Lousy as it is, Warner Bros' big budget version of the cult '60s TV series isn't any worse than, say, the last two Batman flicks. Charm is a difficult quality to duplicate, and while Fiennes makes a passable stab at debonair, Uma Thurman's notion of insouciance translates as smug and spacey; she's far more convincing as Mrs Peel's deadly mute double, a robot, presumably (like so much of the plot, that remains a matter of conjecture). In some ways, the movie's inadequacies are inextricable from its virtues: heavy cuts have made a mockery of any sense of continuity, but then The Avengers always peddled surreal and absurdist conceits, so artificiality is the name of the game (there are a few neat ideas here: a conference in teddy bear suits, a stairway out of Escher, and an invisible cameo by Patrick Macnee). Its ersatz Englishness makes a certain sense. The trouble is, the film's decadence isn't a put-on, it is, simply, depressingly, degeneratively, decadent.