Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Avengers: 10 Years Later

So, a couple of days ago, THE AVENGERS passed its ten year anniversary. I would have put something up then but I’ve been off my Concerta for a bit. (Note to the people abusing Ritalin and derivatives- you do realize you’re just making it harder for the rest of us, right?) Anyway, as I’ve already made my definitive review, there’s not a lot left to say, but I’ve got a couple of thoughts.

It is dismaying that ten years on, there’s still no sign that we may ever see a properly restored version of the film from before the fatal test screening. I’m actually not down on the test screening process, but it’s best used to get some perspectives from an audience’s point of view, not as a scientific measure of what absolutely needs to be changed and certainly not as an excuse for the studio to take over the editing process. Above, though, you can see a nice amateur reconstruction of the opening action sequence, using the trailer and other materials. It’s good to keep hope alive, and maybe the transition to Blu-Ray will give Warner Bros. an excuse to do something with this. I’d have figured that we’d at least have seen an alternate cut on basic cable by now.

Still, the film itself holds up. Every time I watch it I wonder if this is the time where I’ll finally see what’s so horrible about it, the scales will fall away and I’ll have to reverse myself. So far no sign of that, and I even found new stuff watching it this evening:

- Though this is a very lush and colorful film at times, I’d not noticed how monochromatic it can be at others. The use of stark blacks and whites, especially in relation to the baddies (Bailey’s car, the Wonderland Weather center, etc.,) is an interesting touch, possibly a call back to the show’s black-and-white years.

- The chess sequence and the croquet match are nicely juxtaposed, and the latter is yet another ALICE IN WONDERLAND allusion.

- Even though this is a film based on a Sixties spy show with Sean Connery playing a villain, I found no references or in-jokes referring to his having played James Bond, and considering how many inside gags there are this is surprising. Maybe Connery had it in his contract.

If Warner Bros. ever does deign to soup up a future release of the film, I am willing to do a commentary track. Until then, Happy Birthday, Fiennes/Steed and Uma Peel. Sorry I was late.

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