Trailer for Guy Ritchie's Man From U.N.C.L.E

The first trailer for the new Man for U.N.C.L.E. is out. Looks like fun but not thrilled its an origin story. That will take away the elite team aspect of the series, as Solo and Kuryakin will have a contentious relationship, probably for most of the movie.

Well, I’ll see it anyway. You never know, there might be something more to the movie than the trailer :)

In the TV series, Mr. Waverly, the chief of U.N.C.L.E. was played very well by the professorial Leo G. Carroll:

In this movie he’s played by . . . Hugh Grant.

It’s a good trailer, and I think an origin film makes perfect sense. The series aired in the 60’s and it’s largely unknown to younger viewers. Heck, I’m 50 and it was before my time. I’m aware of it, but never saw an episode because it wasn’t syndicated on local stations when I was a kid.

I am a long-time Guy Ritchie fan, back to Lock, Stock, and think this both looks great and looks great, if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t have thought it necessarily but “Fat” Cavill looks like he was born for this role as well. I think the contention won’t be too much of an issue, Tango and Cash at worst. Warily eyeing each other, then grudging respect before falling into fast friendship by the climax of act 3.

That looks pretty good – I’ve never seen the original, is it streaming anywhere?

I didnt mean for my first post to come off so negative regarding the movie. I was a young kid when the popularity of Bond ushered in the age of the TV cold war spy. The Man From UNCLE was one of my childhood favorites. My preference would be that they hit the ground running but an origin story is fine, Ill catch it for sure. There were a lot of great 60’s spy series from Mission Impossible to Get Smart, The Avengers and I Spy. They all have been given the major motion picture treatment, except UNCLE. Im glad its finally happening.

Don’t forget Honey West. While not a spy series, it used many spy tropes. And lets face it. Anne Francis in a skintight black body suit.

I’ll definitely go and see it, the trailer hopefully does the film justice

This definitely looks good. I love most of Guy Ritchies movies (I am a Sherlock Holmes nut, and like his interpretation)… Does anyone remember RocknRolla… that was a weird experience. I watched it 30 minutes, 40, 50… it wasn’t going anywhere and then suddenly I was totally engaged with those street crooks, It made me laugh out loud about how silly life is and so on… I can’t wait to see Uncle…

Saw this Thursday night and while kind of dull and stupid at times it had a couple of small moments that I enjoyed and laughed at. I really liked Henry Cavill. I don’t know if his character is true to the TV character or if the movie is similar at all to the TV series but I quite enjoyed his effort in this movie.

I did not enjoy yet another cafe/restaurant scene where all of the customers outside of the main characters are plants who all get up en masse once the briefing is over. It was enough to have the scene in Sherlock Holmes it didn’t need to be done again.

I don’t mind split screen if it’s to help tell the story but when it gets sooooooooo gratuitous I start to disengage from the movie.

I think Alicia Vikander had one good scene (in the hotel dancing) and was otherwise wasted. I’ll take what they did with Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation when it comes to female characters in a spy movie.

During the closing credits they show the dossiers of the characters, apparently Armie Hammer’s character has an Oedipal complex. At one point in the movie Hammer’s character runs down a car and they even mention afterwards but apparently that is what he can do when he gets angry or something. Sort of a Russian Hulk

Very early on in the movie one of the characters has a chance to shoot and kill another character whom he has already tried to kill but now doesn’t. The reason given and I’ll a little fuzzy on it because I’m already forgetting the movie is that “It doesn’t seem right” or something like that.

I think Guy Ritchie has used up all the goodwill I had for him from Snatch.

I’m hoping that KellyWand will be able to craft some magic on this weeks movie podcast.

I thought it was pretty much a mixed bag as well, although I guess my general affection for Guy Richie-isms made me see it a bit more positively than marquac did. What baffled me was how much of the bad stuff seemed like the result of either incompetence or just not caring at that point about having a somewhat cohesive tone (aside from the problems arising from a script that seemed too focussed on being an origin story at times). How much movies has Ritchie done at this point again?

-I doubt Alicia Viskander would have been in this movie if they didn’t have plans to have her in the next one, as well. Aside from her and Arnie Hammer being very attractive people who would probably do a pretty good job making out on screen, I felt that the movie didn’t give us much to justify the constant will-they-won’t-they shtick.

-Hammer’s Hulk-outs felt out of place stylistically and completely unnecessary for his character, since the entire rest of the film already establishes him (and Henry Cavill) as being firmly over the top. I wonder whether they felt the need to give him daddy and mommy issues to motivate him because they felt audience would be alienated by a character who was just really into the Soviet Union/communism.

-Man, how lame was that final chase, especially after we’ve seen a much more interesting one right at the beginning of the film? On the upside, if Tom ever needs help illustrating his “three C rule” for movie chase scenes, he can use this one, since each C is violently absent here. Did the person they chase have more than three lines in the entire movie?

Edit: I liked the opening credits better when they were in Metal Gear Solid 3

Fun Fact: Ian Fleming not only was involved with the creation of the show, but if you go back and re-watch Goldfinger, the gangster that’s crushed inside the car is Napoleon Solo.

