azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 01:59pm on 10/05/2007 under ,
It's been a while since I last posted any of these, but now that I am the proud owner of a DVD player, I've been able to watch the ones that didn't work on the computer.

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azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 06:53pm on 05/09/2006 under
Actually, this should have been called Illya's Revenge, and not just because it's Illya's desire for vengeance against Janus that gives the Part of the Plot With The Bomb the emotional interest that is lacking from the Part of the Plot With Thrush HQ. It's also Illya's revenge for having had to spend four years in a show called The Man from UNCLE in which he wasn't the Man. Someone on the writing staff is clearly an Illya fan in the "fanatic" sense of the word, and so 15 years after the series ended we get a film in which Justice is finally Served. Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of fanfic, this is achieved by bashing Napoleon to make Illya look better. Thus Illya takes on the One Last Mission for deeply personal reasons, rooted in his past and his history with UNCLE. Napoleon? Oh, he needs his gambling debts paid. Illya left UNCLE because he was Betrayed, and an Innocent under his protection was killed – ooh, the angst! Napoleon? Oh, we won't bother to explain why he left, no one really cares, and it's just the sort of selfish thing he'd do anyway. Having left UNCLE, Illya takes up a really glamorous and creative profession, in which he's treated as a kind of superstar on a par with Gianni Versace. Napoleon runs a computer business, which is so boring we never see him doing it, and which doesn't even make enough profit to pay his gambling debts. When we first see Illya, he is surrounded by beautiful models who hang on his every word. When we first see Napoleon he's in a sleazy backroom of a gambling palace in Vegas, playing against sleazy underworld types and exchanging sleazy glances with a women who has scary 1980s hair and is noticeably less attractive than Illya's models. Not only does Napoleon fare badly in comparison to Illya, he also comes in for some bashing in his own right – when he tries to rescue the girl, he has to be given a helping hand by James Bond (and it isn't even Sean Connery – he gets his neck saved by GEORGE LAZENBY, of all the humiliations); he's so stupidly unprofessional as to discuss confidential UNCLE business in the girl's presence (why couldn't he just go out of the room? Maybe he was SHAGGING her while he talked into his communicator! Ew!!); when he finally figures out that she's working for Thrush, he smirks disbelievingly at her honest protestations that she did it under duress; and he keeps getting beaten up by the baddies because he's so old and rusty (whereas Illya gets to launch himself into the bar fight to rescue Napoleon with an athleticism that shows he's lost none of the old Human Cannonball touch). Napoleon also has to spend most of the film hanging out with an unbelievably stupid young UNCLE agent called Kowalski, who is played by an actor who exceeds even MfU's high standards for atrocious acting, whilst pursuing the B-plot goal of destroying Thrush's new HQ. He doesn't even manage to capture the bad guy he's after. Illya, by contrast, gets to show off his Master of Disguise persona in two nicely done little scenes in which he plays a talkative (Polish?) telephone repair man and a dodgy British pilot (speaking absolutely perfect Estuary English); he gets to Escape Athletically (I see he hasn't given up his old habit of hanging in chains from the ceiling – Pennington Smythe doesn't know how right he is when he says Illya's been in this position before); he gets to kill Janus; he gets to save America from a nuclear explosion; and he gets to sock Napoleon on the jaw. The Illya bits are really all rather enjoyable*, unlike poor Napoleon's scenes. And finally, finally Illya gets to spend his time looking after an Innocent he actually fancies - [ profile] executrix had mentioned that the film is very slashy, and cited the gender-bending of the trope Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter as an example, but to me slashiness involves a kind of nudge nudge wink wink sense that the viewer is reading something in to the show that the creators didn't really intend. Whereas I can't shake the feeling that the Illya Fan writer absolutely did intend to indicate (or at least hint very very strongly) that Illya is gay. I mean, P-S is coded as queer as they come – he's not only a ridiculously pretty upper class Englishman, he's also theatre actor, and he practically lisps. At the end of the film, there's the obligatory nod to Napoleon's love life, when Illya asks after Andrea. In response, Napoleon asks after P-S, and it turns out that Illya has been all the way to Chicago to see his play – not the kind of post purchase customer support your average innocent can expect, surely? Seems there's a reason why the fashion designer is so immune to the charms of his models, and so disturbed when his customers flirt with him, after all these years in the business.

*With the exception of the showdown with Janus, where the complete absence of laying any groundwork comes home to roost – it's impossible to care about how Janus betrayed Illya when we have bugger all knowledge of what he actually did.
azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 10:09pm on 26/02/2006 under
My MfU viewing has slowed down somewhat, but I'm still averaging an ep a day and the pile of disks is getting much smaller.

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azdak: Face of Klimt's Music II (Default)
posted by [personal profile] azdak at 03:26pm on 16/02/2006 under
Thanks to a very kind friend, who's sent me DVDs of all the episodes of The Man from UNCLE, I've been indulging in a massive viewing marathon. It's not really nostalgic, in the way that watching The Professionals was, because I never saw MfU as a kid, although I did occasionally catch the films when they were shown on the Beeb. There are THOUSANDS of episodes, and as I went along I started writing little reviews of them, partly as a memory prompt, and partly to send off as kind of thank-you notes.

Behind a cut because, once again, this is very much for a minority audience, given the Buffycentricity of most of my flist Read more... )


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