The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

By Ankit Verma

Mailed on August 16, 2015

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Dear BlueBolt, Cinesite and RISE
Visual Effects Posse 

Dear BlueBolt, Cinesite and RISE,

Man From U.N.C.L.E. is touted as a stylized spy flick—and it is—but not to the degree I was hoping it would be. Between a deceiving trailer and visual effects inconsistencies, Man From U.N.C.L.E went from being a great film to just being good. 

Visual inconsistencies? How dare I. With films like Avengers: Age of Ultron, San Andreas and Jupiter Ascending as digital feathers in your respective caps, visual effects shouldn’t have been the problem. So what was?

Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a cinematic adaption of the popular 60’s TV show of the same name. It follows CIA and KGB agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, bitter enemies of the Cold War-turned allies tasked with stopping a nuclear threat by a mystery terrorist organization. Many spy/agent TV-shows from yesteryear have been adapted as modern-day action/comedies; Get Smart, A-Team, and 21 Jump Street to name a few. But Man From U.N.C.L.E chose to stick to the cold-war era rather than rejig the plot to fit a 21st century setting. And you guys did a great job of recreating the look and feel of that time. But it wasn’t enough. Man from U.N.C.L.E. doesn’t have the kind of spark to make it a stand out. Instead of spiffing up the landscape, it merely built another duplex. 

In the trailer, audiences are exposed to the car chase between Illya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo. The highly stylized chase is sex for the eyeballs; sped-up and obvious that it was created on a computer screen. Very Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The emphasis on how deliberate it is helps position Man From U.N.C.L.E. as a quirky, retro spy movie. That was the spark. If that theme were used throughout, I wouldn’t be writing this letter. Unfortunately, that scene occurred within the first 30 minutes and that was it. There were plenty of chase scenes after that but none featured that same visual representation. Why the inconsistency? That is what bothered me about Man From U.N.C.L.E. Expectations are raised in the trailer, but the film never delivers on that promise. In fact, the bulk of the visual effects are in the opening and end credits. 

Still, Man From U.N.C.L.E. has its own charm. It is funny and entertaining. Probably because we’re watching a British actor play an American, and an American actor play a Russian (forced accents FTW). But if audiences are expecting an aesthetically breathtaking movie by you, the fine folk at BlueBolt, Cinesite and RISE, only to have the sweet stuff shown during the first 40 minutes, they’ll likely be a little disappointed.  

I know many of these decisions weren’t yours to make. All three of you played an integral part in this creation, but unfortunately your contributions were kind of wasted. If you were left in charge of the creative treatment, I’m sure the finished product would have been a whole lot different.



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