For me, the biggest issue apart from the tonal inconsistencies was the smash cutting. It demonstrated that Ritchie did not understand how smash cuts and multi-split-screens were actually used in 1960s film (see the 1966 Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen for a good example of this). The cuts were too quick to actually perceive anything. And the multi-split-screen action sequence made the action seem really boring by showing the audience too many things happening at the same time and in an awfully short time. It was clearly just a plot mover, almost like a training montage that’s meant to get the audience to where the writers want them to be. Yay, they raided a super-secret island. Why did it appear so much more boring than that concept sounds? Because bad editing.

As for Cavill, his performance was vapid and unexciting. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever seen the original series, he just can’t hold a candle to Robert Vaughn (you may know him from the modern series Hustle). Vaughn always managed to make the master thief and roue role seem natural. But Cavill’s speech was too mannered and his blocking was really strange and mannequin-like: the kind of awkwardness that stems from wearing another man’s clothes rather than his own. The lines about Vikander’s clothing in the dress makers’ shop are a great example- it’s as though he doesn’t understand what he’s saying, and so in our theater at least, that joke fell flat. That was actually a good character development moment, but it was just stifled by awkward delivery. I had heard the rumor that this was to be Cavill’s “audition movie” for Bond- as evident from that ridiculous lighting in the beginning sequence. Big deal. A dimple does not an international spy make. Cavill just doesn’t seem to understand the difference between suave bastard and unrelenting prick. Sadly, this falls on Ritchie. Someone should have taken Cavill aside and asked him whether he actually wanted the audience to like him. It’s not hard to make a womanizing, foppish, cat burglar likable. Dan Stevens could certainly have done that.

Alicia Vikander is a good actress, and she did well with the limited role they gave her. She’s adorable, but also paradoxically filled with a kind of dangerous energy that Ritchie doesn’t quite tap into. Debicki was also quite good- she looks well in period costume, like a 60s Penthouse cover girl in a few of the shots at the racetrack. Her screen husband was unmemorable- and I dubbed him “Italian Jason Schwartzman”.

I was surprised by Armie Hammer- who I usually think of as the “golden retriever of acting”. His default faces are usually “happy-hammer” or “sad-hammer”. So it was interesting to see him play someone who was a bit more complicated. “Russian Hulk” indeed- this is different from the TV show, but I really liked the idea that they were interested in playing with Hammer’s height.
The cafe scene didn’t work for me- but mainly because I felt that the lines about Solo and Kuryakin’s backgrounds needed to be switched around. Cavill needed to show some vulnerability in that scene. The details they tell about each other are supposed to have equivalent emotional impact. But they don’t. Because for some reason the production team didn’t understand that neither of the two leads is supposed to completely get the upper hand over the other. Solo and Kuryakin are eternally stuck in a brotastic headlock.

It’s an interesting project with potential. I’d rather see Cavill play Solo than Bond.

Please save us Mr. Wand. We’re so ready to hear you deliver lines better than Cavill in a thick Australian accent.

I know right?? Their first thought should have been to call Robert Lindsey (Spy). Anyone but Hugh Grant please. This isn’t Bridget Jones…

Enjoyed your post, Anne. I haven’t see the movie, so I can’t speak to your observations, but I think you meant a different word than lapidary.

I did- thanks for catching that. Stone-faced was what I was aiming for. Or maybe I meant vapid. Or insipid. Take your pick.

Saw it. Rough going early on, but it won me over by the end. It was a lot of talking to keep the plot moving forward. I hate that shit. I liked it better when they took away the sound, did the reveal, then showed the same scenes over again with sound.

Also, I didn’t watch the series, but hooray for the suave thief role. It’s so 60s. Modern movies need more charming thieves.

Question about the end

What was the business with the little bon fire on the table at the end? At first I thought it was the contested backup “tape”, but there was a shot that clearly showed it was not the backup tape burning. So… what was that all about?

Good post Anne.

I’m not sure I remember the moment, but you’re making me think of Cary Elwes bonking Mandy Patenkin on the head in Princess Bride and saying something along the lines of “it’d be a shame to waste such a fine tool”.

I think you’re in luck!

Oh man, I didn’t even think of it on those terms. That last chase scene was just like a car commercial, but for a dune buggy. Still, let’s run down the list:

  1. C for character: Uh, yeah, one of the bad guys who was someone’s brother or husband or something, and he’s got the girl captured because, uh, she’s undercover and, uh, well… I got nothing.

  2. C for choreography: Well, you have a close-up of the snorkle on the jeep and a dune buggy that can drive on water. At least I think that’s what was going on. Wait, then why didn’t he just follow the jeep directly instead of driving up river first?

  3. C for context: Nuclear something or other blah blah! Dude, a nuclear weapon! Nuclear!

Actually, I was okay with the car chase as a sort of sexy car commercial for a dune buggy, a jeep, and a motorcycle. But, yeah, as an actual chase, it didn’t really have much going for it. I was a bit confused that he just knocked the jeep off the road even though Alicia Vikander was in it. Hostages ain’t what they used to be, huh?

So many great lines in that post!

If I recall correctly, it was just a fake-out to imply they’d burnt the tape, or were going to burn the tape, or something. Hey, we know you’ve been wondering, so here’s Hugh Grant to tell you what UNCLE stands for!