The Avengers by Julie Kaewert based on the screenplay written by Don Macpherson (1998, 227 pages) – I never learn. When the movie came out based on my favorite childhood characters, John Steed and Emma Peel, I ran to see it and came out confused and disappointed. What had happened to my heroes?
Being the idiot I am, I rented the movie when it came out. The movie couldn’t really be as bad as I thought, right? It was worse than I remembered. Giant Grateful Dead teddy bears? The original James Bond, Sean Connery, chewing up the scenery?
You’d think I’d learn, but I picked up the book, still trying to give the retrofit another chance. Maybe the director ruined it.
Nope, the book was absolute swill.
Not only were the main characters acting very unSteed and unPeel-like, but the plot was silly (weather control) and there was way too much romance for the Avengers. The author seemed to have a good handle on Mrs. Peel, the Diana Rigg version, but Steed was such a horn-dog that I could not see Pactrick McNee in my mind as I was reading it. Through most of the book he kept being distracted by Mrs. Peel’s beauty and skintight cat suit.
One of the great things about the British television show was that they were equals who respected each other for their abilities and their skills at outwitting the bad guys. They really were a lot alike, although I always felt Diana Rigg’s Peel was more of a bodyguard and John Steed was the brave brains.
In this book, Mr. Steed worries more about his bowler and the way the sun glints off Mrs. Peel’s auburn hair (at the most ludicrous times). Every discovery they make is accidental. Everything they figure out is pretty much handed to them by the bad guys. There’s an evil Mrs. Peel clone running around trying to convince the ministry that Mrs. Peel is a threat, and somehow she’s gone from being a bohemian industrialist to being a meteorologist? Dr. Peel? What was the point of that?
Some authors who work with screenplays actually improve the story. Alan Dean Foster’s Abyss is much better than the move. Ms Kaewert adds little to the movie except the odd romance between the two main characters. Mr. Steed seems like a lovesick puppy while Dr. Peel is almost fondled by a tartan-wearing teddy bear posing as the mastermind. This was a bad movie so I guess it’s only logical that the novelization of it would be equally bad. I jut wish it hadn’t been worse.
One for the trash bin.