Some fan complaints about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Some U.N.C.L.E. fans react to what they've seen about the new movie.

Some U.N.C.L.E. fans react to news about the new movie.

Everybody’s a critic, the saying goes. So it is with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie a month after it began filming.

The Internet in its myriad forms, including Facebook, Twitter, listservs message boards and blogs like this one, has the potential to give every fan a voice. And many take advantage of the opportunity.

While it’s hard to say how representative they are, here’s a sampling of some fan complaints about the movie that stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the roles originated by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. A lot of this is subjective and if you’re an U.N.C.L.E. fan you may agree or disagree.

1. The lead actors are too tall: Norman Felton, executive producer of the original 1964-68 series, was on record as not wanting “big, ballsy men” as his leads, which is one reason why Vaughn and McCallum, each below 6-feet tall, got the roles. Some fans refer to Kuryakin/McCallum as LBG, or “little blonde guy.”

Cavill is 6-goot-1 while Hammer is 6-foot-5. That is admittedly a big change and some fans don’t like it. Cavill was a last-minute casting change for 5-foot-7 Tom Cruise, who opted out of the project.

2. Henry Cavill is too muscular: Cavill, 30, is the latest screen Superman (in 2013’s Man of Steel) and will reprise the role in 2014 for a Superman-Batman movie that will be released in the summer of 2015. That’s different that Felton’s “everyman” vision.

3. Armie Hammer isn’t blonde enough: Hammer had dark hair playing the Lone Ranger in the 2013 Disney movie. He has lightened his hair, but for some fans he’s not blond enough.

Armie Hammer with a David McCallum haircut.

Armie Hammer with a David McCallum haircut.

4. Hammer doesn’t have Illya Kuryakin’s hairstyle: McCallum’s Kuryakin had bangs and his hairstyle got shaggier later in the series. Based on photos taken during filming in Rome SUCH AS THIS ONE, Hammer isn’t attempting the same hairstyle.

5. Why does Hollywood do all these remakes and/or sequels? This is a broader complaint about Hollywood in general. As movie costs have spiraled, studios have gotten conservative and are viewed as less willing to take risks in general.

Occasionally, there are remakes worth doing. Humphrey Bogart wasn’t the first actor to play Sam Spade. My Fair Lady, seen as a screen classic, is essentially a musical remake of Pygmalion. Some argue The Godfather Part II is better than the original. The problem isn’t necessarily remakes per se, but how they’re executed.

6. This is going to be a flop on the scale of 2013’s Lone Ranger movie! Actually, that’s almost impossible. The U.N.C.L.E. movie’s budget is a reported $75 million, while Disney’s Lone Ranger movie had a budget of as much as $240 million.

Meanwhile, as far as U.N.C.L.E. concerned, the past 30 years of fan discussion has centered on either the original show or U.N.C.L.E. projects that didn’t get made. Looking on the bright side, the U.N.C.L.E movie is something new to talk about — whether the movie turns out good or ill — for the first time in a long time. It also may recruit new U.N.C.L.E. fans, starting with fans of the lead actors.

16 Responses

  1. People complained when Daniel Craig became the new 007 and look how that turned out.

  2. Paul Bettany should have been Illya. He’s perfect for the part.

  3. For long time fans like me, It’s been a lot of years and I’m happy it’s on the way.

  4. Excellent, excellent point, Bill! Those complaining in advance should be glad that there’s something NEW to complain about at all, as opposed to having to dwell on all the projects that didn’t get made!

  5. If what they do destroys the franchise, that won’t be a good thing. There may never be another NEW U.N.C.L.E. project ever again, if they get it wrong. Want to see it, but just hope they don’t mess it up a la I SPY …

  6. Unlike the (absysmal) Avengers movie, it seems at least they are trying for period accuracy, e.g. hiring Pussy Galore’s helicopter from Goldfinger at significant expense. It looks like someone’s heart is in the right place.

  7. I think Hammer’s hair and height are quibbles. His demeanor will be more important. These actors cannot be physical clones. They were chosen because they’re good box office, and they’ll try to adapt to the roles. The production looks promising.

  8. Where’s the UNCLE Special?

  9. Just have to wait and see how the new film turns out. It’s good that they are not trying to copy the old series exactly. CBS tried that with the “Return of UNCLE” and even though it had Vaughn and McCallum that didn’t turn out the way most fans wanted. Time for a whole new spin. (which may or may not have the U.N.C.L.E. Specials).

  10. ‘The Avengers’ movie was set in an imaginary 1998 where 1960’s fashions had endured, so it did not require 1960’s ‘period accuracy’. The makers of the ‘M.F.U.’ movie should expand the UNCLE vs. THRUSH concept. Let’s see an army of UNCLE agents battle THRUSH agents. A fleet of UNCLE planes and submarines. Solo and Illya confronting the Ultimate Computer. Getting to see THRUSH Central at long last would also be fantastic.

  11. […] even be an U.N.C.L.E. movie, it’s remarkable there’s even a film to watch. Even then, some fans don’t like the idea of a movie, preferring there never, ever be any more versions of the original 1964-68 […]

  12. I disagree about the film recruiting new fans. For many out there, they will have no frame of reference for the show, and the film will be their first introduction. If the film sucks, then their impression of the series could be predjudiced to the point they won’t want to seek out the source material.

  13. […] Some fan complaints about the U.N.C.L.E. movie (Oct. 6, 2013): Lead actors are too tall, Henry Cavill too muscular, Armie Hammer doesn’t have a David McCallum haircut. […]

  14. If they didn’t call this “Man from UNCLE” you would never guess it had anything to do with our show. It had nothing in common with the series. Worst of all it was dull, boring with no ideas. The bad guys steal an atom bomb? How many times have we sat through that plot?

  15. IMO the MFU 2015 movie was an important link in the franchise. Not an achievement, because they couldn’t replace the original. And didn’t try. But as a stepping stone towards continuation. The first ST movie was an abysmal failure. But at least it kept the interest (possibility) alive. And another production company tried again. Correcting the original failures. And keeping the fans’ expectation alive. That’s all that can be expected.

    Eventually there will be a production company interested in approaching a 1960’s MFU perspective (after all, there are countless “classics” out there in terms of entertainment to be re-introduced). What they didn’t get right in the movie, somebody else will try again. Because the basic premise is still foundational. Look at how long the Bond franchise has survived, 25+yrs is phenomenal. Success or failure of the original MFU concept shouldn’t be judged by a single movie. Personal observation, in terms of my oing MFU fan videos, IMO, the singular element has been relationship! That was the “through point” all along, because the plots were incidental and superficial. When somebody gets the MFU relationships right, then it will create the success that fans crave. There is much potential! Check out fan fiction, fans who’ve created all kinds of interesting plots! Keeping true to the characters!!

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