Monday, September 7, 2015

The Man from U.N.C.L.E…..Day 249 of Bond 365

I thought that since I went to see The Man From U.N.C.L.E. this morning at the local cinema house, I would make a detour from Bond 365 today. Here are some of my thoughts.

I went into the film with reservations, mostly due to the casting of Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and particularly Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin. Although I have not seen any complete episodes from the original series, I have seen snippets. I was pleasantly surprised by the casting choices.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, this comedy spy film is set in 1963 that is expertly captured through the color palette, the locales, and costumes. The locales are exotic, the cinematography beautiful and the editing is expertly handled. All the components truly come together for the film, however the film is missing the spark that makes it a great film.

First, after an action-packed opening, the pacing bogs down, as the audience has to be brought up to speed on who the characters are and an overview of the overarching story. I think the film suffered because of it.

Second, Victoria Vinciguerra may be the main villainess of the film, however she does not have enough screen time to really allow her to establish herself as a force to be reckoned with. She just isn’t a strong character to carry her presence even when she is not in front of the audience. Her henchman husband and Uncle Rudi are nothing more than two-dimensional characters that we have seen before. 

Third, I think it was a mistake to reveal Illya’s background. Something I appreciated in the original is the air of mystery that surrounded that character, so I was bummed when Solo unwrapped Illya’s baggage before the time was right. That said, finding out Solo’s back-story did not annoy me in the slightest.

The film has received mixed reviews, but has managed to earn enough money to put it in the black. I would be interested in seeing a follow film, now that the U.N.C.L.E. team has solidified. I think with the backstories out of the way, maybe the pacing can pick up and the characters can be further developed. I think with the first film I got cotton candy – looks pretty, but not very filling. Hopefully with a second film, we can get more of a meal.

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