The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 0.0 stars

Yet another comic-book movie ("graphic-novel" movie, anyway), with no relation to the 1960 British caper comedy, The League of Gentlemen. The present gents, and one lady, are assuredly out of the ordinary, a Dream Team of Victorian fictional characters assembled to save the Empire from early termination: a senior-citizen Allan Quatermain, a kung-fu Captain Nemo, an adult Tom Sawyer, a Hulk-sized Mr. Hyde, a sun-proof Dracula convert, Mrs. Jonathan Harker, an unwitty Dorian Gray, and finally, not the, but an, Invisible Man. Collectively, the, or a, Magnificent Seven. (It should come as no surprise that the archfiend behind the threat will prove to be Prof. Moriarty, apparently having thrown Sherlock Holmes off the scent.) The unpardonable sin of this sort of literary plunder, far worse even than plagiarism or vandalism, is its disrespect for boundaries. The world of the Great White Hunter is not that of the Mad Scientist, nor is Dr. Jekyll's that of vampires, nor is the All-American Boy's that of a Faustian fallen angel. How can this motley crew be expected to work together when they inhabit separate universes? Sean Connery (who really is too old for such rough-and-tumble) and a company of lesser lights, least of all director Stephen Norrington, neither have nor give a clue. Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Peta Wilson, Jason Flemyng. 2003.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

Comments

Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 2, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Mr. Shepherd's dreaded bullet once again misses its mark. I'm baffled that this film receives so little praise. I suppose fans of the original comic books object to wholesale revisions, like adding Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer to the story, and dropping all allusions to an ancestor of James Bond being responsible for founding the League.

I happen to like the way Sawyer adds an American accent to the Euro-steam-punk atmosphere, tho I can't say Dorian Gray adds anything.

The comic was written by Alan Moore, whose V For Vendetta, From Hell, and Watchmen made for fine films, even though he has refused to endorse - nor even watch - any films based on his work.

I'd counter Mr. Shepherd's bullet with at least two stars. Perhaps three, if I had seen it on the big screen, which must've rocked the scenes of citywide destruction, buildings toppling like dominoes as our heroes race ahead of the carnage in a souped-up Steam-Punkmobile.

I even liked the DVD commentary for this one - "League" and "Van Helsing" are two of the most underrated fantasy films I can think of from the modern film era. The way both films mix and match (and integrate) characters from classic literature, that'd be a heckuva great drive-in double feature!

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Joe Poutous Nov. 8, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

I enjoyed it. And yeah, Jay - It probably would have been even better seeing it on the big screen. Maybe the Ken will play it!

I still have to see Van Helsing.

  • Joe
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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 13, 2010 @ 10:58 a.m.

I recommend NOT reading the comic book version before seeing the cinematic translation of League, which is a rare take on my part. Being in the comic biz myself, it's usually a thrill to see Hollywood doing PR for my comic book contemporaries, sending movie patrons in search of the graphic novel source material for the many contemporary comic-based flicks, like Kick Ass, Men in Black, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Scott Pilgrim, Jonah Hex, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, From Hell, Daredevil, Ghost World, Mystery Men, Batman/Superman/Hulk/etc. etc. etc.

But the movie version of League is SUCH a different approach from the comics, right down to which characters are included, that it really stands on its own as a separate (and, in some ways, superior) entity ---

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