At certain points while watching The Avengers I started getting that special, flighty feeling in the pit of my stomach. The feeling I got when I first laid eyes on Chris Klein dropping lines from Birches. The feeling I got when Big Momma was delivering a baby/sermon. The feeling I got when a monster-alien stood atop the mountains of Mars screaming “Bananananananas!” Namely, it was the feeling that we were on the cusp of something special (in its own special BMT way). Unfortunately, we never quite got over the hump. Each time we seemed on the verge of crossing into Hall of Fame territory, the film reeled itself back into boring or downright confusing territory. It goes back to something I’ve said before about bad movies. To make a truly bad movie you need that special sauce: freedom. You need to have such buy-in from the studio that they let you do what you want without oversight. You need to be delusional and everyone around you needs to be too afraid to let you know that it’s all a disaster (or just not care cause it’ll probably make money anyway). The Avengers didn’t have that. The studio was horrified when they tested it and hacked the movie to pieces. That makes for fun in its own right, (I dare two people to watch this film and come out with the same plot synopsis) but it also means that it’s very difficult to reach the next level of craziness that we strive for at BMTHQ. Not for lack of trying though. There was a full 10 minute sequence where Sean Connery prepares to date rape Uma Thurmon that was seriously messed up (and fortunately averted at the last moment). I’ll end on that sour note.
No commentary this week as I’m sure the studio didn’t want anyone involved to speak on record about what happened. I’m also not going to talk about the adaptation aspect of the film as it was based on a television show and there was just no way to absorb enough material to make an adequate judgement (although I did watch pieces of several episodes). Instead I’ll just do a quick game I just made up. It’s a BMIT class I teach called Settings 101 and it’s where I try to measure how well the film took advantage of the setting it chose. The Avengers almost reached peak Settings level. It was explicitly set in London (and not some vague location in England), it was cued by maps, signs and addresses in the film, it was mentioned by characters, and a major landmark of the setting plays a role in the film (Big Ben is destroyed by a lightning bolt). This is basically A- material right here as far as Settings go. How could it have gotten to A+? Why by mentioning the setting in the title, of course. Next up on the syllabus, The Making of an A+: London has Fallen.
‘Ello everyone. The Avengers? More like My Tormentor, amirite? The Avengers got street cred coming out of every which way. A film spoken about as the crown jewel of one of the worst summers in Hollywood history. Shoe in, right? BMTHOF easy right? Well…
- The Good – I found the “storyline” somewhat interesting and Connery somewhat compelling. I liked trying to pick out places in London. Erg, in retrospect that is it.
- The Bad – The movie is very slow moving. It is very confusing. No one besides Connery seems like they fit their characters, everyone is replaceable. There is a scene with a bunch of people dressed as teddy bears that is the second most bonkers scene in the movie! (The first being the aforementioned quite disturbing almost-rape scene). The characters live in a bizarre non-London with zero extras akin to I, Frankenstein. It doesn’t feel like a movie, it feels like a music video or something. Oh, and it has bar none the worst CGI I’ve seen since a Sound of Thund-ah.
- The BMT – Well yes, but maybe not 70. This is interesting though. Usually when a street cred film doesn’t live up to expectations it is because the movie is secretly ahead of its time and kind of good (Freddy Got Fingered, Ishtar). This is the first one which I can say is objectively bad because it is hacked up, but it still just seems off. It feels like a 70, and is a 70, but yet probably wouldn’t make a bad movie film festival I organized. It is an enigma that breaks the BMeTric in a way.
I’ll close the review just by saying I was getting healthy whiffs of Wild Wild West throughout the film. I guess that isn’t surprising, those two movies came out amazingly close together, both were based on old television shows but targeted at younger audiences, and both were colossal failures and notorious black marks on the 90s movie archive. But there was a weird feeling of … cynicism? This idea of screw-the-source-material in a way. Not that I’ve seen either show to any degree, but the updating just feels wrong. At least the way both movies go about it does. This movie confuses me, I’m not joking. I think that is a trend in our recent spat of 70+ BMeTric film, general confusion about whether a movie is ahead of its time or dog poo in my face.
Quick game. Let’s go Sequel Prequel Remake and make a little sequel out of this. Connery is back as a sexy octogenarian lighting monster ready to electrify Uma’s heart once again! But can the Avengers pull double duty and also stop an evil banker, Max Moneygrubber, trying to pull off a complex multi-level Ponzi scheme? Will Connery help the light of his life to zap Moneygrubber or burn them once and for all? The Avengers: Max Attack! I just vomited in my mouth.