Friday, August 21, 2015

What Culture: "The Man From UNCLE’s Biggest Enemy Is Itself – Why The Film Doesn’t Work"

The Man From UNCLE’s Biggest Enemy Is Itself – Why The Film Doesn’t Work

A reboot that that doesn’t like the original.

Alex Leadbeater

The big release of the past week (at least internationally) was Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Normally I’d do the usual highly opinionated review, but seeing as we had one of those last week, I thought instead I’d focus in a bit more depth on the film’s defining problem.

Overall I wasn’t a massive fan of the movie. Ritchie’s action was incomprehensibly constructed and often relegated to the background, the repeated “but you missed this bit” twists quickly went from cute to aggravating and any moments of flair (the truck scene was pretty cool) were undercut by a pervading obviousness. But these are all just symptoms of a more all-encompassing problem.

As you’ll be at least acutely aware, The Man From U.N.C.L.E was originally a TV series made in the sixties. Now there’s an inherent issue with adapting a perceived brand like this – those who were fans of the original aren’t going to care about a blockbuster remake, while the modern target audience probably don’t even realise they’re watching a pre-existing property.

This isn’t necessarily a guarantee for failure (we’ve just got the brilliant fifth Mission: Impossible, itself based on a sixties spy show), but the confusion over a series’ name recognition means that all too often a reboot/remake can’t strike the balance between reverence and progression, leaving us with something incredibly leaden.

To read the complete review click here
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