered", and the work shows - the film is crisp and clean, and looks
like it was shot yesterday. The sound is perfect, and sounds as if Steed
and Mrs. Peel were in your own living room. Unlike the original Star
Trek, where "remastered" episodes appear on the Sci-Fi Channel, there's
not an ounce of cheese to be found. If you like British humor, well, this
is British drama with a slightly humorous touch. The scripts sparkle with
lively dialogue, MacNee and Rigg share a chemistry untouched and
unduplicated, and some of the casting is inventive, such as a pre-Doctor
Who Jon Pertwee playing a military general in "From Venus with
And the plots...without going into detail, the Avengers formula
seemed to consist of an impossibly fantastic situation explained by an
impossibly plausible situation. "From Venus With Love" starts out with the
premise that invaders from Venus may be in our midst, and...well, that
would be telling. "The Fear Merchants" begins with a man, in his pajamas,
middle of Wembley stadium...and he begins screaming. "Escape in Time"
seems to involve time travel, "The See Through Man" is
self-explanatory...only "The Winged Avenger", about a comic book
character seemingly come to life, seems rather dated...but contains an
oh-so clever Batman reference...
If there's one strike against the boxed set, it's that it *is* a product
of its time - it's reflected in Rigg's choice of fashions (which were, in
the mid-1960s, cutting edge), the slightly over-the-top surrealism in some
areas, and the cars driven. However, if you liked Austin Powers, you
will really dig this boxed set...and others. It's shagadelic, baby!
(Out of five)
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